Leaders: David Eisenberg, Minor White
22 of us met at the La Cañada carpool point at 8:00am for this loop trip. It was exciting to think about climbing both Rabbit and Iron in the same day, even though they weren't hard versions of the two peaks.
We started from the entrance of Monte Cristo campground shortly before 9:00am.
The first two miles were along fairly level dirt road. We passed the disputed mining claim just before the road forked for the drive up towards Iron without incident. If nothing else, the legal challenges have encouraged them to clean up the site. For variety, we hiked around the west side of Rabbit and climbed the steep slope, arriving at 10:25.
From the summit of Rabbit, we continued plodding up the steep firebreak to the summit of Granite. We were the first climbers in the 90's to sign in. As a reward, the weather got warmer, the breeze stopped and a sunbow formed for our lunchtime enjoyment.
Shortly before 1:00, I led the group off the peak, chased by growing masses of clouds forming over Gleason, Fox and Condor; and by a snowball thrown by an anonymous participant.
The hard part over, we made good time to Round Top. It was hard for us to believe that the standard route for the loop is up the steep ridge we came down!
The clouds rolled over us and the temperature dropped as we held a tiger race up the final slope to Iron. We shiveringly signed in and quickly descended the ridge trail to the campground, startling and amusing the campers with our appearance. The weather continued its excellent cooperation by holding off on the rain until the last car had driven off.