Started at around 7:15am from the East Fork Trailhead and summitted at around 11:30am. Great hike but the toughest part for me was descending ~6,500 feet on steep slopes with loose gravel and yuccas everywhere. Returned at the car at around 4:30pm. Tough but great hike with marvelous views from the top.
Home of the World's Most Dangerous Yucca.
Amen, brother. We called them "yukkies" all the way down.
As a geologist I was interested in the Allison Mine, as an explorer I was interested in going up the San Gabriel River (east fork), and as a climber who had done Baldy and surrounding peaks numerous it was time to do this trip. I had just got a new Jansport pack and went sloshing up the east fork to Allison Gulch where I followed it up to a falls I had to delicately climb around (didn't like doing solo with a full pack. Found two cabins there and assorted rusting mining gear. Knowing how dangerous active inspected mines can be, I stayed out of these "death traps". The next morning, I followed the gulch as far as I could till I was facing a steep wall of loose rock and thorny vegetation up the south west "face" of Iron. Half way up I heard rock fall from above me and between dancing and ducking I saw a small grouping of sheep moving above. When I reached the summit I decided to navigate the ridge going south. That was equally difficult because of the loose rock and veg until I dropped back down into Allison Gulch (I knew what was there).
The next time up Iron was with Cary and we had a topo map with that showed a trail farther down that ridge I had started coming down the first time. We had a rope and I climbed and then belayed Cary up the falls and we discovered that one of the two cabins was now "gone". After coming down the ridge from Iron, we hit the Heaton Flat trail which at that time was awful. We had shorts on and our legs were getting so thrashed we took off our windbreakers and wore them around our legs. I understand the trail up this route is now a breeze but I think the best way "up" Iron is to go "down" from Baldy (at least in the cool winter time if you have the skills).
Coco the Dog (5x) and I summited today (8x), climbing mostly within a cloud. The summit was briefly in the clear offering spectacular views of the new snow on Mt. Baldy.
Really an enjoyable hike with great views. Did the roundtrip in 7 hours with a healthy break on the summit. Didn't see anyone on the mountain, other than a San Gabriel Rosy Boa, had no idea these guys were out here. Pretty cool...I look forward to coming back to see how fast I can really do this hike.
Nov 6th 2010 - on the way to Baldy :)
Classic San Gabriels hike, done with an HPS group. Good conditioning for summer trips in the Sierra.
This is such a beautiful hike. I love the view of all the surrounding peaks and valleys along the way. It just gets better the higher you go. From the top you feel you are truly in the heart of the San Gabriel range with Baldy on the east, Baden Powell on the west, Blue Ridge to the north, and the front range to the south. The surrounding valleys are just as impressive. You look right down into the East Fork, Fish Fork, Iron Fork, Cattle Canyon, and Coldwater Canyon - not to mention the incredible view of Allison Gulch. I noticed so much more this time on my second climb - probably because I am in better shape than in 2002. Climbed in 5 hrs 20 min, and took almost the same to get down. Packed 4 liters of water and ran out. I really wish I had at least 5. My skinny friend only drank 3. I am glad I took a neoprene knee brace this time because the 6,000' decent is harder than the climb. Four days later I am still really sore, but it was worth it.
Follow Up: Man, I am really sore. Did some helpful reading on DOMS (Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness). I guess Iron Mtn is the perfect recipe: eccentric muscle contraction (contracting while the muscle lengthens, as opposed to concentric) like running downhill or walking down stairs!
Great hike, but it comes with a price.
Read Rick Kent's post about his double traverse and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Found out all right. No double traverse for me (not yet anyway)--the hike up Iron was enough!
Climbed the "mother of all hikes" this morning. 3.5 hours up, 2.5 hours down. About a foot of snow and some powerful wind along the top ridge. My only regret is unwittingly grabbing some yucca while scrambling up. Ouch.
