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Monad Peak

Summit Elevation (m): 2552
Elevation Gain (m): 1180
Round Trip Time (hr): 7
Total Trip Distance (km): 16
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: No difficulties on the hiking route. The hardest part of the day was driving across the Livingstone River on approach and not blowing over in the winds at the summit. Note: We combined Isola Peak with Monad Peak for the stats and difficulties indicated.
Technical Rating: OT5; YDS (Hiking)
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After summitting Isola in some strong and cold west winds, we turned our attention to Monad Peak, lying to the west and slightly south of Isola. Considering our heavy philosophical discussions of the day, “Monad” is appropriately named after a fascinating Pythagorean world view that was steeped in a cosmology of mathematics where the world is seen as existing solely on the backs of numbers. I could actually get behind this theory! OK – don’t get me started… 😉

Looking at the northerly route line, note the cutblocks we took advantage of after descending the easy west ridge of Isola towards Monad Peak.
The rolling terrain took us by surprise but wasn’t terrible. This is the last drop towards Monad. Note the mirroring of the clouds with Monad’s long ridge? We aimed for the shallow col between the two highpoints, just left of center.

The first order of the day was descending the west ridge of Isola. Despite not having any beta on it, this ridge was very easy. The scrambling was easy with only a few low cliff bands to descend, interspersed with nice, fast scree runs. As soon as we arrived near the bottom of the ridge, the wind was blocked and we enjoyed a nice lunch before turning our attention back towards Monad Peak. 

Breaking through the easy cliffs along our way to Monad Peak.

Interesting Facts on Monad Peak 

Named according to the isolation theme of the area. The word monad comes from the Greek word for “one”, “single”, or “unique” and has had many meanings in different contexts in philosophy, mathematics, computing and music. (from bivouac.com)


From the summit of Isola, we’d noticed a few cut-blocks lying between Isola and Monad and we planned to use them on our traverse. Geoff did a great job route finding and Lisa and I continued our grand discussions behind him. The terrain was rolling and we ended up dipping and cresting a few small ridges and crossing a large ATV track before finally grunting up very steep treed and grassy slopes to the upper cliff band on Monad’s long summit ridge. As Geoff and I kicked steps up the moderate cliff band, we noticed a figure off in the distance on the summit – Raf was there!

Isola and Monad Peak Route Map

As we expected, a very stiff wind greeted us as we swung our legs over the edge of the east face of Monad and stood on its broad summit ridge. Geoff and I did a quick detour to the high point on the north end of the ridge before returning and starting the traverse towards the true summit to the south where Raf was braving the cold winds and waiting for us.

Geoff and Lisa come up to the summit. Pasque at left and Plateau at right in the distance.

It turned out that Raf was waiting for 1.5 hours for us to finish our detour from Isola – but he was bundled up nice and warm so wasn’t turning blue just yet. The weather was turning as we quickly took photos at the summit before continuing south along the ridge to the place where Raf broke through the bands and ascended nice easy slopes earlier. I was especially impressed with the view of Cabin Ridge from Monad. The turning weather provided some nice moody shots as the group balanced along the ridge in strong winds.

Raf and Lisa come down the south ridge of Monad.

Dropping off the ridge to the east was a sublime relief from the relentless, cold, west wind. We continued down easy slopes, eventually meeting up with an ATV road which we followed down to Raf’s abandoned bike on somewhat icy, muddy tracks. The hike out along the road was fast, if a bit icy in sections, until we arrived at the dual-creek junction that Bob talks about in his Isola trip report. Here, the flood damage from 2013 was very evident but we managed to simply walk through the shallow water with no issues and continued down the road to the waiting truck.

Isola Peak.

Without the cold winds and waning daylight, I’m sure Lisa, Geoff and Raf would have tacked Monola to the day for a nice three peak effort. I would strongly recommend combining at least Isola and Monad if you’re in the area anyway. The two peaks make for a very nice loop and aren’t much more than hiking, depending how you break through the small cliffs on Monad. With energy and daylight, Monola would complete a very nice, three peak day with some pretty good mid-front range views.

