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Ascent of Borah Peak on 2013-08-04

Climber: Jason Vogler

Others in Party:Jason Vogler -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Date:Sunday, August 4, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Borah Peak
    Location:USA-Idaho
    Elevation:12662 ft / 3859 m

Ascent Trip Report

After meeting my cousin for Breakfast in Beaverton Oregon I left for Borah Peak. This was a 10 1/2 hours of driving type trip. Everything went very smooth except I had forgotten 1 little thing. That there was a 1 hour time change to Mountain Standard time that of course meant I was going to have to get up and hour earlier than I had planned. Anyway I effectively arrived at the camp ground at 11 PM and immediately tried to get some sleep. I slept I know because I had some dreams but it was not very good sleep due to people coming and going in the night. However I must say that it was one of the best views I had of the milky way I have ever had. Only the hike on Mauna Loa and the river trip up the Amazon were better.

In any case I set my alarm for 4:30 which was mute since some people showed up at 4 that got me moving. I was finally ready just after 5 AM and began the hike in the dark though there was so much starlight that I could see pretty clearly. This hike doesn't tease you at all it is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant right out of the gun.

The average is 1500 ft per mile traveled an brother those numbers don't tell the whole truth. I had just hiked Fuji a week before and Fuji ain't got nothing on Borah Peak! After 3 1/2 Hours I reached Chicken Out Ridge "COR" and i was already feeling the altitude.

However COR was what I had been worried about as I had very little experience with Exposed rock faces and was not sure how I was going to react. I just kept telling myself "Fear keeps you alive". I could not believe what I was doing quite frankly as I was on a ledge that 1 bad mistake would send me into a 1000 ft cliff face. It was insane. No buddy check, no ropes, just me and my favorite pair of underwear.

There was no real trail over COR just some suggestive Cairns that helped only a little bit by letting you know you had not yet fallen to your death. I took a path that looked OK and found myself looking up a scree field that someone had gone up at some point but no way I was going that way. I started to head back discouraged when I found the boot print and a broken water bottle. I headed straight up and found myself above the trail and could see the end of COR. I climbed down a 20 foot rock wall to the ridge line and was officially over COR. Looking back I could see a better route but only experience would tell you that.

The next hurdle is the ice bridge but someone was looking down on me with kindness because the glacier had receded to only rock across the ridge line. No dangerous Ice crossing. I had my trekking poles but it was a concern that I could not ignore so fortunately it was a non issue this year.

it was at this point that I ran into the guys who had started at 4 AM. They had already summited and were on their way down. We exchanged niceties and headed our separate directions. The climb was a scramble up the hill. Literally crawling up the trail and it was a great deal more elevation gain than I had first anticipated. I spent 45 minutes to an hour moving up that mountain taking several breaks at that high elevation. I finally came to the top after 5 hours on the mountain. I took my pictures drank some gatorade and signed the registry. All was right with the world.

I headed back down and passed two separate people. My legs were already shaking. Yet for whatever reason about 3/4 of the way down to the ice bridge area I tossed my cookies or in this case the only thing in my stomach the Gatorade. It was 4 good power pukes the last two more dry heaves than anything else. I was not very worried that Dehydration was going to get me. I had to be extra careful now but I was feeling much better.

I got to the ice bridge and there was a large group taking pictures. They actually had a dog with them (idiots). I kind of laughed at the thought of the dog licking up my gatorade vomit. Well about 10 minutes later i was watching a 3 person group finishing COR resting before I made my way back down. We chit chatted and I began going down a scree field to the path that i could see. The way back down was much easier this time and only one section down a steep rock wall that I had come up was concerning. Just on the other side of COR was a friend of one of the individual hikers I had ran into that had "chickened out". Told him his friend was at least an hour behind me and moved on to dirt trail.

I slogged down the mountain feeling miserable as I had no energy and all I could get in me was water. My feet hurt really bad and I could not go very fast down the hill due to the steepness of the trail. Usually you can really fly on the downhill but not in this case because a misstep would send you rolling down a steep steep hill.

My sun screen had been left in the car apparently so the sun on the back of my neck was nice and hot. I had to strip down to my short sleeve shirt taking off two layers after I had come out of the stronger winds at and above COR. It was 2:00 local time and I had at least a mile left to go. it was nice hiking through the forest as thin as it was as it allowed some relief from the sun.

Finally I walked out of the tree line and wanted to kiss my car. I quickly changed clothes and grabbed two ice tea's I had ready and began the drive home. It was 3 PM exactly MST when I got to the highway 93. I was exhausted but with a 10 1/2 hours of driving ahead of me I had no time to waste. It took me 9 1/2 hours to hike that bad boy and I was behind the 7 I thought would be worst case.

I actually made it all the way to Mountain Home with no issues. I quickly got gas (forgot to clean the windows on the car) then went to subway and was able to take in a 6 inch steak and cheese. I took off immediately and about 20 minutes later I got to the rest stop and took a power nap for 30 minutes. I felt like I was on top of the world at this point. I did not have to stop again for 5 hours as I made it all the way to the Dalles before I began nodding off again. I got gas not that I needed it and went to the bathroom and then tried to close my eyes for 10 minutes. That was all I needed. I hit 84 knowing that I was almost done.
Made it all the way to 205 and 84 where I found out 84 into Portland was closed!

Curse words in a torrent only a sailor could appreciate were verbalized for the rest of the drive home. Fortunately at 1 AM in the morning the surface roads were relatively empty except for drivers dealing with the same thing I was. I took Glisan all the way to MLK and went north to catch the I-5 to 405 to 26. Being mad at least was able to get me home without passing out in the driver seat. I had been up for 22 hours at this point having done a massive mountain and long long drive. I was ready to sleep.

As soon as I pulled into my driveway I took a deep breath and felt like I had finally finished the hike. State Highpoint #6!

Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
A perfect day



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