Kings and Borah Current Beta?

Kings and Borah Current Beta?

Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 8:13 pm

July 11th, 2009, 9:47 pm #1

Has anyone been up to Kings Peak (UT) and/or Borah Peak (ID) this summer?

I may end up with some vacation time to burn later in August and was musing on the possibility of a second attempt at Kings and/or Borah. The first time Nathan and I tried back in 2004, we were stormed off both peaks.

Specifically, on the approach hike to Kings, what is the condition of that miserable [expletive deleted] willow swamp a mile or two before you get to Dollar Lake?

Second, on Borah, what is the condition of the first snow bridge (if it's even there this year) just before Chicken-Out Ridge, and what is the condition of the second snow bridge between COR and the final summit ridge?

Finally, if this trip actually comes together, anyone interested in climbing either peak? I'll be at the convention, so will be available to discuss plans and schedules then.

If not Kings/Borah, I might even think about the "new and improved" Southwest Couloir route up Granite (MT). Not sure about logistics on that one...it's easy to fly to Salt Lake City as a jumping-off point for Kings/Borah but getting to MT may mean several days of driving and might nix that idea for this summer.
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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 8:13 pm

August 13th, 2009, 5:47 pm #2

Well, I've figured out when I can escape...I think...the plan for now is:

Fly to Salt Lake Sunday 8/23, drive up to Evanston, WY. Hike in to Dollar Lake 8/24, climb Kings 8/25, hike out and drive over to MacKay, ID, 8/26. If I'm energetic, scramble up to the ridge on Borah on 8/26, if not, do so on 8/27. Spend the night on the ridge and summit Borah on 8/27 or 8/28, drive back to Salt Lake on 8/28 and fly home on 8/29. Hopefully, I'll run into better weather than Nathan and I did back in 2004.

Anyone else going to be out in that neck of the woods the week of 8/24? I have a buddy for Kings but not for Borah and could flip-flop the sequence of the peaks if somebody wants to do Borah at the beginning of the week instead of the end of the week.

Looking to climb #43 and #44.
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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 8:13 pm

August 21st, 2009, 1:30 am #3

Has anyone been up to Kings Peak (UT) and/or Borah Peak (ID) this summer?

I may end up with some vacation time to burn later in August and was musing on the possibility of a second attempt at Kings and/or Borah. The first time Nathan and I tried back in 2004, we were stormed off both peaks.

Specifically, on the approach hike to Kings, what is the condition of that miserable [expletive deleted] willow swamp a mile or two before you get to Dollar Lake?

Second, on Borah, what is the condition of the first snow bridge (if it's even there this year) just before Chicken-Out Ridge, and what is the condition of the second snow bridge between COR and the final summit ridge?

Finally, if this trip actually comes together, anyone interested in climbing either peak? I'll be at the convention, so will be available to discuss plans and schedules then.

If not Kings/Borah, I might even think about the "new and improved" Southwest Couloir route up Granite (MT). Not sure about logistics on that one...it's easy to fly to Salt Lake City as a jumping-off point for Kings/Borah but getting to MT may mean several days of driving and might nix that idea for this summer.
"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you!"

Well, the weather up in Utah and Idaho is drop-dead gorgeous this week. But, look forward to next week in Evanston, WY, and the middle of next week in MacKay, ID, and things are, shall we say, a bit more interesting.

Nontheless, I'm committed (or should be). Air tickets bought, motel and rental car reserved. Meeting my hiking buddy in Evanston, WY, Monday a.m. to start the hike into Kings, then hoping to drive up into Idaho on Wednesday so I have one "down" day to relax in the thriving metropolis of MacKay before trying Borah toward the end of the week and flying home from Salt Lake on Saturday.

This same pattern held last September for Humphreys. Beautiful the week before but we had to hoof it up and down quickly to beat the t-storms that started about 11 a.m. over the San Francisco Peaks.

But, as always, a week in the mountains even without summits is way better than a week at work...
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:07 pm

August 21st, 2009, 5:51 am #4

Has anyone been up to Kings Peak (UT) and/or Borah Peak (ID) this summer?

I may end up with some vacation time to burn later in August and was musing on the possibility of a second attempt at Kings and/or Borah. The first time Nathan and I tried back in 2004, we were stormed off both peaks.

Specifically, on the approach hike to Kings, what is the condition of that miserable [expletive deleted] willow swamp a mile or two before you get to Dollar Lake?

Second, on Borah, what is the condition of the first snow bridge (if it's even there this year) just before Chicken-Out Ridge, and what is the condition of the second snow bridge between COR and the final summit ridge?

Finally, if this trip actually comes together, anyone interested in climbing either peak? I'll be at the convention, so will be available to discuss plans and schedules then.

If not Kings/Borah, I might even think about the "new and improved" Southwest Couloir route up Granite (MT). Not sure about logistics on that one...it's easy to fly to Salt Lake City as a jumping-off point for Kings/Borah but getting to MT may mean several days of driving and might nix that idea for this summer.
Good luck, Alan. If it's any consolation, 2 tries with bad weather on Gannett only made the whole experience better for us, in retrospect. If you get stormed off Kings though, i can give you some (only slightly longer) alternate ideas for your next try. If you have to go back, you might as well see different approaches to the mountain.
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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 8:13 pm

August 27th, 2009, 1:39 am #5

Has anyone been up to Kings Peak (UT) and/or Borah Peak (ID) this summer?

I may end up with some vacation time to burn later in August and was musing on the possibility of a second attempt at Kings and/or Borah. The first time Nathan and I tried back in 2004, we were stormed off both peaks.

