Views, Exercise and Idaho's fresh air! Hiking Mount Borah

Making the Climb

Breathing deeply, the pounding of your heart resonates in your head... and each step taken is purposeful and victorious. You're tired...but a satisfied tired, as you feel a sense of accomplishment almost as tall as the peaks you are gazing at. There is nothing like your first glimpse from the crest of a high mountain peak... drinking in the views below... expansive and seemingly neverending beauty.

If you are up for a challenge and ready to take on the highest elevation real estate in Idaho, you've met your match in Mount Borah. Luckily Mount Borah, Idaho is situated just 23 miles north of Mackay, Idaho. It can be found in the Big Lost River Valley in the Challis National Forest of eastern Custer County. A rolling green valley lies below the mountain. To the east and west are peaks covered with snow.

Mount Borah is the highest peak in Idaho and stands 12,662 feet above sea level which is almost 400 feet higher than any other Idaho mountain! It was once referred to as Beauty Peak but its name was eventually changed in 1933 to Mount Borah after the senator, William E. Borah. A round trip of the mountain can be completed in about ten hours. Climbers and adventurers from all over the world come to visit this majestic place.

Mount Borah experienced a 7.3 earthquake on October 28, 1983. The earthquake struck the peak and lifted it over 7 feet. The western area of the mountain was defaced and the scar can still be seen today.

Mount Borah is generally climbed in the summer time between July and September when there are only small amount of lingering snow left. The typical trip is over the southwest ridge of the mountain. This climb is rated a class 3. A class 3 climb refers to a trip which requires the use of hands as support. The Chicken Out Ridge is located on this route. This ridge has a section which is knife edged. On either side of this sharp ridge is a 2000 foot drop off. The end of the ridge requires the climber to cross a snow bridge. By the summer’s end, the snow on the bridge can melt completely, forcing the climbers to have to climb down 20 feet. The high peak of Mount Borah and the visible trail that lead to it, makes this a popular destination for active climbers.

The standard route on Mount Borah requires climbers to move upwards 5,400 feet over a 4.5 mile trek. This route can take between 3 and 12 hours to complete. The signed trail head can be found 20 miles to the north of Mackay. Be sure to bring lots of water if you make a plan to climb this route because there is no place to stop along the way.

There are some safety precautions to follow when climbing Mount Borah:

Brilliant Colors of Idaho

Be sure to watch the weather forecast and choose a day to climb when there are no predictions of thunderstorms. Being caught on a ridge in the middle of a thunderstorm can be a frightening experience, even for an avid climber.
Do not use the water from the streams. While it may appear clear, it is not necessarily clean. Bring enough water with you to keep hydrated throughout your climb.
Be sure to bury or cover any human waste. This will prevent the possibility of a spread of contamination.

After you tackle Mount Borah and get some well deserved rest, we can help minimize the challenge of finding your perfect Idaho home! Touch base anytime for any Idaho information- we look forward to introducing you to an amazing and beautiful state.

Kevin Hughes

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