Isabelle Peak
After dropping Kelly Wood off at the Floe Lake trail head in Kootenay National Park on 21 August 2005 (she was embarking on a solo backpack trip of the famous Rockwall Trail), I decided not to let the nice day go to waste by scrambling up Isabelle Peak on the opposite side of the highway.  A late start guaranteed that I would be hiking out in the dark, but I wasn't overly worried since the Hawk Creek approach trail is well-graded and easy to follow even without a headlamp.  Nevertheless, the lengthy approach combined with the hot weather proved quite tiresome (scrambling Mount Stephen the day before didn't help either), and were it not for a cool, refreshing breeze on the upper mountain, I might never have reached the summit.

I had two mishaps on this trip, both probably due to mental and physical fatigue.  The first mishap embarrassingly occurred just metres from the summit cairn when I began my descent.  My right foot got stuck in a crack, and I flipped onto my back.  Luckily, my daypack cushioned my fall, but I ended up in a most awkward position with my head pointed down-slope and my right foot twisted around and still jammed in the crack.  For a few moments, I was completely helpless as I couldn't shift my weight to release my right foot (it's amazing that I didn't twist my knee or ankle).  I was about to try untying my bootlace when my foot suddenly came free.  Lots of cursing followed.  The second mishap occurred later on while I was on the trail that is "easy to follow even without a headlamp".  I was cruising along at a fast clip when I suddenly tripped over a small rock sending me crashing head over heels into some deadfall beside the trail.  I banged my left knee pretty good in the process.  More cursing followed.

My round-trip time was a little less than 9.5 hours.
It's a long way in before any real scrambling starts. This is the upper valley of Hawk Creek.
It's best to stay in the middle of the gully for the ascent.  Looser terrain adjacent to the gully is better for the descent. This is the first clear view of Isabelle Peak from the trail.  The scramble route is shown.  Note that the summit is not visible here.
It's more challenging coming down than going up. The terrain gets steeper on the upper mountain.
It's getting late, but there is still a lot of work left. Sonny climbs out of the initial access gully.
Egads!  Is this ever a long scramble! This is the view of the crux (C) and summit (S) from lower down on the ridge.
As usual, the crux is steep, but the rock is solid. Sonny scrambles up the crux.
That cornice at far right looks sorta like an eagle's head. Sonny marches across a small plateau toward the summit block.
The GemTrek topo map lists Isabelle Peak as being 3093 metres!  Somehow I doubt it. Sonny reclines on the 2938-metre summit of Isabelle Peak. easy way up Mount Ball on this side! Mount Ball dominates the view to the north.
Looks like some good ridge walking there! Hawk Ridge stretches away to the southeast toward Mount Assiniboine (on horizon at far left).
No short cuts here! These are some of the cliffs guarding the lower flanks of Isabelle Peak.
Kinda eerie hiking through here, especially in the dark! Most of the trees in the lower valley of Hawk Creek stand as silent testament to the wildfires that swept through the area in the summer of 2003.