Specifically, on the approach hike to Kings, what is the condition of that miserable [expletive deleted] willow swamp a mile or two before you get to Dollar Lake?

Second, on Borah, what is the condition of the first snow bridge (if it's even there this year) just before Chicken-Out Ridge, and what is the condition of the second snow bridge between COR and the final summit ridge?

Finally, if this trip actually comes together, anyone interested in climbing either peak? I'll be at the convention, so will be available to discuss plans and schedules then.

If not Kings/Borah, I might even think about the "new and improved" Southwest Couloir route up Granite (MT). Not sure about logistics on that one...it's easy to fly to Salt Lake City as a jumping-off point for Kings/Borah but getting to MT may mean several days of driving and might nix that idea for this summer.
Well, the weather around Kings wasn't bad but trying to go from 500' in St. Louis to 13,500' in two days is more than this old body can handle. We got to about 13,000' and decided that my pace had slowed so much (some nausea, just plain out of energy) that the summit wasn't to be had.

So, we came out today and I drove up to MacKay, ID, to give Borah a shot. Weather looks promising both tomorrow and Friday, so I'll stick to my plan of hiking up to the ridge tomorrow afternoon, camping there and getting an earlier shot at the summit on Friday.

We'll see...

Next time I try Kings, I'll plan on spending another day acclimating. Might just hike into Elkhorn Crossing and camp there for the night, then up to Dollar Lake. It isn't the distance involved, but the elevation gain going from home to the mountains. Sigh...such is life when you live in the flatlands where the highest point in the whole darn state si 1,772.68' (and that last 0.68' is the killer).

I did find a useful web cam that overlooks the Lost River Range. I'm not 100% certain but from the location of the camera, the tallest peak in the view is probably Borah. (You're looking from the west and that's not an area I've visited nor checked GPS bearings, so I can't be sure.)
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Joined: March 28th, 2005, 10:24 pm

August 28th, 2009, 4:30 am #6

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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 8:13 pm

August 29th, 2009, 2:55 am #7

Has anyone been up to Kings Peak (UT) and/or Borah Peak (ID) this summer?

I may end up with some vacation time to burn later in August and was musing on the possibility of a second attempt at Kings and/or Borah. The first time Nathan and I tried back in 2004, we were stormed off both peaks.

Specifically, on the approach hike to Kings, what is the condition of that miserable [expletive deleted] willow swamp a mile or two before you get to Dollar Lake?

Second, on Borah, what is the condition of the first snow bridge (if it's even there this year) just before Chicken-Out Ridge, and what is the condition of the second snow bridge between COR and the final summit ridge?

Finally, if this trip actually comes together, anyone interested in climbing either peak? I'll be at the convention, so will be available to discuss plans and schedules then.

If not Kings/Borah, I might even think about the "new and improved" Southwest Couloir route up Granite (MT). Not sure about logistics on that one...it's easy to fly to Salt Lake City as a jumping-off point for Kings/Borah but getting to MT may mean several days of driving and might nix that idea for this summer.
I bivvied on the ridge at about 10,000' so I could get an earlier start on Borah this a.m. Not a bad idea but actually didn't help...more about that in a sec.

Got up at 5:30, packed up my main pack and took off uphill with a day pack by headlamp by 6:15. Got to Chicken-Out Ridge by 7:15 with plenty of daylight by then. The first few hundred feet up and along went well but I hit a spot where there was a chute of smooth rock off to the right side of COR. Needed another foot of wingspan. There was a good ledge about 4' over but the last decent handhold was right at the left edge of the chute. Being up there solo, I decided discretion was the better part of valor and turned around at that point, after looking around for a better alternate and not finding one.

Funny thing is, on my way back down, I ran into a guy and we chatted a bit about what I had found and what spooked me. I mentioned that I had to head back to St. Louis in the a.m. He looks at me and says, "You aren't Alan Ritter, are you?" Turns out I had crossed paths with Steve Eckert, one of the guys who runs the climber.org web site out in California. I've known Steve via the 'net for over ten years but we had never met in person before this. Amazing! Anyway, Steve invited me to go back up with them and try again but by the time we got up to COR for the second time (I was already at least 1,000' downslope by the time I ran into Steve), it was getting close to my turnaround time and I decided I had better keep to my schedule of getting back to Salt Lake City at a decent time so I could re-pack everything and be ready for my 7:10 a.m. flight back to St. Louis.

Too bad I hadn't known that Steve was going to be up there today...I'd have planned accordingly and had some additional route-finding and support expertise along for the climb.

I'm also debating whether the effort of schlepping overnight gear up that first mile or so of 50% grade on Borah was really worth it. Now that I've been up there twice, I could easily see starting the trail in the dark with the plan of getting to COR early in the day. Coming back down that [expletive deleted] trail with a full pack was excruciatingly hard on the knees.

Oh, well...the important thing is that I followed Rule Number One of mountianeering: The summit is optional. Coming back in one piece is mandatory.
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 5:18 am

August 29th, 2009, 2:47 pm #8

"Oh, well...the important thing is that I followed Rule Number One of mountaineering: The summit is optional. Coming back in one piece is mandatory."

I've always preferred "a bad day in the mountains still beats a good day at work." I was rooting for you, Alan, but it sounds like you had a great trip even if you didn't tag the summits. I'd tell you to keep at it but I know that I don't have to preach persistence to the guy who made seven attempts at his namesake peak! Cheers.
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