Leaders: Bill T. Russell, Carleton Shay
The 16th Annual Route Bagger's Adventure on "Big Iron" ascended the west ridge. We hiked through the Narrows to the confluence with the Iron Fork.
Carleton counted 26 stream crossings; the water was six to 20 inches deep. We ate lunch at the Iron Fork and each got five liters of water for the coming 26 hours. We then climbed the hillside where the trail to Stanley Miller Mine is shown on the map, but where there is no trail! There is poison oak at the bottom of this slope but only one of our party came down with an attack. The terrain is steep with several places of scrambling up through rock outcrops. We reached the cabin site shown on the topo and visited other ruins including the Stanley Miller which has some machinery.
We then continued up the slope and reached the west ridge, which has some moderate brush at elevation 5000 feet. From there we went up the ridge past point 5948 to the fine flat area at 6200 feet where we spent the night. We climbed through a cloud for the last 1000 feet, and just barely broke through into blue sky at our camp spot. However, by 8:00PM, a gusty wind came up, the wet fog thickened and we had intermittent drizzle. Some of us became quite damp.
By the next morning, the cold front had moved on to produce sunshine and crisp air. We went up the ridge to the summit and then descended the south ridge to the roadhead which we reached at 2:30PM. Two of us had clippers and did our duty, including a good haircut to several large cacti, but there is still plenty to be done by future clipping climbers or climbing clippers.
It was Memorial Day weekend and there were a lot people along the East Fork and several parties climbing Iron by the south ridge route. It was a good outing with good people and a lesson learned was to carry a plastic ground cloth for emergency protection.