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Borah Peak Climb

Lost River Range

Lehmi + Lost River Range, Idaho

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Borah Peak Climb

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  • Dickey Peak to the north from the Borah Peak Trail.- Borah Peak Climb
  • Looking to the south from the Borah Peak Trail.- Borah Peak Climb
  • View of Mount Idaho and Sacagawea Peak from the Chicken Out Ridge snowbridge.- Borah Peak Climb
  • Crossing the snowbridge above Chicken Out Ridge.- Borah Peak Climb
  • Looking down on Chicken Out Ridge from above.- Borah Peak Climb
  • Another view of Chicken Out Ridge from near the summit of Borah.- Borah Peak Climb
  • Mount Idaho, to the south of Borah, is another of Idaho's nine 12,000-foot peaks.- Borah Peak Climb
  • The base of Chicken Out Ridge. This crux is where many people decide to head back, which is where the ridge gets its name.- Borah Peak Climb
  • View of Borah Peak's summit block.- Borah Peak Climb
  • The lower slopes of Borah are open and broad but still steep.- Borah Peak Climb
  • View from the summit of Borah Peak.- Borah Peak Climb
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
State high point. Fantastic views. Challenging hike.
Cons: 
Sometimes crowded. Difficult terrain. No water.
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Region:
Lehmi + Lost River Range, ID
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Recommended Equipment:
Ice axe / crampons
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade I
Net Elevation Gain: 
5,200.00 ft (1,584.96 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.50 mi (5.63 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,400.00 ft (2,255.52 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

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At 12,662 feet, Borah Peak is Idaho's highest mountain. Located in Idaho's Lost River Range, this mountain is quite remote, but because of its status as a state high point it sees a good deal of traffic during the summer months, especially on weekends. Borah would be a fantastic climb even if it wasn't the state's highest peak, however. The main route follows the southwest ridge and gains well over 5,000 feet in around 3.5 miles to the summit. In short, it is steep!

The main route's most famous feature is the knife-edge ridge about two-thirds of the way to the top called Chicken Out Ridge. Visitors unaccustomed or unprepared for the exposure sometimes choose to turn around here, which is how the ridge is named. Getting across COR is certainly quite airy, and a 20-foot downclimb is required at the end of the ridge. In normal snow years the gully at the base of the downclimb is often choked with snow until late in the year, requiring climbers to cross a snow bridge to the rock of the upper mountain. When the snow bridge is in place, an ice axe and crampons are advised.

There are a number of alternate routes up the mountain, the most well known of which is the north face. This is one of Idaho's premier steep rock and ice routes. It also happens to begin in the basin that held the state's last active glacier.

While Borah is accessible to most during the summer months, winter turns the mountain into an expedition that should only be attempted by experienced mountaineers, even via the standard route. There have been three fatalities on the mountain due to avalanches.

One of the most unique features of Borah is the massive earthquake fault scarp that is clearly visible along the road to the trailhead. In 1983, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake shook the area and actually caused Borah Peak to rise 7 feet in elevation to it's current elevation.

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(9 within a 30 mile radius)

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