Mount Borah, ID - NW Ridge

As stated in Idaho-A Climbing Guide most Idahoans refer to it as Mount Borah. Whatever you prefer to call he, she or it, at 12,662 Feet high Borah Peak is Idaho�s highest summit. Having spent most of my childhood in Idaho I am compelled to refer to it as Mount Borah.

The Borah Peak Trailhead/camp is at the end of Birch Springs Road 3 miles off of Highway 93 North of town of Mackay, just south of the center of the middle of nowhere. Mackay (pronounced Mac-kee) has the basic supplies and services but is far from a destination. You can also get to Mount Borah from Sun Valley via Sun Valley/Trail Creek Road a.k.a. Forest Development Road 51 which crosses 7894' Trail Creek Pass. The road is paved for the first few miles out of Sun Valley then turns to gravel. When I arrived at the trailhead on September 1st the parking lot was packed even though it was snowing and visibility was bad. I decided I would deal with Borah Peak another day.

Have you ever wondered if cattle guards actually work?


The trailhead on September 1, 2008

Returning on September 4th I found blue skies and other than on North aspects all of the snow had melted. There is a route on the North Face providing there is enough snow but the standard route is the Borah Peak Trail which follows the NW Ridge. This route would be entirely different if snow coverered. The trail is obvious and easy to follow and gets straight to the point gaining 5400� in under 4 miles. As far as climbing goes the only real challenge is �Chicken Out Ridge,� a somewhat exposed Class 3 traverse negotiates this short lived problem. I elected to stay on the ridge crest once above preferring the enjoyable scrambling on good rock over the lightly snow covered path through scree and talus on the north slope. A short downclimb via a loose gully to get back to the path at a notch was the cost... it was worth it. I reached the top in about 3 hours and encountered 3 other parties. Expect bigger crowds on weekends. This is a good outing if you find yourself in the area.

Mount Borah in the early morning


Looking down "Chicken Out Ridge"


The NW Ridge


The summit flagpole


Idaho-A climbing Guide; Tom Lopez; Pages 270-274