Friday, July 20, 2012

Borah Peak, Lost River Range, ID

Borah Peak
Class 3 scramble
Elevation gain: 5,262 ft.
Roundtrip: 7 miles
Route: Chicken-out Ridge

Borah Peak, at 12,667 ft above sea level, is the highest peak in Idaho. It is part of the Lost River Range which resembles a high Nevada basin and range mountain chain. In fact, the Lost River Range and Mt. Borah were uplifted and continue to rise just like the Wasatch Range of Utah, the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho and almost every mountain range in Nevada. A magntitude 7.3 earthquake in 1983 caused the Borah segment of the Lost River Range to rise 7 feet in less than a second. A similar earthquake could strike the Wasatch Front and cause millions of dollars in damage at any moment.

The hike to the summit of Borah Peak is short but very steep and in some sections, very exposed. I arrived at Borah trailhead on Monday evening in the middle of a typical afternoon thunderstorm. I set up my tent and read a book until it got dark. The peak didn't look so far off. I set my alarm for 5 am.

At 5:30 am I was on the trail and moving pretty fast. I passed a group of hikers in the trees on the way up and I had the rest of the hike up to myself. The trail goes essentially up a wooded drainage, gains a rocky ridge where the trees become sparse, then follows the ridge up the peak to the south. I reached chicken-out ridge in 1.5 hours and I was on the summit in 2.5 hours at around 8 am. The views of the range are excellent to the south. To the east you can easily see the Lemhi Range and to the west you can see the Sawtooths.

I made the hike down in 1.5 hours. 4 hours roundtrip. Down just in time for brunch and my drive to the Sawtooths.

*I wouldn't say this is an easy hike, but is definitely short, especially for a western state high point.