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The SUBLIME Hike to Big Iron!
(Iron Mountain #1)

April 23, 2011

By: Janice Boyd


Leaders: Ted Lubeshkoff, Bruce Craig

Baldy from Big Iron
View of Mount Baden-Powell from Big Iron, 4/23/11, Peter Dresslar

The infamous "Big Iron" can be a daunting hike, but not on this day! The April 23, 2011 hike to Iron Mountain #1 was SUBLIME!!

At 6:00 a.m. HPS hikers met at the Azusa rideshare. We drove to the parking area to hike Route 1. At 6:48 a.m. we began hiking on the Heaton Flat Trail. The sky was overcast and the temperature was 50 degrees. The gradual climb to Allison Saddle was in cool, misty weather on a dry and well-maintained trail.

From Allison Saddle (4,582') the trail quickly turned loose, rocky and steep. It reminded me of the Register Ridge trail from Manker Flats to Mount Harwood, with similar scenery.

Hiking up to 6,000', we continued in the mist where the cloud ceiling stopped and the sun was shining. A cooling breeze would occur at just the right time after climbing a particularly steep section. Amin kept us entertained with stories about his previous "Hike from Hell" to Big Iron in 95 degree heat.

The scenery changed from thick green foliage to tall pine trees. I didn't see anything resembling "Iron" for this namesake. We were all commenting on the beauty of the landscape and the strong pine fragrance. We saw a few patches of shallow snow on the northern slope but there was no snow on the summit. We averaged 1,400' of gain per hour and took long breaks every hour to allow the people behind us to catch up.

At 12:17 p.m. we reached the summit of Iron Mountain #1 (8,007'). The sky was crystal clear, sun shining on thick lush clouds below us as far as we could see. I sland mountain tops, streaked with snow, appeared above the clouds in a vivid blue sky. The temperature in the sun was 62 degrees with an occasional breeze. Stunning views of the peaks above the clouds would come and go as if in a slide-show, as clouds rose and passed in front of them.

At 1:00 p.m., happy and thankful for the scenic views and fantastic hiking conditions, we started down - going down was FUN! I love the loose rocky terrain. It wasn't nearly as bad as people warned.

At 6,000' we descended into the clouds and damp mist for the remainder of the day, which was drearier than when we started out. We reached Allison Saddle and took another long break waiting for people to catch up. At 5:48 p.m., eleven hours later to the minute, we arrived at the parking area. Afterwards, the entire group went to dinner. We marveled that the hike to Big Iron was PERFECT and filled with serendipity. We could not have had better trail or weather conditions and the rewarding views were magnificent on the summit.

Another thing that made this hike special was that we did not see anyone on the trail all day. When Ted applied for the hiking permit the ranger tried to convince him that there was five feet of snow on the summit and the trail was washed out.

Thank you to the leaders and participants for sharing this happy memory of a wonderful climb to Iron Mountain #1!

The leaders: Ted Lubeshkoff and Bruce Craig. The participants: Amin Faraday, Janice Boyd, Stephen Joseph, Peter Dresslar and Herman Hagen.

Distance: 14 miles

Gain: 7,200'

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