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Iron Mountain #1

1 October 1967

By: How Bailey


Leader: How Bailey
Asst.: Dick Akawie

Eighteen ambitious hikers met at Camp Lupine (on Prairie Fork of the E. San Gabriel) on Saturday night. We started off at 6:35 a.m. in 5 VW's and 1 Bronco for the 2-mile steep climb to Pine Mtn. Ridge, but the last VW never showed up! We waited 10 min. and scouted a possible wrong turn, but started hiking at 7:15 short 2.

The route followed precisely that written up in the Lookout a year ago. This goes south along abandoned mining roads and a trail for an hour, then cautiously down a nasty gully for about 200', about 100 yds. thru a sheer rock gorge cut by the Fish Fork, and 1300' up a steep ridge to the junction with the main San Antonio Ridge. We reached this point in 2 1/2 hrs. One person waited here. The next hour was down-up-down-up-down along an open ridge, but then we had to get to work again. We were well bunched for the 2 third-class pitches, but there still remained some 700' of very steep loose scrambling. All 15 were on top by 12:30.

Unfortunately the return trip on this mountain is almost as hard as going in (the net gain is only 500'!) and everyone was getting tired. Some of us reached the aforementioned half-way ridge junction right on schedule at 3:30 and the last man got there at 3:50 -- the last but one that is, and he was nowhere in sight -- so we had a small crisis. I decided (a) that the straggler could not be left, (b) since I was the only one who knew that region well enough to be confident of getting out after dark should that prove necessary, I would have to go back for him, (c) that we had to get most of the group out before dark, and (d) there were several experienced hikers who should be able to retrace the route taken in. Bill Mainland generously volunteered to go back with me. So the assistant leader, with help from Norm Rohn, the redoubtable Sam Fink and probably others, got the main group back to the cars by 7:00, and we 3 got there about 8:00. The straggler had been sick, but regained his strength later on. (The same thing happened to one of the leading SPS stalwarts on the Iron Trip two years ago.)

This route is better than going over Baldy -- at least some of us who aren't in Arky's class can do it in one day -- but it's still a tough mountain.

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