11/29/15 Another trip to Iron Mountain. This time not on New Year's Day, but instead joined by both my Dad and Dustin. It was a little slower paced day, but over 15 miles and 7,000' of gain is brutal at any pace!
1 We were at the parking lot by about 6:30am and then to the Heaton Flats trailhead by just after 7:00am. Fortunately, there was someone headed up the Bridge to Nowhere trail who was able to snap a picture for us. It was the last person we would see for the rest of the day.
2 Made good time up to Heaton Saddle.
3 Entering the Sheep Mountain Wilderness.
4 First views of Mt. Baldy with a little bit of snow left from a recent storm.
5 Dad's pictures of Dustin and I on the ridgeline. I never get tired of this ridgeline. The trail follows the ridge perfectly up and down all the way to Coldwater Saddle where the fun really starts.
6 Almost to the saddle. Just a couple more humps to get up and over.
7 Made it to Coldwater Saddle at around 4,500'. The trail up to this point is just a warmup for what's to come.
8 The trail heading up from the saddle. It starts getting steep fast.
9 Looking down at the saddle. I finally have some humans in the picture to help give some perspective to just how steep the trail gets here.
10 Dad climbing through the chapparal.
11 Dad's shot of us as he powers up the slope.
12 First signs of snow at about 5,500'.
13 The foliage is tight in places, but the trail is always pretty easy to follow.
14 There's some small sections of tree cover, but most of the trail is fully exposed. Not a trail to do in the summer.
15 The canyon of the East Fork of the San Gabriel River is one of the deepest canyons in the country at rougly 6,000' deep.
16 Lots of great Mt. Baldy views in this area.
17 Up above the 6,000' line. A little further along and Dad decides to stop while he's ahead. He waits for us as Dustin and I continue onward, hoping to summit.
18 Starting to get into some bigger patches of snow.
19 It's a really clear day and the view stretches from the mountain range, across the city below, and all the way to the ocean.
20 Enough snow for some snowballs!
21 The sun reflecting off the ocean is pretty amazing. You can't tell in the picture, but you can actually see ships on the water!
22 A panorama of the view.
23 Looking back along the ridge and trail, the snow is noticeably heavier on the North face of the slopes.
24 Almost to the summit, snowball in hand, with Mt. Baldy in the distance.
25 Made it! The Iron Mountain summit at 8,007' just before 3:00pm. Has Dustin sprouted horns?
26 Dustin's picture of me on the summit.
27 Dustin getting ready to sign the book. There haven't been many groups up here recently. But one of them was the same grandfather (78 years old) and grandkids (9 & 12) that sign-in at my favorite secret trail in the Santa Monica Mountains!
28 View from the top towards the ocean.
29 Mt. Baldy from the Iron Mountain summit. I really want to hike the ridge trail from here to Baldy someday!
30 The obligatory 360 summit video.
31 Heading back down to rejoin my Dad. We had estimated 2 hours max to get back to him. It took us about 1:15 to summit, we spent over 15min on top, so we had to get down fast.
32 No more pictures until we joined back up with my Dad, just 5 minutes past our estimated time. Now we're all heading down together. Here Dustin is looking back (up) the trail for my Dad.
33 The light is getting low as we head back down to the saddle.
34 Our hard work was rewarded with an amazing sunset.
35 Dad making his way down the technical trail in the pink light of sunset. This dowhill is defnitely a quad buster!
36 Back down to the saddle just as the sun is about to dip below the range.
37 Back down the ridgeline in the glow of the setting sun.
38 The last 1 1/2 hours or so of our trek was in the dark. Here's the last of the sun and also the flickering lights from the distant city below.
39 Mission complete! Back to the Heaton Flats trailhead at right around 12 hours round trip. Tired but none the worse for wear. Hopefully a memorable experience for everyone involved!
40 Elevation profile for Iron Mountain from the Suunto Ambit. Exactly how a mountain should look!