Borah Peak Climber's Log

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garchov - Dec 16, 2004 10:18 am

Route Climbed: S.W. Ridge Date Climbed: August 18, 1996  Sucess!

After a failed attempt in 1994 due to following the wrong trail (a cattle trail) from the parking area, my 2 brothers and I (one from Ohio and I and the other from Boise at the time) decided to try again. This time we got an early start and on the right trail! We came upon a solo hiker at about the 9500 contour and invited him along with us. The going got easier above the tree line and the trail was obvious untill we got near "chicken out" where my youngest brother and I opted to go to the right of the ridgeline. The rock was much more stable there but with route finding and exposure. Upon reaching the crux and meeting up with the others we had to wait for a decending party to climb up. The climb down the crux was fairly easy and the the snow on the bridge was old and hard with a walkable trail worn into it. From here to the saddle below the summit block the wind was cold and howling but when we reached the summit it was amazingly calm and beautiful. We spent about 30 minutes on the summit signing the regester, taking pictures and video and just enjoying the view. On the descent we all took the north side of "chicken out" and I think it is much more rotten than the south. The hike down below the tree line was grueling on the knees and tricky footing in places but we made it back to our trucks near 9:00 pm. The climb totaled 12 hours. I plan on summiting Borah again in 2005 to take a new register befitting of the highest point in Idaho.


craghag - Oct 7, 2004 11:15 am

Route Climbed: standard route Date Climbed: June 30, 2001  Sucess!

A challenging hump with some some scrambling and spectacular panoramas! I about chickened out on the ridge but in the end it was better than a roller coaster!

Steve Ball

Steve Ball - Oct 5, 2004 5:00 pm

Route Climbed: Standard Route Date Climbed: October 2, 2004  Sucess!

Arrived at the trailhead friday evening and found one car in the parking lot. I went about setting up camp and gathering firewood. At about 8:30 the owners of the car returned and drove off, I was alone. Woke up the next morning and started out at around 6am under the light of the moon. As I expected the trail started to climb right away and by about an hour later I was breaking through the tree line. I could see that there was quite a bit of snow along shicken out ridge and up to the summit but I pressed on. I made it to the start of the sirts scrabbling sections around 8:30am and because of the cold and lack of gloves I had to stop constantly to warm up my hands. Chicken out ridge was a difficult portion of the hike. The combination of cold, a lot of exposure, route finding, and icy hard packed snow made the going quite slow. After about an hour I made to just above the snow bridge and started looking for a spot to down climb. Going down this in the cold proved challenging but soon I was at the snow bridge and on my way again. There was a good trail through the snow over the bridge and that continued as a traverse just below the next hump in the trail towards the base of the summit. The traverse was all hardpacked snow and ice. An ice axe and crampons through this section would have made it a lot faster. After taking my time across the traverse I found my self at the base of the summit. The trail up was covered in hardpacked snow. After taking my time up through this section I made it to the top at around 11am. It had taken 5 hours to reach the top. The view from the summit was amazing. After spending half an hour on top I started to make my way down. The going was slow at first but thesnow was softening up and I was able to move a lot faster. I passed through chicken out ridge with no problem and soon was back on the trail again. I passed by a father and his two sons on their way up about 2 hours from the summit. It was aroun 1pm and asked them if they were going to the top and I told them about condition and then continued on my way. I moved quickly down the mountain and by three I was at the trailhead. 3 1/2 hours to come down and my feet were glad to see the car! Next stop craters of the moon. It was an amzing hike. With less snow it would have been a lot easier I think, but the snow just made it more interesting.


woodstrider - Sep 7, 2004 5:01 pm

Route Climbed: Southwest Ridge Date Climbed: August 22, 2004  Sucess!

Well, after looking at maps and reading up about Borah Peak I have finally gone and done it!

I found that Chicken-out Ridge was a short section of yellow rock that had a path that was easy to follow. The 15-20 foot step, ditto. No ice or snow on the snow field.

I signed in on a scrap of paper found in an ammo can. How long have the antlers been there? Not great weather- but I didn't care- I came a long way (NYC) to climb this peak and I did!


Andinistaloco - Aug 27, 2004 6:33 pm

Route Climbed: Standard Date Climbed: 1997?  Sucess!

Really fun climb! Steep and with great views as well... look for the earthquake fault while you're on top.

