Time: 15 hrs, 25 minutes
We met Abe at the winter closure for Wild Basin Friday evening at 8400' and slept a few hours before our early start. We began hiking at 1:41 a.m. to make the most of the gloomy forecast and set out for the remote Isolation Peak.
We followed a packed trail for about 2 miles and then strapped our snowshoes for the untouched snow ahead.
We continued to follow the trail to Ouzel Falls. The bridge at the falls was demolished but we didn't have trouble crossing with the deep snow.
We planned to hang a left towards Ouzel Lake at the first trail junction after the falls but missed it in the dark and took the next junction which required a short but strenuous bushwhack through the trees to gain the base of the east ridge at around 9800'.
In the trees at first light
The snow depth eventually began to relent as we emerged from treeline and gained elevation on the ridge so we removed our snowshoes and stayed on top of the exposed talus for the remainder of the hike to the summit.
The most we saw of the sun
We ran into a herd of bighorn sheep on the ridge!
From the plateau at around 12500' we took a brief detour to the summit of Mahana Peak at 12632'. From Mahana we descended about 350' into basin above Isolation Lake and stashed our snowshoes before climbing the remaining 800' of aesthetic rime covered talus to the summit.
The boys on the summit of Mahana with Isolation ahead
Climbing the rime
We summited at 11:30 a.m; just under 10 hours from when had started that morning! The summit was an impressive, exposed block of boulders blanketed in rime. After a few celebratory photographs we began our long descent.
My 140th 13er!
The rime covered summit ridge
Exposure from the summit
We skirted the summit of Mahana and followed our tracks down the ridge, through the trees and back to the trail.
Following our tracks through the snow
In the heart of the bushwhack on the way down
Crossing back over the broken bridge at Ouzel Falls
We arrived back at the trail head at 5:04 p.m replete with aches and pains but happy to have been able to withstand the frigid temps and successfully day trip such a distant peak in winter conditions! Happy December!