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Ascent of Borah Peak on 2004-07-04

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Matt from La Grande
Date:Sunday, July 4, 2004
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Borah Peak
    Elevation:12662 ft / 3859 m

Ascent Trip Report

I arrived here last night, after visiting Idaho's state capitol in Boise, and camped at the TH at the foot of the W ridge. Light showers off and on. I set up my tent next to Matt from La Grange, OR, who has been here a number of times and was going for the summit today. My plans were to do an orientation climb to the chicken-out-ridge and attempt the summit tomorrow. However when I heard of Matt's plans and his knowledge of the mountain I decided to follow him up. This would turn out to be an excellent decision. I chatted with a number of climbers coming off the mountain, one young guy in shorts and t-shirt, from New Jersey, left for the summit at 17h00 hrs and said that he' do it in four hours. I would learn later today that he did do it.

I left at 5h15 hrs, a few minutes after Matt, followed the well defined very steep trail to the top of the ridge, once on the ridge the trail eases to the famous chicken-out-ridge. A user trail can be followed at places it is exposed scrambling but not bad. You have to negotiate a few notches, tricky and potentially risky, lots of good hand-holds. I tried to follow Matt's line who was stronger and well ahead of me, at times I couldn't see him.

The most difficult sections were at two notches with snowbridges, I had no ice axe ! ! ! not very smart of me. I was very apprehensive crossing the last bridge. I couldn't see Matt so I hollered for him, he came back to guide me accross, I slowly and carefully followed existing foot prints ! ! ! one mistake here and I would have been a goner ! ! ! 2000' drop ! ! ! Once safely accross I followed Matt on a trail and thru mostly rock/boulder field on the N side of the ridge, crossing numerous short snowfields.

We summitted Borah Peak, elev 12662', at 10h45 hrs after a 5 1/2 hour climb for my 44th highpoint. The weather was iffy, fast moving clouds, we got out of there after 1/2 an hour break. I followed Matt on the descent thru the notches/snowbridges and the chicken-out-ridge. I got back to camp at 15h30 hrs after a 10 1/4 hour day, very fortunate to have met up with Matt. A super helpfull guy with a lot of patience. I probably would have turned around at the snowbridge if not for him. I thanked him and expressed my appreciation more than once. He left for home right after our descent, I overnighted here. Tomorrow I'll visit the Craters of the Moon Park before moving on to Granite Peak in Montana.
Borah Peak is not overall difficult, however the snowbridges should not be taken lightly, dangerous without the proper gear. This crossing was the riskiest thing that I have done, looking back it, I now believe that I should not have done it.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:5212 ft / 1589 m
    Elevation Loss:5212 ft / 1589 m
    Distance:6.6 mi / 10.6 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:5212 ft / 1589 m
    Distance:3.3 mi / 5.3 km
    Route:from W side TH, ridge crest trail, highpoint #44
    Trailhead:Camping & TH at W side of mtn   7450 ft / 2270 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:5212 ft / 1589 m
    Distance:3.3 mi / 5.3 km
    Route:from W side TH, ridge crest trail
    Trailhead:Camping & TH at W side of mtn   7450 ft / 2270 m

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