4th summit of Big Iron. My best time so far. 2 hours 37 minutes from car to summit (Heaton Flat parking lot to summit). Roundtrip: 4 hrs 42 mins.
Nice early June hike. Great ridge views! I was definitely surprised by the difficulty, even when I had read all the comments about how hard the climb would be. Our group was very tired near the top and almost turned around. Luckily, we pressed on and summited. 11 hour roundtrip, hope to do it faster next time.
This route is tougher than either the trail/south ridge or the San Antonio Ridge traverse. Hiked in about 9 miles on Saturday along East Fork and then Fish Fork to base of climb. The next day, we initially started up a wrong gully, but got to the north ridge anyway. The route from the bottom of Fish Fork is 4,000 feet of gully and ridge in about 2 miles. Relentless. We came down the south ridge and trail. It took me about 11 hours with a long break on the summit. This was my 6th ascent of Big Iron.
We had a beautiful but cool climb on New Years Day, missed the route once and added a couple of extra miles. Have done it about 6 times now, including a couple as backing trips and camping at Allison Mine. Not sure what the trail to the mine is like now but I did a lot of brush work on it in 2002.
First time hiked it way too hot. Got about up to the 7K level and had to lazy around until the sun started going down. Second time, late start time. Third time planned better, good weather, no problem, 8 hours.
Now I remember why I didn't go back for ten years. Pretty easy ascent this time, but miserable getting down to the saddle. Then some friends talked me into hiking over to Allison Mine for a canyoneering trip down the gulch. 12 hours on two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
The best conditions yet for Iron. While it wasn't my fastest time (~4hrs), the previous rain compacted the trail sufficiently that the descent was a pleasure for a change.
Improved a bit from my last time on Iron. Heaton Flat parking lot to summit in 3 hrs 9 mins. Total time RT (car to car): 5 hrs 28 mins. It was a ridiculously warm day for February (felt like 90F). Because of a silly mistake I brought less than 1 liter of water. A third of this I poured onto myself to cool down before I realized I was missing a water bottle. Oh well, who really needs water on Iron Mountain anyway?
An enjoyable hike, tough for the San Gabriels. Trip Report
We met Rick Graham (graham) at Manker Flats at 4:30am and left our vehicles there. Rick then shuttle us to Heaton Flats. There, Rick, Richard Piotrowski and trailhuggersarah were aiming for Iron Mountain while awagher, MikeSash and I continued on to Baldy. We started hiking at 5:35am from Heaton Flats. Reached the summit of Iron Mountain at 10:01am. Rested for twenty minutes and then began the San Antonio ridgeline traverse towards Baldy. We pretty much got hammered with 50+ mph winds (gusts up tp 60+ mph) the rest of the day. Several times we lost balance as the wind would knock you off. At times, we even had to lie down. We made slow progress because of the very high winds. You couldn't breathe if the wind would hit you right in the face. Summited Baldy at 4:08pm (finally there is a summit register up there...it took me like 5 minutes trying to get the pen to write and not getting blownoff the mountain). Back to Manker Flats at 6:33pm (~ 13 hrs). Oh yeah, Andrew and I had only 4 hrs of sleep Saturday night and 5 hrs Friday night (climbed at Echo Cliffs Saturday). It didn't help. The Moral: get a decent rest the night before in order to enjoy this day hike.
Route Climbed: Heaton Trail
Date Climbed: October 23, 2004
Believe what you read on most of everyone's summit posts: this is one tough day hike mostly because you end up going up & down the several ridge bumps along the way. Hiked with mdostby and agorokhov. We started a few minutes after 8:00am. Took a decent 40 minute rest break at the 4,582-foot Heaton Saddle and then continued on. I reached the summit at 2:03pm. Stayed up at the summit for an hour. Great close up view of West Baldy's and Baldy's west /northwest face(s). Hiked the last forty-five minutes by headlamp reaching the car around 7:30pm. I don't think I'll be hiking Iron Mountain again anytime soon....Ugh...