For more specific details, please take a gander at my trip report
Iron Mountain is a strenuous climb from any direction. Why even bother with this obscure direction? History. Toward the base of the northwest ridge of Big Iron lies the Stanley-Miller gold mine. Rarely visited due to the steep and loose terrain, many are amazed that people actually hauled mining equipment up these slopes.
From the mine, an old trail used to ascend up the ridge at least up to the beginning of a long, 7" pipe used for water access. Presumably some ascents of Iron were made by these miners of the old days. In addition, the Sierra Club has lead up a few ascents of Iron Mt from this old way.
You'll want to start out at the East Fork parking lot as per the standard route. You can then hike up the normal south ridge route to Iron and descend the NW ridge (as we did), or you can hike up the river.
If you hike up the river, you'll pass the Bridge to Nowhere. Past this, you'll be hiking in the Narrows for about 1 mile, occasionally crossing the water (dependent on the water level).
The old trail on the USGS topo starts just past Iron Fork; however, it is really crappy and I advise taking an earlier route. Before Iron Fork, on the east side of the water lies an old cabin. Just before reaching this cabin, head east / northeast and begin scrambling up the rock scree (This is evidenced in the gps track on the map.
Click for more stats & gps files
Again, more specific route description is found in the trip report.
From the river, the route entails heading east and southeast. Just head up (heading down is more of a navigational issue). The route is extremely steep and crappy for the first 1000 ft up that takes you to the same elevation as the mine. Peruse for artifacts and the main shaft if you have time. Above this, you'll encounter decent amounts of brush until about 5700 ft. It is possible to avoid plowing through the brush most of the time.
The upper sections offer less brush and nice scrambling.
Long sleeves / gloves are nice. Plan on getting your legs / feet wet if crossing the river in the spring.
External Linksoriginal trip report