Iron Mountain via Mt. Baldy
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Iron Mountain is the most remote peak in the San Gabriels and is a challenging backpacking trip. Of the two acceptable ways to climb Iron Mountain, this is the longer yet much more enjoyable one.
Relevant Guidebooks & Maps
USGS Topo - Mount San Antonio
Same as "Mt. Baldy via the Ski Hut."
After the "warm up" climb up Mt. Baldy, the route follows the San Antonio Ridge through some of the most desolate country in the LA area. The final pitch to the summit of Iron Mountain is class 3 and fits well as the ending of a grueling full day climb. Follow any of the three routes to the summit of Mt. Baldy (Ski Hut, Bear Flat, or Devil's Backbone). From there, traverse to the western summit and continue walking along the ridge due west (a topo would be helpful here). Way down below, along the San Antonio Ridge, one can see the isolated massif of Iron Mountain. It looks like an impossible task for one day, but continue on. Be careful to stay right on top of the ridge line, because the bushes can get quite fierce off on the side slopes. After dropping down over two thousand feet, you will come to a saddle which seems to be the start of the long ridgeline over to Iron Mountain. From this saddle climb up over peak 7903 and across to peak 7758, which has an old orange tire on top. From there you drop down to the final saddle and begin the rocky and exhilarating climb to the summit. Be careful, for some of the pitches can be difficult with a full pack on. After a good ten or eleven hours of hiking, you will come out on the barren flat summit, which serves as a fine spot for camping. The view is wonderful. Enjoy it!
This hike should be done during the snow free months of the year, because when OTL leader Peter Leth did this in April, the snow along the upper reaches of the ridge proved to be "a real pain in the ass at times." There is a shallow bowl near the saddle between peaks 7903 and 7758 which serves as a nice wind sheltered spot for camping. Be prepared for two very long days, especially if you want to make it all of the way. 7am till 7pm should usually do it. (For those interested, some seriously insane day hikers have been known to do this hike in one day during the summer months.) Bring lots of water and check the weather. This hike is for the experienced hiker in good physical shape.
Edited by (in order): OTL Staff
Last updated: 05/22/2009