Mt. Borah

On the 4th of July Jeb and I began our hike of Mt. Borah- the highest mountain in Idaho. It would be our 8th highpoint and by far the hardest mountain we had ever attempted to summit. With 5,500+ feet of gain and a section of the hike called “chicken out ridge”, it would be no easy feat.

Jeb and I decided to hire a guide to take us up it. We didn’t want to get all the way to Idaho and then chicken out on the knife ridge, so we decided to go the safe route and book it with a guiding company. This way we would be able to be roped out with harnesses for the sketchy sections on the ridge. So flat down below!

Partially up the mountain, but not yet to the knife ridge.Our guide taught us how to pace ourselves and different techniques to help preserve our leg muscles. I tried not to think about how much further we had to go…

Looking the other direction up towards the summit. We could not believe how bad the mosquitos were on this hike. They followed us almost the whole way up. By the next day I had dozens of bites, it was horrible.

Definitely some jagged mountains in this area. This was our first time roping up for a hike and this was the aspect of the hike I was super excited for. I actually thought it was a lot of fun and not scary with the gear. This was my favorite part of the hike.

Once we got passed chicken out ridge we had about 800 feet of gain remaining to reach the summit. It didn’t look that bad and really thought it would go by quickly. It turned out it was 800 feet of loose scree on a super steep slope. It was a miserably slow process and the summit just seemed to get further and further away.

Almost there. We encountered several other high pointers that day. Including a guy who had done 48 of them! Meeting people like this always inspires me to continue with our goal of high pointing.

That guy passed us on the way up and then cheered for us when we reached the summit. It was pretty nice to have someone so excited for us when we made it there.

We lucked out with a really beautiful day and good weather for the FULL 16 HOURS it took me to complete this hike… LOL.

I don’t think I even fully appreciated the views that day because I was so worn out, but at least we got some good pictures!

On the summit of Borah there is an American flag, which our guide Matt said is there every day. But given that this was the 4th of July, it proved to be especially appropriate!


I probably spent a good 15 minutes just being happy and excited to be there before the realization and dread sunk in that I still had to descend 5,500 feet of gain. We still had a long day ahead of us.

Us with our guide Matt. He was a really great guide and I would say very crucial to our success on Borah.

Partially back down and done with coming down the knife ridge. You can see the path back up to the top in this picture.

The worst part about coming down was that you could see the car almost the entire time… it never felt like it was getting any closer. It was a little bit demoralizing.

We had all these big 4th of July plans and when we finally got back to the car we were 100% beat. We ended up stopping at a gas station and getting pizza, ice cream, and beer. We watched fireworks on TV, and celebrated that we had finally accomplished our goal!

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