Idaho has over 5,000 peaks with 300 feet or more of prominence and many more worthwhile peaks and formations that have less than 300 feet of prominence. However, Idaho has only nine ranked summits that lie above 12,000 feet. These peaks are collectively known as the “12ers.”
The nine Idaho 12ers are the most sought-after goals for Idaho climbers, led by Idaho’s highest peak, Mount Borah. While the 12ers are rivaled by many lesser Idaho peaks, in terms of aesthetics and climbing difficulty, the 12ers provide plenty of outstanding views and challenging routes. Climbing these peaks will test your mountaineering skills, your willpower, and your conditioning. Achieving all nine summits places you into a unique category of Idaho peak baggers.
There have been relatively few accidents resulting in death in Idaho mountaineering in general. However, four climbers have died while in pursuit of the 12ers, all in the Lost River Range. Please take the time to review the reports we have of these unfortunate accidents, and the additional risks discussed, via the Be Careful button below to prepare yourself for safe and enjoyable climbs of the 12ers.
Each of the Idaho 12ers has its own page. Mount Borah, as the highest and most popular peak, has several pages dedicated to it. One page covers its standard route, the Southwest “Chicken Out” Ridge, and the Route Overview page provides information and links to many of its other approaches. In the Climbing History section of the website (accessed from the menu bar at the top of the page), a search of the word “Borah” will bring up several pages that present notable aspects of the Peak’s history.
Additionally, here are a few interesting articles on other websites about the Idaho 12ers:
- Wes Collins’ excellent article on Climbing the 12ers in Winter.
- Pat McGrane’s article covering his 2007 traverse from Borah to No Regret Peak is an excellent read, The High Route to No Regret Peak.
- Kelly Lance’s self-propelled 2017 12er traverse: From Diamond Peak to Hyndman Peak.
- Steve Stuebner’s 2015 article about Irene Vogel’s Idaho 12er Quest.
- Luke Nelson’s account of his and Jared Campbell’s 2014 Record Setting Climb of all 12er Peaks.
Finally, Dan Robbins is keeping a Virtual Register of climbers who have summitted all the Idaho 12ers. Check out his 12er page and let him know when you complete all nine so he can add you to his list. But first, start your journey on the 12ers by clicking on the photos to read about each peak.