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.