Monad Peak
45 photos
Geoff kicks shallow steps up a gully on the east face of Monad.
Geoff kicks shallow steps up a gully on the east face of Monad.
A great look back at Isola Peak with Speke (Coffin) Mountain at right.
A great look back at Isola Peak with Speke (Coffin) Mountain at right.
Lisa wisely puts her micro-spikes on for the slick east face slopes of Monad.
Lisa wisely puts her micro-spikes on for the slick east face slopes of Monad.
Geoff comes up the east face slopes of Monad with Isola (C), Monola (C-R) and Monad (R) in the background.
Geoff comes up the east face slopes of Monad with Isola (C), Monola (C-R) and Monad (R) in the background.
The angle of the east face steepens near the ridge crest and is guarded by a low cliff band that runs almost the entire east face along the ridge.
The angle of the east face steepens near the ridge crest and is guarded by a low cliff band that runs almost the entire east face along the ridge.
Cabin Ridge (Twin Peak) pokes up over the east face of Monad. Raf is just barely visible on the summit at center.
Cabin Ridge (Twin Peak) pokes up over the east face of Monad. Raf is just barely visible on the summit at center.
Lisa comes up the east face in this view from part way up the low cliffs.
Lisa comes up the east face in this view from part way up the low cliffs.
Geoff on the ridge of Monad with Isola just right of center and Lisa coming up the east face below. Monola at far right.
Geoff on the ridge of Monad with Isola just right of center and Lisa coming up the east face below. Monola at far right.
Looking north along Monad's ridge from the northern high point towards Pasque and Plateau.
Looking north along Monad's ridge from the northern high point towards Pasque and Plateau.
Pasque Mountain lies just to the northwest of Monad's north summit.
Pasque Mountain lies just to the northwest of Monad's north summit.
Looking over an outlier ridge of Pasque (L) towards Burke in the far distance over the shoulder of Plateau Mountain.
Looking over an outlier ridge of Pasque (L) towards Burke in the far distance over the shoulder of Plateau Mountain.
A great shot of Lisa on the ridge with Cabin Ridge in the distance and the summit of Monad Peak rising above.
A great shot of Lisa on the ridge with Cabin Ridge in the distance and the summit of Monad Peak rising above.
Part of the broken ridge traverse as we work our way up to the summit of Monad where Raf awaits patiently.
Part of the broken ridge traverse as we work our way up to the summit of Monad where Raf awaits patiently.
A great view back along Monad's north ridge (R) at Lisa and Geoff with another very nice ridge stretching out at left pointing towards Pasque Mountain
A great view back along Monad's north ridge (R) at Lisa and Geoff with another very nice ridge stretching out at left pointing towards Pasque Mountain
More great views back along the north ridge of Monad. Our ascent route comes up the slopes at right.
More great views back along the north ridge of Monad. Our ascent route comes up the slopes at right.
Nearing the summit of Monad with Cabin Ridge (Twin Peaks) looking impressive to the south.
Nearing the summit of Monad with Cabin Ridge (Twin Peaks) looking impressive to the south.
Geoff and Lisa come up to the summit. Pasque at left and Plateau at right in the distance.
Geoff and Lisa come up to the summit. Pasque at left and Plateau at right in the distance.
The west ridge of Monad would make for a nice ramble.
The west ridge of Monad would make for a nice ramble.
Panorama looking south from the summit includes Monola at left, Cabin Ridge at center and Cyclamen Ridge at right.
Panorama looking south from the summit includes Monola at left, Cabin Ridge at center and Cyclamen Ridge at right.
Cabin Ridge lies to the south.
Cabin Ridge lies to the south.
Lisa and Raf high five.
Lisa and Raf high five.
Isola at left, Livingstone and Coffin at center and right. Our exit valley along Isolation Creek at center bottom.
Isola at left, Livingstone and Coffin at center and right. Our exit valley along Isolation Creek at center bottom.
Hailstone Butte.
Hailstone Butte.
Looking northwest over the north end of Monad towards Mount Armstrong.
Looking northwest over the north end of Monad towards Mount Armstrong.
Sugarloaf Lookout is snow covered. Cyclamen Ridge at right foreground.
Sugarloaf Lookout is snow covered. Cyclamen Ridge at right foreground.
Looking east off the summit towards Isola and Monola.
Looking east off the summit towards Isola and Monola.
Geoff is off running again!
Geoff is off running again!
Raf and Lisa come down the south ridge of Monad.
Raf and Lisa come down the south ridge of Monad.
Looking east off the south ridge towards Isola, Livingstone and Monola with interesting Chinook clouds above.
Looking east off the south ridge towards Isola, Livingstone and Monola with interesting Chinook clouds above.
The ridge is a bit exposed if you stay right on the eastern edge.
The ridge is a bit exposed if you stay right on the eastern edge.
Mount Lyall
Mount Lyall
The south ridge mellows out just before we dropped down the eastern side.
The south ridge mellows out just before we dropped down the eastern side.
The south ridge mellows out just before we dropped down the eastern side.
The south ridge mellows out just before we dropped down the eastern side.
Dropping down the east face - easy scrambling.
Dropping down the east face - easy scrambling.
Cabin Ridge was the most dramatic view we had all day.
Cabin Ridge was the most dramatic view we had all day.
Raf is delighted to finally be out of the cold west winds as we traverse down towards Isolation Creek.
Raf is delighted to finally be out of the cold west winds as we traverse down towards Isolation Creek.
Hiking down the ATV approach road towards Isola on slick mud / ice.
Hiking down the ATV approach road towards Isola on slick mud / ice.
We came from the right hand branch here - Raf is just retrieving his bike.
We came from the right hand branch here - Raf is just retrieving his bike.
af throws his bike down a gnarly section of road. His bike paid him back for the abuse with a flat tire later on... ;)
af throws his bike down a gnarly section of road. His bike paid him back for the abuse with a flat tire later on... 😉
Raf stays ahead of us on his bike, Isola looms above him here.
Raf stays ahead of us on his bike, Isola looms above him here.
There goes Geoff - running again!
There goes Geoff - running again!
This section of Isolation Creek is along a washed out section of the road.
This section of Isolation Creek is along a washed out section of the road.
On ascent we passed a ton of these multi-colored ribbons. This doesn't seem very environment-friendly but maybe they're biodegradable?
On ascent we passed a ton of these multi-colored ribbons. This doesn't seem very environment-friendly but maybe they're biodegradable?
On the drive home, just as we dropped down from Windy Gap, the super moon rose over the foothills.
On the drive home, just as we dropped down from Windy Gap, the super moon rose over the foothills.

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