Idaho, United States
Borah Peak (also known as Mount Borah) is the highest mountain in the U.S. state of Idaho. It is located in the central section of the Lost River Range, within the Challis National Forest in eastern Custer County. The peak is named for William Borah (1865–1940), a prominent U.S. Senator from Idaho (1907-40).
On Friday, October 28, 1983, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck the Borah Peak area at 8:06 am MDT.
The earthquake lifted Borah Peak over 7 feet (2.1 m). The peak was scarred on the western side and, as of May 2008, the mark is still visible. (Two children in Challis were the only fatalities of the quake, struck by falling masonry while walking to elementary school.) The USGS later downgraded it to a magnitude 6.9 earthquake.
The normal route involves ascending 5,262 vertical feet (1604 m) from the trailhead to the summit in just over 3.5 miles (5.6 km). This route on the southwest ridge is a strenuous hike for the most part until one reaches an arête just before the main summit crest. This point is known as Chickenout Ridge as many people will abort the attempt once they see the hazards up close. In the cooler seasons this dangerous crossing involves a traverse over snow, with steeply slanting slopes on either side. An ice axe is strongly recommended for this section. Parties should turn back if there is any doubt about being able to make the crossing.
Borah Peak's north face is one of Idaho's only year-round snow climbs and provides a much greater challenge than the normal route. The face features a number of grade II class 5 routes on mixed terrain.
Three climbers have died on Borah Peak. Two climbers ascending the northwest ridge in 1977 were killed in an avalanche. Another climber in 1987 lost his life on a glissade during descent.