East Face of Mt Borah

East Face of Mt Borah

Bob
Bob

February 3rd, 2011, 4:17 pm #1

Dylan,

I started a new thread instead of burying a new topic in a different discussion.

The east face of Mt Borah is split by a ridge and is approached from 2 different drainages. The first approach (from the Doublespring/Horseheaven road) is up Rock Creek (and no, it isn't the same Rock Creek you use to get to the north face.) The second approach goes up the drainage to the little lake that sits at the bottom of the east face.

Mike Weber and I are the only people I know who have attempted the face from the upper approach. First, we were almost taken out by a volkswagon sized rock while inspecting the start and later that night we got hammered by lightning and a flood. All the omens said "don't do this" so we bailed. The steep rock is good quality but it's split by bands of rubble benches that are maybe 50 degrees in angle. We went down and inspected the upper east face bench from the summit one time and it's a terrifying place to be. There's no pro at all and the entire rubble field wanted to slide off the edge with every move. After a close up look at what we'd have to climb over to do a direct ascent we threw in the towel and never tried it again.

In the Rock Creek drainage there is a grade II 5.2 Lymond Dye/W. Boyer route described in Tom's book (A Climbing Guide). This route has to tie into what is called the east ridge at some point because there is no other way to the summit from that side of the mountain. I have driven past this drainage at least a dozen times and even looked into from the lower east ridge but I don't remember what it looks like. I want to do this route this summer.
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Judi S
Judi S

February 3rd, 2011, 8:39 pm #2

For a visual of the terrain, here is a view of the EF of Borah from the low point on the ridge just south of Mountaineers Peak (Pk. 11,828 ft.):

http://tinyurl.com/EFBorah

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Wes
Wes

February 3rd, 2011, 8:59 pm #3

Another shot from Mountaineers summit with some snow, Is this the side you have your sights on?

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Joined: July 6th, 2010, 12:55 am

February 3rd, 2011, 11:25 pm #4

Yes, Wes, that is the side... Bob, I dont know if I will have the experience or the gear to attempt it with you this summer, but (at risk of sounding cliche) it would be an honor to attemp it with you.
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Bob
Bob

February 3rd, 2011, 11:34 pm #5

Another shot from Mountaineers summit with some snow, Is this the side you have your sights on?

Here's the description from page 274 - Idaho, A Climbing Guide

Climb the face from the notch on the northeast ridge (between the summit and point 12247). Climb to the notch from Rock Creek [(C)(1)], which is just to the north. The crux of the climb is the first 90-foot pitch out of the notch. The angle decreases and the holds improve above this pitch. First ascent: L. Dye and W, Boyer in 1962.

The northeast ridge in your photos looks possible but that's a mean looking east face from that angle. Point 12247 is the big false summit that you see from both the north and east side. It's the point to the right of the super buttress in my photo. All of the lower points on the ridge that goes to Rock Creek are below 12000' so I'm kind of stumped as to what this route description is referring to unless it is the ridge in my photo. If so, it sure looked harder than a 5.2 when I was up there.
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Joined: July 6th, 2010, 12:55 am

February 3rd, 2011, 11:40 pm #6

I am suprised that some of the chutes in those cliff bands don't hold snow.
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Wes
Wes

February 4th, 2011, 1:04 am #7

Bob, I've been down to the edge of the East face from the top of Borah and had the same vibe you got, It's a frightening place. I couldn't really see any of the face from where I stopped, it just looked like the end of earth. The description in Tom's guide has always made me wonder what Rock Creek Dye and Boyer climbed from. I've not been on the east face but everything I've seen in photos looks pretty steep.
I climbed the ridge from the saddle below point 12,247' and would agree the first rock band is easy class 5- but it had some snow that helped a little. The first pitch looked avoidable by making a traverse over toward the N. face and probably into some of the territory you descended after your N. face climb. Here's the link.
p.s. I'd definitely be interested in a climb from the east side of the mt.

http://www.summitpost.org/east-ridge/295435
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Bob
Bob

February 4th, 2011, 4:08 pm #8

Wes,

You may be right about the Dye/Boyer route using the standard Rock Creek approach. Either side of the east face is extreme territory. I always considered the east face cirque above the little lake as Idaho's version of the Eiger. The north face of Sacajawea being a close second. At any rate, we heard that Dye had climbed in the north face cirque and it may very well be that his description is the Rock Creek west (standard) approach to the face. His climbs were pretty well documented and I think he would have written something about the north face if he climbed it. We only heard about his 60s NF ascent by word of mouth and never in documentation. Then again some people hold on to their little private piece of Idaho forever when they find it so we'll have to guess.

It may be possible to traverse up the gritty looking benches from the Rock Creek (east) approach doing kind of a Canadian Rockie sort of line but those dirty benches spook me more than steep rock. A closer look is probably the only thing that would answer that. The entire north east ridge starting between Rock Creek and Mahogany Creek might be feasible. If you combined that with a descent of CO Ridge you'd have the longest traverse on the mountain. I'm game for poking around up there later this summer when the snow is off. My biggest question for going up there is, "are we taking your rig?".

Note: Our Breitenbach climb wouldn't have happened if we hadn't resolved the rig question. Each of us had beaten our vehicles up on this drive more than once. We argued about "whose turn it was to drive" until Curt solved the problem by "borrowing" a van from a source I will not mention to this day. Mahogany Creek was 20' wide and maybe 2 feet deep where we crossed it. All of us got out of the van except for Curt before he plunged down through the creek. I don't know what was so funny but we were laughing hard when the van first went up on 2 wheels and then was swept horizontal a few feet as he plowed across the deepest part of the creek. We made it both ways but it was close. We had lots of good Lost River ju-ju going for us on that trip.
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Wes
Wes

February 4th, 2011, 6:20 pm #9

It looks like Rock Creek [(C)(1)] starts on the West side of the mountain and Rock Creek [(C)(3.1)] starts on the East side. Its a little confusing because in my world, theyre both accessed by Double Springs Pass Road.
In any case, a look at the east side of the mountain sounds like the ticket. Id like to see the upper face (from the lake) with a little snow on it. Maybe we could make use of the recon, Ive always wanted to do the S.E. ridge and suspect it might take a little snow to unlock the last 200.
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Anonymous
Anonymous

February 4th, 2011, 7:43 pm #10

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