NOT GETTING TO ISOLATION PEAK

Isolation Peak (13118 ft) is one of the more problematic destinations in Rocky Mountain National Park, just beyond the limit of a feasible day hike. The obvious strategy is to follow 6.3 miles of trail to Bluebird Lake and then to continue up a glacial valley past Lark Pond and Pippit Lake to Isolation Lake. From there, it's a steep climb over talus to the peak. Unfortunately, the valley has no end of bogs, krumholtz and cliffs, rapidly depleting your energy. These photographs show the valley on two of my unsuccessful attempts to get to the peak. Clearly, the area above Bluebird Lake is a worthy destination in its own right. The following year I resolved the Isolation Peak issue by climbing over Mahana Peak to reach the pass above Isolation Lake directly. From there, the peak didn't seem so intimidating. The down side is that I had to descend the valley to get home. Having no choice is a good motivation.

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