Thought we had better bag the highest in the state before heading back to the UK after enjoying a great couple of weeks in the Sawtooths.
My fastest time car to summit to car was 5 hours 30 minutes.
Did this on the way home from doing Rainier for the 4th time and Hood. Fun climb only took half a day!
What a fun scramble! Drove up from Utah and camped at the trailhead on Friday. Got an early start just before 5 am the next morning and was to the top just before 9 am. The hike up to the peak is steep and my headlamp was dying on me. When I got above the tree line to the ridge the sun's light was just coming up. I could see Borah's outline. COR was fun. At first I didn't realize that I was on it. The rock is solid on COR and I didn't feel that the exposure was that bad. The crux right before the snow bridge was the only real issue I had, but all I had to do was face the rock and climb down. Good hand and foot holds. The snow was melted at the bridge and I crossed snow free. From there the trail wrapped around to the open saddle and I could view the final steep section to the top of Idaho. I stopped following the trail about midway to the top and went straight for the top of the ridge and from there I went to the top. With my early start and not taking a break until I got to the top I had the peak to myself. It was a beautiful morning! Called my wife at the top and took pictures. I followed the trail back down to the saddle and then back to COR. Passed a ton of people and was glad that I got up so early. I found the scramble heading down on COR was more enjoyable, maybe it was the fact that I could see the whole ridge this time. Made it to the tree line in shortly after I was off COR. By this time I knew my knees would be screaming and I slowed my pace. Being in the dark coming up, the trail didn’t seem that steep, but coming down I was praying for any type of relief for my knees. This last section of the trail seemed to never end and when I could see my car at the trailhead I was so glad to be done. From the time I spent at the top to coming down it took me about 3 ½ hours. I stopped and talked to almost everyone coming up. It seemed like I wasn’t the only one that this was the first time doing Borah. Overall this was one of the best peaks I have done. Very steep, lung buster, fun with a nice challenge at Chicken Out Ridge. It was a great weekend.
This is a great climb for a good hiker that wants more challenge. But let me set the Chickenout ridge thing straight: it's not a "class 3" scramble, but rather a solid class 4 that can easily turn into class 5, once you make a wrong move. Once you cross a V-notch threshold, the exposure is constant, with just a short break on the trail along the tan band. True, the foot- hand-holds are good and abundant. Problem is, a mere mortal non-climber doesn't see them, until someone with more experience points them. Yes, if you have an experienced friend with you, or someone on the mountain to show you the way, this may turn into "class 3 scramble"... only if you don't look down. Give me a break, class 3 assumes "occasional exposure", not "constant exposure on both sides for 300 yards".This is by no means to scare you away, just don't be mislead by many reports like "COR was fun and easy... don't know what all fuss about..." There are climbers, and there are hikers, and there are people with vertigo problems. They all can climb this beautiful mountain, just need to take it more seriously to avoid chickening out. If you need experienced friend - take him. If you feel that you need a rope - take it, and don't feel ashamed thinking that thousands people climb exposed ridges without it and you need one. More practical advice for beginners. Sugar-up before COR with caffeine. You are not hungry at high altitude, however, you need energy, and caffeine helps AMS. Trim you toenails short, this will help to avoid black toenails on the way down. If you come from sea level, spend a weak at Yellowstone (at over 8000 feet) first. If you got a really bad headache, take advil and rush down. Do not try to sleep on the mountain with bad case of AMS (like some people did!), it will get worse and may turn dangerous. Have fun, like I did!
I agree with mountainvlad. I thought the most dicey stretches of COR are at the transistion from the knife edge ridge and shortly before (on the way up) the snow ridge.
