Custer County Highpoint Trip Report

Borah Peak (12,662 ft)

Date: August 19, 2006
Author: John Birrer

On Saturday, the 19th of August, I ascended and descended from Borah Peak. I believe that, in the process, I must have quit about twenty times. What a time for a guy pushing 55 (better than pushing daisies). As I expected, descending the mean 30 per cent grade was as difficult or more so than going up. I ended up losing both big toenails coming down. If you are going to climb in tennis shoes be sure that your nails are trimmed very short ahead of time or the mountain will do it for you.

There were roughly 100 folks on the mountain that day, most much younger than I but a few just about my age. Strangely, I took too much water with me, about two gallons, and ended up drinking too little, about six pints. Chicken-out Ridge was not the chore that I expected but was rather quite easy, though I can understand that those with more than a healthy fear of heights might be uncomfortable.

The real difficult part was the final climb up the scree. Combine it with the altitude and it takes a lot out of an individual. I met folks from Maryland, Utah, and Idaho, with others from many other locales I am sure.

I had asked a couple of young guys if I could accompany them at 0400 but they did not awaken me. I left at 0500 and got to the top 30 minutes after they did. They were surprised and apologetic. At the finish line, I realized that the seat of my pants was air conditioned. I am sure that more than a few got a laugh out of that! I guess all the sliding down the scree had exposed my hind quarters a bit. All told, I was just over five hours up and just under five hours down.