The June 4, 2011 HPS Boomerang outing was an adventure initiated by
Ignacia Doggett, to hike from Manker Flats to Baldy-Iron-Baldy ending at
Manker Flats. It was a there-and-back duplicating the outbound route.
My journey with them was from Mt. Baldy to Big Iron, ending at Heaton
At 4:40 a.m. we started from Manker Flats, FOUR leaders + FIVE
The June 1st new moon resulted in dark sky with no clouds or ambient
light. A headlamp wasn't needed when we started the hike on the smooth
paved road. When we reached the Ski Hut Trail, the beginning of sunrise
was enough to see the ground.
At 5:48 a.m. we reached the green Ski Hut. Here, we took a 20 minute
break. People filled water bottles from the natural spring and from inside
the ski hut. Bill Simpson's painful foot condition had flared up and from here
we continued without him.
At 7:10 a.m. we reached the summit of Mt. Baldy (4,000' gain), which was a
FAST moving pace of 2 hours, 10 minutes! The clear morning sky gave us
distant views. It was windy and cold. Walking over to West Baldy, we
crossed a snowfield which was frozen and crunchy.
From West Baldy we descended on the San Antonio Ridge following a nice
but faded use trail. The previous Saturday (May 28) Ignacia, Peter, Amin
and Janice scouted half this route (15 miles/6,500' gain) making it half way
to Big Iron and stashing water. Having recently hiked this route made it a
quick and familiar descent.
As we approached the dreaded "gun sight" notch, one participant spooked
and declined to go any further. This section was exhiliarating and
suspenseful. We had the option of climbing an exposed Class 3 section or
a less exposed loose chute, which we chose to do. The chute was slippery
with no reliable handholds, brittle shale and branches that would break off,
a sheer drop off on one side.
The climbing sections continued with potentially fatal vertical drops. I'd
never climbed anything like it. Having had no training with rock climbing, I
appreciated the M-Rated leadership of Matthew and rock climbing skills of
Matthew and Jen.
At 12:45 p.m. we reached the summit of Big Iron (Iron Mountain #1). How
uncanny that from behind us came two different groups of hikers who
traveled through the "gun sight" notch and followed us up to Big Iron!
Since my preference had been to hike the "Baldy-Iron" traverse via car
shuttle, many thanks to Matthew for persuading his friends Kim Bruel and
Laurent to climb Big Iron that day from Heaton Flats (they started at 6:30
a.m.) and be available to give us a ride back to Manker Flats. Their arrival
on Big Iron at 1:30 p.m. was perfect timing!
At 1:40 p.m. Ignacia's group headed back to Mt. Baldy and Peter/Janice
headed down to Heaton Flats. It was fun jogging down the steep, rocky trail
to Allison Saddle, then down to Heat Flats on a trail that was ablaze with
flowering color. Thanks so much to Kim and Laurent for giving us a ride
back to our vehicles at Manker Flats.
From Big Iron, it took Peter/Janice 4 hours to descend to Heaton Flats.
From Big Iron, it took Ignacia's group 7-1/2 hours to return to Manker Flats,
finishing at 9:10 p.m.
The weather was perfect keeping us cool all day. None of us needed our
water stash. The clear views all around were breathtaking! I loved hiking
the San Antonio Ridge, an alluring and pristine area!!
Dinner afterwards was lively and a wonderful end to this memorable day!
Baldy-Iron-Baldy: 20 miles, 9,300' gain / 9,300' loss
Baldy-Iron: 18 miles, 6,400' gain / 10,600' loss (Peter & Janice)
Ignacia Doggett / Peter Doggett / Matthew Hengst / Bill Simpson
John Slages / Amin Faraday / Jen Blackie / Dagmar / Janice Boyd