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)
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 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.
[Our views earlier in the day from the summit of Isola Peak looking towards Monad at center. Click for our approximate traverse route line. ++]
From the summit of Isola, we'd noticed a few cutblocks 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!
[On our traverse from Isola Peak we encountered this easy cliff band. Monad Peak in the distance with interesting clouds mimicking it's ridge above.]
[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.]
[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. ++]
[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.]
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 on the ridge of Monad with Isola just right of center and Lisa coming up the east face below. Monola at far right. ++]
[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.]
[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.]
[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 in the far distance. ++]
[More great views back along the north ridge of Monad. Our ascent route comes up the slopes 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.
[Nearing the summit of Monad with Cabin Ridge (Twin Peaks) looking impressive to the south.]
[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. ++]
[Cabin Ridge lies to the south.]
[Lisa and Raf high five.]
[Looking northwest over the north end of Monad towards Mount Armstrong.]
[Sugarloaf Lookout is snow covered. Cyclamen Ridge at right foreground.]
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 tha 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.
[Geoff is off running again!]
[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 south ridge mellows out just before we dropped down the eastern side.]
[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.]
[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.]
[Raf 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.]
[There goes Geoff - running again!]
[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?]
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.
[On the drive home, just as we dropped down from Windy Gap, the super moon rose over the foothills.]
Mostly hiking with a short step on the east face on ascent. The most difficult part of the day was not blowing off the summit!