By Michael Lanza

The zigzagging trail up the Southwest Ridge of Borah Peak, Idaho’s high point at 12,662 feet, rose above us on the almost barren mountainside and appeared to end abruptly where the ridge narrowed to a crest of jagged rock—the route’s crux, known as Chickenout Ridge. We reached the base of this stone fin, looked at each other, put our hands and feet onto a steep rock ramp and started up it.

On a pleasant weekend in August, my wife, Penny, and I set out to Dayhike Borah—an accomplishment that confers at least a small degree of bragging rights in certain circles in Idaho, where we live. More than that, though, it’s a tough but beautiful climb and a really good way to spend a day.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

A hiker heading toward Chickenout Ridge on Idaho’s 12,662-foot Borah Peak.
” data-image-caption=”My wife, Penny, hiking toward Chickenout Ridge on Idaho’s 12,662-foot Borah Peak.
” data-medium-file=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Borah1-009-Penny-Beach-hiking-toward-Chickenout-Ridge-on-the-Southwest-Ridge-route-up-Idahos-12662-foot-Borah-Peak..jpg?fit=300%2C210&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Borah1-009-Penny-Beach-hiking-toward-Chickenout-Ridge-on-the-Southwest-Ridge-route-up-Idahos-12662-foot-Borah-Peak..jpg?fit=900%2C628&ssl=1″ width=”900″ height=”628″ src=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Borah1-009-Penny-Beach-hiking-toward-Chickenout-Ridge-on-the-Southwest-Ridge-route-up-Idahos-12662-foot-Borah-Peak..jpg?resize=900%2C628&ssl=1″ alt=”A hiker heading toward Chickenout Ridge on Idaho’s 12,662-foot Borah Peak.” class=”wp-image-47150″ srcset=”https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Borah1-009-Penny-Beach-hiking-toward-Chickenout-Ridge-on-the-Southwest-Ridge-route-up-Idahos-12662-foot-Borah-Peak..jpg?resize=1024%2C715&ssl=1 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Borah1-009-Penny-Beach-hiking-toward-Chickenout-Ridge-on-the-Southwest-Ridge-route-up-Idahos-12662-foot-Borah-Peak..jpg?resize=300%2C210&ssl=1 300w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Borah1-009-Penny-Beach-hiking-toward-Chickenout-Ridge-on-the-Southwest-Ridge-route-up-Idahos-12662-foot-Borah-Peak..jpg?resize=768%2C536&ssl=1 768w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Borah1-009-Penny-Beach-hiking-toward-Chickenout-Ridge-on-the-Southwest-Ridge-route-up-Idahos-12662-foot-Borah-Peak..jpg?resize=150%2C105&ssl=1 150w, https://i2.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Borah1-009-Penny-Beach-hiking-toward-Chickenout-Ridge-on-the-Southwest-Ridge-route-up-Idahos-12662-foot-Borah-Peak..jpg?w=1200&ssl=1 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />My wife, Penny, hiking toward Chickenout Ridge on Idaho’s 12,662-foot Borah Peak.

Also known locally as Mount Borah, the peak ranks 11th on the list of state high points and one of just 12 that rise over 12,000 feet, and among the Gem State’s nine mountains that top 12,000 feet—seven of them neighbors of Borah in central Idaho’s remote Lost River Range, and one each in the Lemhi Range and Pioneer Mountains
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