Andrew McKenzie

Andrew McKenzie - Aug 22, 2004 5:21 pm

Route Climbed: Southwest Ridge Date Climbed: August 13, 2004  Sucess!

Well, what can I say? This climb was significant in effort mainly because the 3.5 mile distance leads you to believe that it is a short trip. We got started fairly late by mountaineering standards, 10:00 am. My friend Andy Peterson and I pushed hard and with a big push from the saddle below the summit, managed to reach the top in 3 hours. The real teeth of this climb dont bear themselves until you start down. The loose rock at the top can make for an exciting descent, and the sheer steepness of the trail below treeline will make your knees and ankles scream at you for days to come. Overall this was a good climb that looks worse than it really is, (ie. don't chicken out on chicken out!) It took us 5 1/2 hours round trip, with decent summit time for resting. A great day hike for locals or travelers and all but those with significant joint problems, (and I do mean knees and such!), should be able to make it with only energy lost. Cheers!!


kdonaldson - Jun 15, 2004 12:11 pm

Route Climbed: Southwest Ridge Date Climbed: June 13, 2004  Sucess!

Climbed with Brandon, Kurt, Mark and Dave. The weather conditions were overcast at the start when we left at 5 AM, but as we went higher, conditions worsened with visibility about 80-100 ft consistently and very windy, above ~ 10,000 ft. Above the knife edge on chicken out ridge at some point, I checked the temp and it was 32 degrees, BUT 8 degrees with the windchill! We followed the ridge all the way to the summit due to low visability. Snow (on the ground) started a few hundred feet above the tree line, just after you begin encountering class 3 rock on the ridge. Most of the exposed ridges were still corniced. With the weather conditions, along with mixed 3rd class snow, rock and some ice, it took us ~ 6.5 hours to summit. After a short break on the summit, we were just about to descend, when the clouds started to break and within about 10 minutes the clouds had move past enought to give us great views, which made the effort well worth it. It continued to clear as we descended, and was sunny after about .5 hours for the remainder of the descent. The entire trip including breaks took us ~ 12 hours. Awsome challenging trip!

Scott Wesemann

Scott Wesemann - Jun 9, 2004 11:37 pm Date Climbed: Jul 22, 2002

Route Climbed: Chicken out Date Climbed: 9/01 and 7/02  Sucess!

This is a very fun hike and Chicken out is a fun scramble. I suggest staying right on top of the ridge. There are some class 3 moves and the exposure is really exciting. The snowfield was not all that bad when we were there. Be prepared for the steep descent. We had perfect weather on both occasions. (See trip report)

Craig Nielsen

Craig Nielsen - Feb 27, 2004 1:33 am

Route Climbed: Regular Route Date Climbed: 8-30-04  Sucess!

Great Day for climbing! A wonderful route and a great mountain. One more High point for me! Yeah!


phillinley - Jan 29, 2004 12:48 am

Route Climbed: Southwest Ridge Date Climbed: May 12, 2003  Sucess!

Not a very fun mountain to be on once the sun hit. The snow was murder to get through . During the climb I cursed myself many times for not climbing this thing during the summer months. But the semi-solitude was nice with just me and two other climbers on the peak. Definately a climb that requires an ice axe in crampons even in the late spring.


pdeangeli - Sep 3, 2003 2:33 pm

Route Climbed: Southwest Ridge Date Climbed: July 25, 2002

Packed parking lot -- as expected -- with people arriving as late as 1 a.m. and others starting out at 2:30 a.m. Our group of 9 started at 5:15 and took our sweet time up to the gorgeous summit views and back for a 10-hour round trip. Weather was perfect, and our group leader Mike made sure all made it without incident. Steep, dusty, busy trail.


Zarn - Aug 15, 2003 2:41 am

Route Climbed: STANDARD Date Climbed: 08/12/03  Sucess!

Relentless and beautiful !! Views that rival or surpass any other N.A. peak. Not your standard walk up. On any given day, above the lower ridges you could be challanged to your maximum.

Be prepared as the route "feels" longer that the the 3.5 miles advertised. It is especially steep in the treeline and the summit block. There is no marked or standard route through the Chicken Out Ridge area. There are several "trails" in this zone that can lead you into various levels of high exposure and dead ends. In my opinion, stay on the high side of the ridge when ever possible.

