1/1/15 Another New Year's day trip to Iron Mountain. It's becoming a tradition. Almost an hour slower than the year before, but over 15 miles and 7,000' of gain is always a great way to kick your butt and kickoff the new year!
1 There had been an unusual snow storm two days earlier. Not a heavy snow, but the lowest snow level in years (down to 2,000'). I expected Iron Mountain to be a full on snow trek, but the snow was almost entirely gone already by the time I got there. There are signs of snow though at about 3,500'.
2 Made good time up to Heaton Saddle and now to the ridgeline that I love so much. That's Mt. Baldy in the distance, and directly in front is Allison Saddle. That saddle is the start of the toughest 2 miles of trail in Southern CA.
3 I'm not sure why I still bother taking pictures of this trail. They never come close to depicting this steep and technical section, which is roughly a 2,000' mile.
4 Probably about a 45deg slope.
5 Loose rock and scree. The way down is like scree surfing. Wipeout potential here is really high.
6 Mt. Baldy with fresh snow on top. But it's January, and this scene still looks like a drought.
7 Almost to the summit and the snow is getting heavier. But still nowhere near enough to require snow gear. I dumped my ice axe, crampons, gaiters, etc. further down the trail to save weight. I definitely didn't end-up needing them today!
8 The only tracks here are mine, so definitely no other humans have been up here since the snow a couple days ago.
9 Made it to the top. The only person to summit today. And according to the sign-in book, the first person in the last eight days.
10 View of Mt. Baldy and the San Antonio ridge from Iron Mountain. It's on my to-do list to hike the ridge all the way to the Baldy Summit. Probably not possible in one day, but a two day (brutal) fast-pack would be perfect. One of these days...
11 Another view from the summit. There's upwards of a foot of snow on the very top, but it thins out quickly below about 7,000'.
12 Looking towards the ocean from the summit.
13 360 view from the summit. My fingers were getting numb, so I couldn't spend all too long on top. So I headed back down (man my fingers burned when they thawed out!). That downhill is still unquestionably the toughest downhill in SoCal. I always feel it for days afterwards.
For best performance, you can view the video on YouTube.
14 Headed back down. I'm running out of light, but the sunset is beautiful.
15 The camera makes the sky look brighter than it is, but the moon is already high in the night sky.
16 Made it back to the car with the stars out. Fortunately it was a near full moon, so the trail was well enough lit that I could run it without a headlamp. Another successful Iron Mountain trip in the books!