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View Full Version : Route for Isolation - Glen Boulder or Rocky Branch?



Jeff&Henry
08-23-2012, 11:59 AM
Is the consensus that the Glen Boulder route is a much better way to do Isolation -- with nice exposed ridgeline walk, but about 1,500 more climb than Rocky Branch?

Is it worth it?

I've never done Rocky Branch, and there appears to be some strong opinions about the trail (dislike, that is...) and I'm curious whether the shorter distance (via Glen Boulder) with substantially more climb is a more enjoyable day?

Opinions welcome!

Thanks.

JW

NH Tramper
08-23-2012, 12:36 PM
When I hiked Isolation I went in via Glen Boulder and back out via Rocky Branch. No regrets whatsoever. If I were to take only one trail, though, I'd take Glen Boulder. I feel it's worth the extra effort.

Mike P.
08-23-2012, 12:53 PM
It's personal preference.

I've yet to do it by Glen boulder (4 X Rocky Branch) but for me an extra 1500 feet of elevation gain is pretty significant. With many trips in the presidentials, 1500 feet of gain for a bit of an alpine walk on the side of Mt. Washington isn't worth it. (I'd do Ike & Pierce of Franconia Ridge for the above treeline walk if that was what I was looking for:D)

My other reason for skipping Glen boulder (besides the 1500 feet & being fat & out of shape :o) is that the view from Isolation is really nice, one of the best from a summit. IMO, for me, after walking a bit above treeline, in my mind, the Isolation view would just be another view on the trip instead of the main view.

While I'm a self proclaimed, view junkie, the Rocky Branch approach is more interesting to me than the Owl's Head walk up to the base of the slide, or the Lincoln Woods approach to Bondcliff. More wow factor on Bonds & in Isolation's case their is a view, Owl's Head is just the back of Franconia Notch (I like the F-Ridge view from the OBP better) & in some spots a partial view from the trail above the summit. My next Isolation trip I think will be all Davis Path. Been as far as Giant Stairs, curious to explore the part in between & see the view from Mt. Davis.

marnof
08-23-2012, 12:55 PM
I went in on Glen Boulder and out Rocky Branch, and got a ride back to my car (last year). Highly recommended. Rocky Branch wasn't all that nasty and wet, IMO. It was actually a really fast trail to descend. I can't comment on the out-and-back via Glen Boulder, though, and the extra climb on the way out that would entail.

DougPaul
08-23-2012, 02:27 PM
Just to add to the confusion :) I went in and out via Ammo Ravine Trail. Lots of above T-line and a bit longer* and a bit more vertical, but no difficulties with stream crossings or navigation.

* The hike was longer, but the drive was shorter--I drove up Rte 93 from eastern MA.

John in NH just did the same--his trip report is at http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?46090-Isolation-via-Ammo-out-and-back-exploring-Washington-s-lawns-and-ridges-8-19-12

Doug

Lefty E
08-23-2012, 04:18 PM
I like the Rocky Branch in and return for the main reason of making good time, and not being as tired after finishing...have done Glen Boulder in and also out, was much more tired than just Rocky Branch..Mike P. has valid point for seeing view from summit...have used the bushwack once but that was in winter...never had an issue with the crossings either..

eddie
08-23-2012, 04:19 PM
Just piling on... I've gone up Tuckerman to tag Washington, down to Monroe, then Camel to Davis Path to Isolation and out Rocky Branch. We had two cars. It's nice to tag a peak essentially going downhill.

KRobi
08-23-2012, 07:45 PM
If it's a bluebird day up Glen Boulder to Davis Path is well worth the extra elevation. We came out RB and hitched back. (Hitchhiking note: If you can't get a ride from someone in the RB parking lot it is tough to get a ride on 16. Cars are coming around a corner and going 50+.) Only time I've had a problem getting a ride. You may have better luck.

TDawg
08-23-2012, 08:22 PM
I recently did the trip with a bike spot at the the Glen Boulder trailhead, locked it to a tree off in the woods.

Up Rocky Branch to Iso, then up Davis and down Glen Boulder. I really enjoyed the 95% downhill bike ride at the end of the day and was back at the GB trailhead to pick up the girlfriend in 10-15 minutes.

RollingRock
08-23-2012, 09:54 PM
I've done both. I prefer Rocky Branch simply because it makes a hike a bit different from the rest. To me it provides a bit of Isolation which is what the peak is all about. I really do enjoy all the stream crossings...again something different. But above all, you do this long walk and the very end...pop up on Mt. Isolation for the payoff... magnificent views in a wilderness setting. PRICELESS :)

wardsgirl
08-23-2012, 10:11 PM
I take the Davis Path from Notchland to Isolation, head down Isolation West, pick up Dry River Cutoff and head out via Webster Cliff Trail.

It's only a short road-walk or hitch back to Notchland.

:D

mtruman
08-25-2012, 10:03 AM
A bit late adding my voice here, but we've been in the mountains the last couple of days :)

We had definitely intended to do the Glen Boulder route when we did Isolation last month and then changed out minds at the last minute and did Rocky Branch. At least on the day that we had it was a great choice. Here's our story: http://theramblingsblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/finding-bit-of-isolation.html I definitely want to go back someday and do it via Glen Boulder (and some of the other routes mentioned here sound great as well). Most of all, I want to experience it in the winter with the walk through the birch glades on the bushwhack. Definitely a great "little" peak!

Jeff&Henry
08-25-2012, 03:25 PM
Is the consensus that the Glen Boulder route is a much better way to do Isolation -- with nice exposed ridgeline walk, but about 1,500 more climb than Rocky Branch?

Is it worth it?

I've never done Rocky Branch, and there appears to be some strong opinions about the trail (dislike, that is...) and I'm curious whether the shorter distance (via Glen Boulder) with substantially more climb is a more enjoyable day?

Opinions welcome!

Thanks.

JW

Thanks to all for the advice. We ended up taking Rocky Branch, and while the first climb wasn't fun, it was an enjoyable day. Looks for my trip report Ina couple days...staying in the
mountains one more day to tackle Carrigain tomorrow!

Bob Kittredge
08-26-2012, 03:50 PM
If you go in Rocky Branch, then when you get to Iso the view seems excellent.

If you go via Glen Boulder, the view at Iso will pale in comparison to what you had up above treeline. Also it seems a bit weird to bag a 4K by climbing to 5300' and descending to it.

Tim Seaver
08-26-2012, 04:40 PM
If you go via Glen Boulder, the view at Iso will pale in comparison to what you had up above treeline. Also it seems a bit weird to bag a 4K by climbing to 5300' and descending to it.

This is true.

http://www.vermontphoto.com/wildwhites/Davis-Path-Near-Slide-Peak_0225.jpg

Lefty E
08-26-2012, 07:47 PM
That pic captures it pretty well!! 8-25 may not have been a particularly great view day, so pick a blue bird day and go up Boott Spur, down Davis Path to Glen Boulder Trail and out back to Pinkham via Diretissima (or vice versa)...