Some would technically rate the climb at a 3.15. Do not let this be your generic guide, carry a length or at least 50' of rope to ease the exposure of exit and re-entry to Chicken Out Ridge to and from the summit block, especially if your are solo.

With all that being said, I can understand why many of the the 15 climbers I encountered on my summit day were on there second attempt.

Overall an amazing area and climb.



rob_s_ - Aug 9, 2003 9:56 pm

Route Climbed: The Only Way I Saw Date Climbed: August 8, 2003  Sucess!

A fun but hard climb. Took 4:45 up with my 2 friends, one who had climbed it before. A good suggestion is having someone who has some idea of the trail with you. In the chickenout ridge area, it is semi confusing on what way to go, based on the opinions of others this day. But my friend led us up. A fair amount of hand usage and take it slow and chicken out ridge is fairly easy. Don't be stupid and forget sunscreen, my biggest mistake looking at myself now, ouch! Great climb and well worth the hours of work. See my page at for pictures.


grandwazoo - Jul 29, 2003 8:01 am

Route Climbed: Standard Date Climbed: 9-14-2002  Sucess!

Left the trailhead @ 5:00 am with headlamps on, had perfect weather, temp was a little warm without any wind. Hit the summit @ 8:30 spent around an hour checking out the views (most pleasant). We than descended, and made it back to the car by 11:00 am.


rpc - Jul 14, 2003 9:10 am

Route Climbed: SW Ridge Date Climbed: July 12, 2003  Sucess!

2nd attempt on this mtn. - got weathered off Memorial Day '02. Left Portland after work at 6pm, drove thru. the night (675 miles) and started climbing at 7am. My wife sprained her ankle at about 9000 foot level but neither one of us wanted to turn around and have to come back again to do this one so we continued. Crowds galore!!! Initially, had our doubts if Blondie (our dog) would be able to make the summit, but after seeing the summit-bound crowd at the TH, our doubts were dissipated. Blondie had no issues. Beautiful views from summit. This late in the season, there was really nothing to the Chickenout Ridge - the snow slope on either side of the ridge could not have been more than about 25 degrees with nice runout below. This was really the only place on the route where you hit snow (all 40 feet of it) - no need for ice ax or crampons this late. Bring plenty of water.


fastandlight - Nov 2, 2002 9:54 pm

Route Climbed: Southwest Ridge Date Climbed: october 13, 2002  Sucess!

Borah is a great climb. It was on the cold side the day I climbed it, but the wind wasn't too strong. The 5200' vertical gain over 3.5 miles is fairly steep, but the views are great. There was not one other person on the mountain the day I climbed it.

Check out my website for photos of the climb


rmjwinters - Oct 5, 2002 8:57 pm

Route Climbed: Standard Date Climbed: June 28 1999  Sucess!

Steep, cold and a bit dicey. I would say that Chicken Out ridge is overrated. The hike is about as steep as it can get without using all fours!

Fred Spicker

Fred Spicker - Aug 18, 2002 6:08 am

Route Climbed: Soutwest Ridge Date Climbed: 16 August 2002  Sucess!

I was surprised and a bit disappointed at the amount of actual trail on the route. Great views and a nice outing.


Peyton - Aug 12, 2002 8:52 am

Route Climbed: Standard Route Date Climbed: 10 August, 2002  Sucess!

Very tough hike for me in terms of steepness and loose rock. I would like to try this one in winter.


IdahoClimber - Jun 17, 2002 8:19 am

Route Climbed: Standard Route Date Climbed: June 15th, 2002  Sucess!

Great climb! Left the trailhead at 6 and summited at about 10. Cloudless day, seems like you could see forever. Chicken out ridge was awesome. Would recommend ice axe for crossing places along chicken out ridge but is not necessary there is still a-lot of snow on the ridges but nice footholds were kicked in by the end of the day. Make sure to stay high along chicken out ridge, went low at first and it gets a little hairy. The rocks are sharp so bring some gloves. Definitely more than a just a hike, seems like some of the switchbacks needed switchbacks, and scrambling along the ridge was technical but manageable. 3 other groups summited also, one with a guy with one leg, one with a eleven-yr old kid who had climbed Denali earlier in the year. Camping at the trailhead is really nice. Any questions feel free to email me at

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