Iron MountainXerox Mountaineering & Backpacking Club

at San Gabriel Mountains Saturday, 6 May 1989

Brief: strenuous, 15 mile roundtrip, over 6000 feet elevation gain.

What: This hike is well known among Southern California mountaineers as one of the toughest to be found locally. Many use it as a training hike for bigger and better things in the Sierras and elsewhere. It leads into one of the most isolated parts of the San Gabriel Mountains. This region sees few human travelers, and is home to big horn sheep and several gold mines. People pan for gold along the East Fork. Our goal, however, is the summit of Iron Mountain, known to some as "Big Iron."

Where: The hike starts in the canyon of the San Gabriel River’s East Fork. We will follow a fire road briefly, then turn right onto the Heaton Flat Trail. This trail rapidly climbs up the east wall of the canyon into big horn sheep country. The chance is good that we will spot some. After following the ridge for a while, the trail turns off toward Allison Mine. We will remain on the ridge and climb straight up toward the summit of Iron Mountain, which looms above. The vegetation will change from low-elevation sagebrush to high-elevation lodgepole pines. The view from the summit is of West Baldy (Old Baldy’s lower twin) to the east, Mt. Baden-Powell to the west, and the San Gabriel River’s East Fork more than a mile below. We will return to the cars the same way.

When: Saturday, 5/6. Meet at 6:30 am at the trailhead, or 5:00 am at the A & E building. It’s roughly an hour and a half drive from El Segundo (appoximately 60 miles). Parking is at the end of the road next to the East Fork Ranger Station (see directions). We’ll meet near the cars. Lunch will undoubtedly be during the hike somewhare, as we will expect to reach the summit about 2:00. We will try to be back at the cars before sunset, which will be about 7:30 at that time.

Who: This hike is not recommended for beginners or children. It is strenuous and off-trail, so excellent conditioning and cross-country navigation skills are required. Leader pre-approval is required.

Bring: Lunch, sunglasses, sun hat, sunscreen, camera, and the remainder of the 10 essentials. Strongly recommended are lug-soled boots, long pants, a flashlight with spare batteries and bulbs, and at least 2 liters of water (3 is better). There are toilets at the ranger station but after that it’s bushes.

Weather: If it looks like it’s going to be stormy or wet, we’ll cancel. If it gets too windy or cold, we’ll quit early. If you have doubts about the weather, give Bruce or Jack a call Friday. Most likely the weather will be warm and sunny.

Car Pooling: Call either Bruce or Jack to make arrangements. We may meet at the A & E building to form car pools.

Topo Maps: Mt. San Antonio, Mt. Baldy, Glendora, California, all 7.5 minute series.

Directions: From El Segundo, take your favorite freeway (91, 10, or 60) until it meets the 605 freeway, then head north on the 605 to the 210 freeway, then go east. From the San Fernando Valley, take the 210 freeway east. Take the Azusa Ave. (highway 39) off ramp, at the bottom of the ramp turn left. Azusa (highway 39) will eventually split and become a one-way street for a while, then become a two-way street again just before leaving the city and entering the mountains. Highway 39 becomes a twisting, two-lane mountain road which follows the San Gabriel River canyon. About 10 miles after leaving the city, turn right onto East Fork Road, which can be identified by the prominent bridge over the canyon. Follow East Fork about 6 miles, then bear left at a Y. This road will dead-end in about two miles. Park at the end of the road. You should be next to East Fork Ranger Station.

Questions? Call: Bruce Corning- work: (213)333-3568 or Jack Cook - work: (213)333-5214 or home: (213)371-2706. e-Mail: <BCorn:LAX1B> or <JCook:El Segundo>.

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