Saturday, August 8, 2015

Borah! Borah! Borah!

It was a beautiful day for a hike.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Time to go see what Borah Peak and the famous "Chickenout Ridge" were all about.  It was the high point of Idaho, after all.

Colin came with us to get some hiking in as well.  Geared up and ready to go!

The first couple miles were in the shade of the mountain and in the trees, very nice.  The trail started out steep and only got steeper.  Colin making progress up the hill:

We just learned about these little buggers!  It's a squirrel and not a chipmunk as one (such as myself) might have called it.  You can tell because the face isn't striped.  The usefulness of attending ranger talks in national parks.  Also, you can tell it's not a Glacier NP squirrel because it sat and waited for me take its picture instead of running away at the sight of the camera:

Starting to get a view of the valley:

Yep, nice view (and good for a breather):

Because this is what was next!  Straight up a steep ridge on a rocky trail:

At least the scenery was awesome so I had an excuse to pause occasionally to snap photos.  Interesting Idaho geology, with layers leaning in all crazy directions:

Up there, the jagged part on the right is Chickenout Ridge:

And the top of the mountain is to the left, with an impressive bowl between us and it:

Lots and lots of rocks, all of it quite stable.  There have been plenty of people up and down through here, making it easy to figure out the route options.

The trail we came up:

John looking to see if Colin is visible on the trail (he was taking it slower and turned around a bit lower):

Snack time, pondering what was ahead of us:

And below us:

John was pretty excited about the whole thing.  He loves clambering over rocks and along ridges.

John's enthusiasm helps a lot, also his sure-footedness and mountain goat tendencies.  We brought a length of rope and used it to "short-rope" and belay me along the trickier sections.  I'm way more likely to try things if I have a rope backup, and that was exactly what I needed for this section of class 3 ridge:

The last tricky part - a down-climb off the "Chickenout" part of the ridge.  Thanks for the awesome belay, John!

We got this  :)

Looking back up that section - lots of foot and handholds to work with, just a bit beyond me unless I've got a safety backup:

Still (briefly) short-roped up, before finding that I didn't need it for the rest of the climb:

The last steep haul up to the top, complete with a bit of snow in July:

A lake in view off the backside of the peak:

Excellent scenery in all directions:

The pile of stuff waiting for us at the top:

Including a rubber "Chickenout" chicken, too funny!

Bwak bwak, Chickenout Ridge...

Tee it up:

Showing love for our rope:

Ukulele Chicken:

OK, enough messing around.  Starting back down from the top, lots of rocks to deal with:

Picking my way down:

Looking back at Borah (there are some hikers in the background, if you can see them for some perspective):

That same set of hikers as they start up the first climb on Chickenout Ridge.  We decided to try the lower "bypass" route on the way back, down and across a scree slope to a small trail.  It was great scree practice and overall a lot easier for me.  Still, I was happy we had done the Ridge on the way up, also excellent practice.

It was a long, steep trail down and I was glad to have trekking poles to ease up the pressure on the legs.  John captured one last photo as we got back to treeline:

A successful outing and #29 complete in our High Points Quest!

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