Izzy Bird, baggage
Izzy Bird, purple prose

Izzy Bird, some snow

Isabella is being hauled up Long’s Peak by Jim.

“… I should never have gone halfway had not Jim, nolens volens,* dragged me along with patience and skill, and withal a determination I should ascend the Peak, which never failed…slipping, faltering, gasping from the exhausting toil in the rarefied air, with throbbing hearts and panting lungs, we reached the top of the gorge and squeezed ourselves between two gigantic fragments of rock called the ‘Dog’s Lift,’ when I climbed on the shoulders of one man and then was hauled up.”

It gets more harrowing from there, so much so that even Ring, the dog, chose to sit it out. He remained at the Lift and howled piteously. When Isabella and crew finally made it to the top, the view made it all worthwhile.

“There were snow patches, snow slashes, snow abysses, snow forlorn and soiled looking, snow pure and dazzling, snow glistening*** above the purple robe of pine worn by all the mountains; while away to the east, in limitless breadth, stretched the green-grey of the endless Plains.” The panorama includes Gray’s Peak and Pike’s Peak, “all nearly the height of Mont Blanc.” She concludes that it has well earned the nickname of the “American Matterhorn.”

She also offers up a caveat: “Let no practical mountaineer be allotted by my description into the ascent of Long’s Peak. Truly terrible as it was to me, to a member of the Alpine Club it would not be a feat worth performing.”

They pushed up the last near-vertical bit to the tippy top of the peak, where they didn’t remain long because one of the young men “was seriously alarmed by bleeding from the lungs.” Which is fair.

They placed their names in a tin within a crevice**** and started their descent.


* “whether you like it or not”


*** so I’m thinking there was some snow?

**** I wonder if that tin is still there? Anyone?


Isabella made the BBC today:


She apparently had some rather uncomplimentary things to say about Korean food.

She was very much a woman of her time. The English - especially in the mid-1800s - weren't known for their embrace of spice. Not to be a total Isabella defender, mind. She could be cruel.

I am thrilled that she's still showing up in the news, tho! Thanks for pointing it out.

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