New Route to Iron #1
October 30 I scouted a new route to Big Iron from the north. You can now drive (4-wheel drives and VWs) to the 7500' level on Pine Mountain Ridge. The Mt. San Antonio topo shows a trail fork here, in the NW corner of Section 25. Take the lower "road", continuing south to the ridge above X-7258. From here a trail has been built which zigzags down to the "road". Continue another half mile to the switchback at 6850'. Now it gets rough. Contour (the ground is steep and not very soft) to the flat spot on the ridge just left of "36" (W) on the map. Here you face a very steep drop, but by skirting to the left to just under the "6" you can then follow a loose gully down to the freely flowing Fish Fork. Work up stream, taking the right fork twice. Then as soon as practicable, get on the ridge on the right, passing just west of the "S" on the map. There is an exposed dirt cliff visible on the right as you go up this steep open ridge. Go over this and contour to the right and slightly upward to the saddle at 7900'. This is a familiar spot where we have always stopped for a snack or rest on the old route over Baldy.
This new route is not easy, but it beats going over Baldy twice. Compare 6 miles RT and 2600' total gain with 12 miles and 4600' gain. All the way to Iron and back would be about 12 miles and 6000' - a long and very strenuous day considering the roughness of the terrain in several spots. Good luck!