3/3/18 What was supposed to be a partial hike up Iron Mountain ended-up being a summit in rain, sleet, and snow. The conditions made for a slow 8 hour pace, but 7000' of gain in these conditions made for an epic day.
1 Heading up towards Heaton Saddle. I knew there would be weather, and I got a late start, so I was only expecting to hike part of the way to the top today.
2 My favorite ridgeline, only partially visible in the clouds. It has been raining pretty steadily thus far, and everything not covered by my shell is soaked.
3 I love the look of the clouds blowing up and over the ridge.
4 First snow! At about 5,500'.
5 The slick, rainy conditions made the infamous steep scrambles even more fun.
6 Starting to get into pretty consistent patches of snow now. I ran across a pair of guys coming down, decked out in heavy snow gear. They were the only humans I saw all day, and I was the only one they had seen. They said they had turned around below the summit because of the freezing winds and blowing snow. That gave me a little pause, especially since I was in much lighter gear, but I pressed on. And now I definitely knew I would have the mountain to myself for the rest of the day!
7 I love the way the ice hangs sideways off the pine needles. That's how cold and windy it is on the ridgeline here.
8 Low visibility and a really chill wind on the ridgeline.
9 This rock always means the long climb is almost over. Less than 1,000' to go. I hadn't planned on going this far, but I was feeling pretty good, so I kept pressing on.
10 Almost solid snow the rest of the way now. And zero footprints, so noone has been up here since the storms rolled-in over the last few days.
11 Made it to the top!
12 The sign-in box. It's windy and 17 degrees, so there is no way I'm stopping to sign-in today. Aside from painful fingers, I had kept warm on the way-up. But as soon as you stop moving, it gets cold fast. I didn't stay long.
13 The beautiful view of Mt. Baldy is right there.
14 And the ocean is out there. Somewhere.
15 360 "view" from the top.
16 Seems so odd to see fluffy snowflakes coming down amidst the chaparral.
17 Makes me think of gorillas in the mist.
18 And now back down into some blowing sleet. I much prefer the snow.
19 Now I'm back down into a light rain and looks like the storm is breaking in the distance.
20 Nice view as the sun is getting low and the skies are clearing. I ended-up finishing just before dark right at the 8 hour mark. The elements definitely added some extra fun for the day!