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Ironstone Mountain
Mountain/Rock

Ironstone Mountain

 
Ironstone Mountain

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 46.68333°N / 121.25044°W

Object Title: Ironstone Mountain

County: Yakima

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Skiing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 6441 ft / 1963 m

 

Page By: Redwic

Created/Edited: Mar 7, 2012 / Mar 9, 2012

Object ID: 779913

Hits: 1409 

Page Score: 83.1%  - 16 Votes 

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Overview

Ironstone Mountain is a seldom-summited and mid-elevation peak located in the South Cascades of Washington, only approximately six miles northeast of White Pass. The peak can be summited year-round, with a trail system that passes near the mountain during non-snowy periods and mostly forested (i.e. low avalanche potential) approaches during snowy periods. With that said, avalanche conditions should still be monitored during periods of snowpack, due to the upper 150-200' of the mountain being almost completely treeless.
Ironstone Summit
Ironstone Summit

The open summit of Ironstone Mountain allows for far-ranging and unique views of the surrounding area. Nearby peaks seen from the summit include popular mountaineering destinations such as Mount Aix and the Goat Rocks area, but also more obscure peaks such as Bismarck Peak, Shellrock Peak, McNeil Peak, Goose Egg Mountain, and Kloochman Rock. Summit views even extend to much further locations such as Mount Stuart to the north and Hog Ranch Buttes to the east.
Feller On Ironstone
Northern Summit View

The standard approaches to Ironstone Mountain, regardless of season, are all considered non-technical. No special equipment such as ropes or helmets are required, although during snowy periods it is always safest to carry an ice axe and crampons. After snow thaws, a trail system leads to within 700' vertical feet to the summit, only requiring that amount of off-trail travel. During snowy periods, the entire route can be off-trail, making for a nice snowshoeing or backcountry skiing trip mostly through thick second-growth evergreen forests before a very picturesque open final ascent.

The name "Ironstone" is likely in reference to the rocky terrain, or at least the appearance of the rocky terrain, on the upper slopes of the peak. Ironstone is a type of sedimentary rock that contains iron minerals, which, after exposed to oxidation, turns from a grayish color to a brownish-red color. Ironstone is quite prevalent at and near the summit. However, the upper south slopes of the peak have columnar rock formations, which might be igneous basalt rather than sedimentary ironstone. Both types of rocks might contain iron-rich minerals, such as olivine, that can cause the brownish-red appearance. Shown below is a photo of such columns on Ironstone Mountain.
Passing Ironstone Cliffs
Passing By Rocky Columns On South Slopes...

According to the geologic map contributed below by Paul Klenke, Ironstone Mountain appears to be located right at or near the border between Tertiary Intrusive rocks and Mesozoic Sedimentary rocks, so both rock types could be extensive on the mountain.
Geologic Map for Ironstone Mountain and Vicinity
 

Getting There

FROM WHITE PASS, WA:


1) Drive east along Highway 12.
2) After approximately 8.4 miles, turn left (north) onto Forest Road 1308/Forest Road 355.
NOTE: Forest Road 1308 is also as Indian Creek Road.
3) After 0.2 miles, continue straight (veering slightly left) to remain on the main road (Forest Road 1308).
4) After 1.1 miles from the highway, turn right (east) onto Forest Road 1382.
5) After 2.3 miles from that intersection, turn sharply left and uphill to remain on Forest Road 1382.
6) After approximately 1.5 miles further, find parking area/trailhead.


FROM YAKIMA, WA:


1) Starting from Highway 97, turn west onto Highway 12.
2) After approximately 43 miles, turn right (north) onto Forest Road 1308/Forest Road 355.
NOTE: Forest Road 1308 is also as Indian Creek Road.
3) After 0.2 miles, continue straight (veering slightly left) to remain on the main road (Forest Road 1308).
4) After 1.1 miles from the highway, turn right (east) onto Forest Road 1382.
5) After 2.3 miles from that intersection, turn sharply left and uphill to remain on Forest Road 1382.
6) After approximately 1.5 miles further, find parking area/trailhead for Andy Creek Trail #1110 (~4420' elevation).
------------


SPECIAL NOTES:


-> For reference/location purposes, the Indian Creek Campground is located a short distance west of the Forest Road 1308 turnoff along Highway 12.

-> Private residences are located along the first mile of Forest Road 1308. Because of this reason, during snowy periods Forest Road 1308 is usually snow-plowed until at least its junction with Forest Road 1382. Occasionally, logging companies and the U.S. Forest Service might plow further along Forest Road 1308 and Forest Road 1382.

Standard Approaches

Ironstone Mountain - Standard Routes
Standard Approaches For Ironstone Mountain

During non-snowy periods (typically Summer and Autumn), potential summiters of Ironstone Mountain will follow Andy Creek Trail #1110 approximately 1.1 miles north-northwest to the ridgetop of Russell Ridge. From there, hike north along Ironstone Mountain Trail #1141, until reaching where the trail passes the south-southeast side of Ironstone Mountain. Then ascend off-trail approximately 700' elevation to the open summit.
ROUNDTRIP DISTANCE: Approximately 4-5 miles
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During snowy periods (typically Winter and Spring), potential summiters of Ironstone Mountain will either travel completely in the backcountry or have a combination of snowy road-hiking and backcountry travel. The starting points and options depend upon the road conditions of Forest Road 1308 and Forest Road 1382 at the time of travel. Basically, potential summiters hike, snowshoe, and/or ski north up the forested south slopes of Russell Ridge until reaching the ridgetop (~5700' elevation).
Ascending Russell Ridge
Ascending South Side Of Russell Ridge...

Then head west-northwest along the ridge, slightly angling/side-traversing in the process. The saddle connecting Russell Ridge to Ironstone Mountain is at Fox Meadow (~5700 elevation), which is a large open meadow, so if Fox Meadow is reached do not travel beyond the eastern end of that area. Begin heading north towards Ironstone Mountain, either at Fox Meadow or by remaining in evergreen forests east of that area. The final 150-200' of elevation gain to the Ironstone Mountain summit (6441' elevation) is open/semi-open, so use appropriate caution during avalanche season.
ROUNDTRIP DISTANCE: Approximately 5-7 miles, depending on starting point.
Descending From Ironstone
Descending From Summit...

Red Tape

Ironstone Mountain is located within the William O. Douglas Wilderness Area. Wilderness area rules and regulations apply.

A Northwest Forest Pass (parking permit) is required for the trailhead during non-snowy periods. A Sno-Park Pass (parking permit) is required during snowy periods. These passes are available for purchase at ranger stations and most outdoor recreation stores in the region.
Forest Road 1382
Snow-Hiking Along Forest Road 1382...


This area becomes very dry during Summer and Autumn. Bring plenty of water.

For current rules, regulations, passes, etc. please contact:
Naches Ranger District
10237 Highway 12
Naches, WA 98937
(509) 653-1401

Camping

The Indian Creek Campground is located a short distance west of the Forest Road 1308 turnoff, on the south side of Highway 12 near the west end of Rimrock Lake.

Backcountry camping is possible, with Fox Meadow being the preferred destination for most campers in the area. Fox Meadow is located near the southwest slopes of Ironstone Mountain, near the junction of several trails.
Ironstone - SE Summit View
SE Summit View, Fox Meadow Seen Below

Images

Klenke on IronstoneFeller On IronstonePassing Ironstone CliffsDescending From IronstoneForest Road 1382Ironstone - SE Summit ViewIronstone Mountain - Standard Routes
Geologic Map for Ironstone Mountain and VicinityIronstone SummitAscending Russell Ridge