Documenting leads and lags in terrestrial records of past climate change is critical to understanding the behavior of Earth’s natural climate system and making reliable predictions of future climate conditions. However, uncertainties of several hundred years in age models make it difficult to distinguish synchronicity and feedbacks in paleo archives. In lakes this is often due to the lack of terrestrial macrofossils in climate-sensitive locations, such as high alpine or dryland settings. The potential of radiocarbon (14C) dating of pollen has long been recognized, but the difficulty of cleanly separating pollen from other kinds of organic carbon has limited its usefulness. Here we report 14C ages on pollen separated by flow cytometry, from a set of closely spaced samples from Mono Lake, California. The accuracy of the pollen ages is tested using well-dated bracketing tephras, the South Mono and North Mono-Inyo tephras. In spite of the purity of the sorted samples, the pollen dates are older than the bounding tephras by ~400 yr, similar to some other pollen-dating studies. While improvements in sample preparation protocols are planned, understanding the geological processes involved in the production, preservation, and deposition of pollen at each site will be critical to developing robust high-resolution age models.