Peak(s):  Isolation Peak  -  13,118 feet
Date Posted:  09/01/2019
Date Climbed:   08/31/2019
Author:  trkl9
 Isolation Peak - Wild Basin   

I am new to posting trip reports on here but would love to share some of my adventures with you all. Besides the classic 14er hikes, I have become increasingly interested in climbing the 13ers of RMNP. Isolation peak is my 3rd 13er in the park this summer and an epic hike would be an understatement to say the least. Along with the other two (which I plan on writing a trip reports for) I summited this one solo.

Distance: 16.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 4,525 feet

Start: 5:00 AM from the Wild Basin TH

The first 4-5ish miles of my hike were relatively uneventful, mostly walking in the dark with glimpses of an amazing sunrise looking eastward through the trees. I encountered two other guys near the trailhead but did not see anyone else from that point forward until my descent. Trail was full of color and flora that I need to become more familiar with to make my hikes more interesting. (If the views weren't enough, right?)


Trail up to bluebird lake with Copeland Mountain in the background

By the time I got to Bluebird lake (over 6 miles in) the sun was out if full force and I could not have asked for better weather. This was a lake that I have been wanting to get to but at this point I was too focused on getting to the summit that I didn't spend much time taking in the views. A quick picture and then onward towards my destination.


Bluebird Lake looking west towards Ouzel peak and the continental divide.


Bluebird Lake looking back east

I skirted the northern side of bluebird towards Lark Pond.


Lark Pond looking toward the southwest.

Route finding became fun at this point as there was no trail or cairns to follow. Just me and my GPS. Up the north side of the Lark Pond there is mixed vegetation that can be difficult to make your way around. I found that following up towards the northern most side has much less vegetation and easier terrain.


The previous two pictures are the terrain after Lark Pond. The second of the two has the first glimpse of Isolation Peak. I continued up the tundra towards Isolation Lake. Don't miss out on views towards the south of Pipit Lake which is just west of Lark Pond. I did not picture Pipit here. You may actually visit the lake fairly easily on this trail but I chose not to today, the view from a distance was alright with me. As I approached Isolation Lake, a scramble would be required but it was short lived and nothing more than some easy class 2 boulder scrambling.


Scramble up towards Isolation Lake. Good view of Isolation peak in the background.


After the short scramble, Isolation lake came into view as well as the remainder of my climb. Isolation peak is the modest peak on the left hand side of the picture above.


Isolation Lake looking back south and east towards Ouzel Peak.


The picture above shows what is left of the climb to the summit. This was a long and strenuous climb up class 2+/class 3 rock. Isolation peak smack-dab in the middle with a little less that 1,000 feet of elevation gain left.


Isolation Lake looking back about 1/4 of the way up.


Good view of the boulder scrambling required about halfway up the final push.


Made it to the summit at 9:48 AM. Views at the top were spectacular (as anticipated). Views of Copeland Mountain, Isolation Lake, Pipit Lake, Lark pond and the Wild Basin area south and west of the summit (1st pic). Long's and Meeker were looking as mighty as ever with views of Chief's Head and Mount Alice as well (2nd pic). I could have posted my whole photo album from the top but chose to keep it simple. Spent about 20 minutes at the top and enjoyed the summit views with a snack and some energy chews.

As usual, the descent seemed to never end, but I took my time and enjoyed each lake for about 10-15 minutes each. Weather held up perfectly all the way down. Saw the first other hikers of the day at the base of bluebird lake on the descent. Total time just over 9 hours from start to finish.

Takeaways from this hike: 1) The 13ers of RMNP are remote and not easy to get to. 2) These climbs require more endurance and skill than most of the 14er routes I have done thus far (which isn't saying much as I have only summited 9). 3) Summiting all 13ers in the park is probably my primary goal now.

Looking forward to continuing my adventures in the mountains with the rest of the short summer we have left in the Rockies this season!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Comments or Questions
Nice report...
09/02/2019 07:38
and photos. Yeah those RMNP 13ers make your earn it.
Keep up the good work and thanks for posting.

Well Done
09/02/2019 08:13
Thanks for sharing the trip report. This route remains a favorite of mine. Keep it up

worth it
10/14/2019 11:06
well done

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