Borah Peak (Mount Borah)
Photo by Dan Robbins
|Best months for climbing:||Jul, Aug, Sep|
|Year first climbed:||Probably 1912|
|First successful climber(s):||Probably USGS Surveyor Thomas M. Bannon|
|Nearest major airport:||Boise, Idaho|
|Convenient Center:||Mackay, Idaho|
Borah Peak is the highest peak in Idaho. It rises in the Lost River Range, the highest in Idaho, a giant fault block rising suddenly from the Lost River Valley on the west with virtually no foothills. Borah Peak is a remote mountain in a remote dry range, where the sparse, dusty landscape supports little vegetation. Borah Peak is the only mountain in the range with an approaching road and a well traveled summit trail.
Approx 20 miles north of Mackay on Id 93 take the Birch Springs access road for the popular southwest ridge trail. Be advised this is a massive mountain and the trail is very steep and straight (no switchbacks). This is the only non-technical route, but it features "Chickenout" ridge. A 100 yard long knife edge at about 11890 feet.
There have been 3 deaths climbing Borah which is a low figure considering the number of people who attempt this peak each season. In Novenber of 1977, two climbers from Idaho Falls were swept off and killed in an avalanche and in 1987, a Boise climber lost control of his glissade, fell over a cliff and died. Borah is not to be underestimated.
The mountain was the epicenter of a major earthquake in 1983 (Richter Scale 7.3), which left some trenches and steep steps near the mountain's base on the Birch Springs access road. This quake also raised the range around 6 feet in relation to the valley floor.
For more information on this or any other Idaho peak, I recommend the unequaled "IDAHO, A Climbing Guide" by Tom Lopez.