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Ascent of Borah Peak on 2006-07-09

Climber: Dennis Poulin

Date:Sunday, July 9, 2006
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Borah Peak
    Location:USA-Idaho
    Elevation:12662 ft / 3859 m

Ascent Trip Report

Borah Peak the highpoint of Idaho was to be my grand finale hike before heading home to Oregon and my long suffering lonely wife. During the previous 9 days I hiked 9 differenet P5k prominence peaks. Borah Peak wil be the 10th to join Hayford, Arc Dome , Pilot , North Schell , Ibapah , Deseret , Flat Top , Nebo , and Timpanogos .

After completing Mt. Timpanogos on July 8th, I drove the 300 miles to the trailhead (elevation 7,400 ft) for Borah Peak in central Idaho. I arrived at the trailhead just at sunset. The bugs were bugging me a little, so I crawled into the back of my truck and closed up the windows. I was tired. 10 days of dirtbag camping had taken their toll. I was ready for this odyssey to end. One more climb and then off to a hot shower, clean sheets, and hot meals at home.

I slept well and rose early. Borah Peak is unusual in that you can see the summit from the trailhead. It looked a long ways away. Another solo hiker went up the tail about 10 minutes before I was ready. I hit the trail not too long after first light. It seemed like it was already warm. I hadn’t gone too far when a group of 3 young hikers passed me and were heading uphill in a hurry. Youth has its advantages. The trail is steep, so I took my time and worked my way steadily uphill. The trail is good without any obstacles and soon I reached the first ridge as I climbed out of a dry canyon.

The trail then continued steeply uphill following the ridgeline. At 10,000 feet I was out of the trees and the terrain was mainly composed just broken rocks. The trail was still good and I was making good time. AT about 10,600 ft I came around a rocky knob and I got my first good look at Chicken Out Ridge ahead. It didn’t look intimidating from here, but I was still a long ways away.

The trail became steeper as it curved around to meet the southern ridge of Borah itself. The trail also became more braided here because climbers were trying to find better paths up this rocky area in before Chicken Out Ridge proper. I picked a route near the ridge top that seemed to work well for me.

Progress slowed as I reached the top of this rocky knob and I was on Chicken Out Ridge. It was difficult to determine which route was the best to take. In retrospect, I don’t think one is any better than any other. I kept climbing up and down, left and right, over and around rocks. I heard someone yell ahead of me, I didn’t know what that was about. Soon one of the young hikers who passed me near the trailhead was coming back down. He was spooked. He said this wasn’t for him and he was hanging on with both hands, both feet, and both cheeks trying to make his way back off the ridge. Apparently the snow bridge ahead was his undoing. He seemed to be handling the situation, so I passed him and continued my hike.

I finally reached the snow bridge and knew why the young guy turned around. You have to walk across the apex of this ridge for about 70 ft with steep snow slides to rocks on either side of the ridge. I took my time and went across. No big deal here, it was fairly level and there were big footprints in the snow already.

Once across this snow bridge, the way was clear to get to the summit. I followed the most traveled route. The young guys hiking partners passed me as they were coming back from the summit. I also passed the solo hiker very near the summit as he was coming down. I had the summit to myself on another glorious day in the mountains. I signed the register and took a few pics.

Soon I headed down the same way I came up. I got back to my truck without any problem. The day had turned fairly warm, so it was hot coming down. The total hike is about 8 miles and took me 7.5 hours with about 5,200 ft of elevation gain.

This completed my 10 P5k hikes in 10 days. I hiked a total of 107 miles with over 44,000 ft of elevation gain. I also drove over 3,600 miles. I couldn't have done this without the help of fellow SPer Dean and the vision of SPer rfbolton who did 8 of these in 2005. Someday some youngster will be able to string together 20 of these P5k’s, but it won’t be me.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:5200 ft / 1585 m
    Elevation Loss:5200 ft / 1585 m
    Distance:8.2 mi / 13.2 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:5200 ft / 1585 m
    Distance:4.1 mi / 6.6 km
    Route:Standard Trail
    Trailhead:7462 ft / 2274 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:5200 ft / 1585 m
    Distance:4.1 mi / 6.6 km
    Trailhead:7462 ft / 2274 m



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