On Sunday, November 18 2012 I joined Bill Kerr, Dave Salahub and Kevin Papke on a snow slog up an unnamed peak to the south of Isola. Dave decided to call the peak "S.O. Isola or Monola" in order to satisfy Kev's requirement of an 'official' summit. (Since then the peak has been named a more fitting name, Monola, due to it's location between Isola and Monad Peaks.)
Monola isn't particularly difficult. We managed to cross the river in our 4x4's on the blue bridge and drove all the way up the approach road on 4-6" of fresh snow. We even drove a couple hundred meters down the ATV trail until the track dropped down - we stopped on top of this drop. On hindsight when you get to the obvious clearing it's best to stop rather than follow the narrow track into the trees beyond.
We walked in on fresh ATV tracks for a long way, trending towards the col between Monola and Monad Peak. Finally the tracks ran out and we broke out the snow shoes and made tracks up the treed slopes on the NW end of the mountain. The day started out with heavy flurries and I actually turned around 3 times on the way up the peak, I just wasn't in the mood for a dreary summit. Adding to my lack of energy and will power was 80-100km/hr winds near the summit! Somehow I drudged on until it was almost pointless to NOT bag the summit.
[Trudging up the ATV trail]
[The snow flurries didn't boost my enthusiasm on this particular day...]
[On snow shoes now, and heading back east to the summit slopes]
I drove my own vehicle in order to have some flexibility (I initially wanted to tag Monad Peak too) so I went ahead of the other three guys once we broke out the snow shoes. I managed (barely) to take some summit photos and even saw a bunch of sheep on the summit ridge.
The wind on the summit was so strong that my camera almost blew out of my hands and my poles kept blowing horizontally into the photos. The views to the west were awesome, the weather had cleared by now.
[Note the blowing snow and I'm in the trees still! There are a bunch of larches around the pass between Monola and Monad that would make for nice photos in the fall. There'd be less chance of 100km/h wind with blowing snow too.]
[Looking towards Cyclamen Ridge to the south.]
[Where all the sheep go when the hunters are driving around in their trucks - 10km from here!!]
[The wind is still fierce but at least the views are starting to open up a bit]
[View towards Monad Peak from the west slopes of Monola. ++]
[The bump on upper left isn't quite the summit - but close]
[Looking east to Coffin Mountain (right) and Livingstone (left) which I did in 2009 as part of our 5 peak traverse from Coffin to Wind Mountain. I know where Wind got it's name from...]
[Looking south to Cyclamen (right) and Cabin (left) ridges. ++]
[Looking west from the summit. Cabin Ridge at left and part of Monad at right. ++]
[Dave comes up the ridge. Monad at center. ++]
[Looking towards Isola Peak.]
[Kev and Dave looking east at Coffin and Livingstone Mountains.]
[The boyz head for the summit. I head down. Already been there!]
[Looking back at the guys going up the peak. ++]
I rapidly descended, only stopping briefly to let the other three know that I was heading back to the truck and going home ahead of them. On the way down I took a shortcut gully and made short work of the track back. I really should have tagged Isola - the south slopes were completely bare of snow - but I didn't have the energy. I'll be back on my bike to do Monad and I'll summit Isola then. There are lots of larches at the Monad / Monola pass that are begging me to come back in September some time.
[My tracks descending the alternate gully.]
[I was briefly tempted to go up Isola but I'll do it on a nicer day.]
[On the drive home along my favorite highway - #22! ++]