Monad Peak

Summit Elevation (m): 2552
Trip Date: November 13 2016
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)
GPS Track: Gaia
MapGoogle Maps

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…

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. 

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! 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.
Raf and Lisa come down the south ridge of Monad.
Panorama looking south from the summit includes Monola at left, Cabin Ridge at center and Cyclamen Ridge at right.

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.

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.

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.

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