Isabelle Peak

elevation: 2,938 m. height gain: 1,535 m.
area: Kootenay Park,BC map 82 N/1
2015-Aug-02


Ref: Alan Kane's Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies
isabelle's access


Isabelle Peak's access, leaving the trail behind.
Scramble: RT 13.0; 6.0 up. Every time I looked at pictures of Isabelle's crux, I got nervous and put off trying the scramble. Nothing's changed over time, I'm still nervous; just an average scrambler on the best of days, my curiosity has grown I suppose. When I mentioned Isabelle Peak to Fabrice, he replied: let's go check it out, you won't know if you can do it until you're there! I still hesitated... Fabrice offered to bring a short rope and some gear; feeling reassured, I finally committed to the objective. The trailhead was busy with cars but we didn't see anybody on Hawk Creek trail. The open access gully was easy to locate and climbing it wasn't bad. Even if it was warm and the sun was overhead, a light breeze kept us cool. I enjoyed the waterworn stairway of rock before the gully becomes rugged. Higher up, we weren't exactly sure where to go and followed the path of least resistance to the ridge. Minimal cairns were spotted along the way, the steep loose terrain might have something to do with that. We continued on the ridge and eventually traversed below the crest. I already felt uneasy, perhaps the anticipation of difficult and exposed terrain was intimidating me... The crux gully appeared impossible for me but as we approached the challenging section, I started thinking maybe I could try! I went ahead of Fab and tackled the short vertical bit while he secured my foot on the rock and pushed my bum. The easier terrain beyond the crux was steeper than I anticipated, I remained quite uptight about my situation and followed Fab tentatively. By the time we gained the top of the gully, I'd calmed down; the summit was within reach. I wasn't able to thoroughly enjoy my summit stay, the thought of going down made me nervous. We knew we would use the rope and Fab already had a plan; still, he had to rig up anchors and we had yet to see how easy that would be... The stellar weather was in our favour, we would be able to descend slowly on dry rock. Without lingering for too long, we started down. In the gully, we proceeded to a wide ledge Fab had spotted earlier, he secured my descent to the small nook above the short vertical crux and downclimbed to me. He repeated the operation and I reached the bottom of the crux. Fab came down and I felt instant relief. We backtracked and carried on to the access gully where we took a more relaxed break before treeline and mosquitoes. I have to say that this scramble was a little more than what I bargained for but I'm really glad I pushed myself. I'm especially proud of Fab who guided me with great care, kudos and thank you hun!
up a gully

Going up a gully to reach the upper mountain.

natural staircase

Walking on a delightful natural staircase of waterworn rock.

higher up

Trending climber's right higher up.

east ridge


Reaching Isabelle's east ridge.


wildlife


You can hear me but you can't see me!


traversing to the crux


We start traversing from the ridge towards the crux.


following a crude trail


Following a crude trail and some cairns.


below the crux


Below the crux gully.


lets give this a try


Scrambling to the crux, lets give this a try.


crux ahead


Fabrice scrutinizes the crux on the upper right.


looking down the crux


Looking down the crux from a small nook.


nearing the summit ridge


Nearing the summit ridge, travel is easier.


summit block


Summit block.


going around


Going around the south side.


oh boy, i made it


Oh boy, I made it!


south-eastern view


South-eastern view with Mount Assiniboine in the distance.


heading back


Heading back.


upper gully


Upper gully.


it gets steeper


It gets steeper.


loose and exposed


The terrain is loose and exposed.


safety first!


Opting for safety on the way down!


another belay


Another belay while I downclimb the crux.


down the crux


Fabrice coming down the crux.


backtracking


Backtracking.


traversing


Traversing past difficulties.


back on the ridge


Back on the ridge.


access gully


The access gully is easy after the terrain higher up!


fantastic staircase


Fantastic staircase.
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