The mountains are calling and I must go. ~ John Muir

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Borah Peak, Idaho ~ elevation 12,662 feet

September 19, 2010

Borah Peak via the Southwest Ridge to Chicken Out Ridge, 6.8 mi
Class 3; Elevation Gain 5,300 ft

A moment of hesitation…
But no chickening out

Although we’ve spent many weekends hiking and climbing, hitting high peaks has been somewhat of a challenge since we all moved out west.  There are several peaks within driving distance, but they are not as easily accessible as the mountains of the northeast.  Additional time is also needed to acclimate to the trailhead elevations, as the mountains in the west reach considerable heights.  Extended weekends are necessary.  Extended weekends are not easy to come by.

Just arrived at the campground
With that said, we decided to use our 2010 vacations to summit our highest peak yet, as well as visit Yellowstone National Park and check out the Tetons.  It was an amazing week of camping, hiking, and (for Jim and Tim) bison burgers and antelope sausage whenever they were available. 

Our trip began with a drive to SFO to pick Tim up.  After loading his suitcase into our fully-packed car, we drove through the night, heading toward Mackay, Idaho.  Mid-morning we stopped for an awesome cup of coffee (and to sign the wall) at the Shot in the Dark Coffee House in Twin Falls.  We pulled into Mackay, hoping to find a place to grab lunch.  Everything was closed, but several people pointed us toward a free bbq that the local schools were hosting.  We checked it out, hunted for firewood, did a drive-by of the trailhead, and chatted with the campground owner, Daryl, about the Lost River Range. 

The next morning, in the dark and cold hours of day, we set out.  Tree-line came upon us pretty quickly, and the balance of the hike was very exposed.  Loose gravel and steep gains made this a challenging peak to summit but the views were unbelievable ~ each more stunning than the last.



When we reached Chicken Out Ridge, we met several people who had done just that.  But there was no chance that we were joining them.  The nerve-racking cake walk that was Chicken Out Ridge was over before we realized, and more scree soon followed.  Toward the apex of the mountain each step up led to half a step back, but we pressed on ~ holding tight and scrambling up the loose rock.

Although an amazing mountain (Jim’s favorite summit so far), we were ready to head to Yellowstone the next day.

At the summit