Summated Aug 16, 2011
Sorry, but I have to clarify this a little. "Foot and hand holds are good and abundant" does mean that it is class three. The inability of a climber to negotiate or find those hand holds does not change the class. Having an "experienced friend" with you does not change climbing class either. It will only help you negotiate in the same way that a GPS will help you navigate. Better shoes will not change the length of a mile. "Vertigo" does not change class. Put a Class III ridge from Borah on a hill near Boise and it is still a class III ridge. I am not trying to tear apart your post, but to put class 4 and 5 on this WILL scare people off. The truth of the matter is that Chicken out ridge is about a class 3 scramble. Some people will negotiate it more easily than others depending on their experience and capabilities. This does not change the class. This is not a trail to the top of a hill, this is a climb. There is some risk and there is some exposure. People should not attempt it if they are not comfortable finding and using available hand and foot holds as that is what a class 3 is. I appreciate your post, but do not want people to be mislead. I have climbed Borah 3 times and had I read your post prior to my first attempt, I probably would not have gone even though I am completely capable. I do appreciate your advice to take someone along that is more experienced. Anyone can benefit from that.
Sorry, but I have to disagree. This is how REI defines class 3: "Climbing steep a hillside, moderate exposure, a rope may be carried but not used, and hands are used in climbing. A short fall could be possible." And this is how they define class 4: "It is steeper yet, exposed and most people use a rope due to the potential of long falls.". Apparently, it is not the scarcity of the foot and hand holds that separates class 4 from class 3, rather long vs. short falls. And potential falls on COR are by any measure the long ones. More than once you are on your fingers and toes over couple hundred feet drop-off - that's class 4. Subway hike at Zion requires at least 3 rappels, and it's still class 3, because the drop-offs are no more than 10 feet, and a fall would result in no more than twisted ankle. And "vertigo" does change class for some - half dozen people died on "Angel's landing" hike, even though it's just class 2.
I've been up Borah 29 times now and I have to agree, there are a couple of places where you could fall a hundred feet or more. In particular, the short hand/foot traverse from the "V" notch to the Tan Band is one of those places. Granted, you won't free fall 100 feet but you sure could take a nasty fall there.
Excellent day to summit with friend Dr. Steve. 100 mile visibility, summit temps. in the 50s, light winds. One of my more challenging day hikes. Must have met 100 people on the trail. Amazed and entertained to climb with Emma the dog (part mountain goat) to the summit. #26 HP.
We had excellent mountain conditions and perfect weather on the ascent. However, we stayed too long on the summit and had to hurry down the ridge below COR to reach tree line before a storm arrived. Back at the trail head, we celebrated summiting with the fresh brew we had picked up from Porneuf Valley Brewing on the drive from SLC. What a great day!
Only ones above COR! Clouds were in and out but so was the sun!
Summitted on a beautiful clear and windless day! It was a tough climb for me, but it was worth the effort. It was high point #4 for me. We met another guy who climbed to the summit with us--it was his 44th HP.
I enjoyed scrambling up this peak on the drive from Portland to Denver. A great half day outing if you are in the area. I wish the 3rd class section was a bit longer. There was free camping at the trailhead.
A great climb! Chicken Out Ridge turned out to be really fun, and in my own opinion, was not hard or scary at all. In fact I tried to find the "hard way" up the ridge just to make it more interesting. The hard part for me was the knee crushing descent!
A beautiful day to stand on top of Idaho! Other then the super chilly wind, of course...
Hiked all but the last push to the summit when a cloudbank raced in and obscured everything from view and the rain worsened - had to turn back. Then halfway down, the sun came out, but too late to turn around. This peak can be done in the rain, but chicken out ridge was slippery, and you might have to turn back if the weather turns - which it did on my group. Super cool structural geology here!
Started at 5:30 am and went via the chicken out snow bridge route. Summitted in 2 1/2 hours. Was back at the car at 9:50 am. Not as hard as Granite, a couple days previous, but did get a thrill on chicken out ridge. Was impressed at how fast you gain elevation on this one.
The sign at the trailhead says Mt. Borah. Took about 7 hours roundtrip. Chicken out ridge is longer than it looks, but not too hard. Descending the steep approach trail was the crux for me. Some of the best views on any summit. Looks like lots of challenging peaks in the Lost River area.
to me this is the ideal hiking peak. enough scrambling and elevation gain to make it interesting and a cool summit pyramid. aug 2008.