Nonstop Up Big Iron

Shooting for a PR up Big Iron’s ‘trail’…

Final Stats:

14 miles, 7100 ft

Click for more stats

I knew if I did Iron ever again via the standard south route, it would be to try to see how quickly I could get up. Otherwise, I would prefer to take on more exploratory routes.

Well that day ended up being yesterday, partly because I knew a meetup group was heading up there, and I was able to get a few hiking buddies to go with me who wanted to try the same thing. The day was reasonable in temperature as it ended up being around 50-60 degrees the whole way up, so I was able to pare down to a reasonable 5 liters of water for the hike.

My general goal was to get under 3 hrs, but really just try to goal all out while ‘hiking’. So my stipulations were to 1) stay on the established trail and 2) not run. And I did have Rick Kent’s time in the back of my mind.

Steve, Fernando, Scott and I left the parking lot at 7:15 am. I maintained a brisk walking pace, and continued up to the first saddle non stop ~ 30 min later. Here we took a brief stop.

I really didn’t want to stop to long, so we continued on shortly after, switchbacking up and going across the undulated ridge that eventually hits Coldwater Saddle 4.4 miles in. This ridge was even more annoying this time only because I wanted to get done with it as quickly as possible to start the real pain up Iron’s south ridge.

We got to the saddle in 1hr20min, and stopped for a minute. Scott wasn’t feeling well and decided to rest there; us 3 left kept going. I didn’t look at the time again until the top; I knew I just wanted to push. I was feeling pretty good up to this point. Of course it gets really steep immediately after the saddle, but I was able to keep my legs chopping at a seemingly good pace.

Eventually I was just breathing really hard, perhaps for the last 2000′ or so. It all looked like this at that point!

Heading up Iron Mountain from Zé Apelido on Vimeo.

My legs were starting to feel it pretty bad. My right calf and a random ankle dorsiflexor were stiffening up almost begging to cramp, but they didn’t. I felt like I was slowing down a little. I met up with Dave G 500-1000 ft below the summit very briefly then continued up. I couldn’t wait to be done moving. At that point, I started to get a little extra push and was back at my pace. I finished off the last few hundred feet very hard and breathing VERY deeply. When I got to the summit I just dropped my bag and just stared at the ground for a second. Zach was there; he heard my breathing just before and was probably thinking “WTF is that?”.

I looked at my GPS and got Moving Time: 2:35 + Rest Time: 2 min = 2hr37 min. I was pleasantly surprised!

Fernando summited perhaps 10 min later, and Steve after that (included taking care of business along the way up). We hung around for a good while as the meetup group hikers made it up.

Zach and Dave G were planning on heading over to Baldy. While people were chatting I took a jaunt along SA ridge going down and over a few bumps. There was snow on the north side but it seemed mostly avoidable. I took some scout pictures and headed back up.

After some brownies, we headed back down.

Descending Iron Mountain from Zé Apelido on Vimeo.

Today, for the first time on an Iron hike, I’m not sore. For me, it’s time to retire the south ridge.

Related posts:

Mt. Lawlor to Vetter Mtn. Lookout
Attack of the Cholla - Ascent of Villager & Rabbit Peaks
Sequoia National Park - Alta & Panther Peaks

Submit Article :- BlinkList + Blogmarks + Digg + +

Tags: , ,

This entry was posted on Sunday, January 10th, 2010 at 9:16 am and is filed under Trip Report. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Nonstop Up Big Iron”


Thor April 19th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Excelent Post/Pictures.

I drove to this hike yesterday, and after a few hours was unable to locate the origin of the Iron Mountain Hike. I was hoping you could provide me with a few details. Thank you.

1. Is there a marked entrance/parking area to where the trail starts?
2. Is it a marked hike with trail markings, or is GPS mandatory to get back?

Thank you very much for your help. Thor


April 20th, 2010 at 11:17 am

Hi Thor,

Were you able to find the parking near East Fork ranger station?

After parking in the east fork parking lot, you have to walk ~ 1/2 mile on fire road until you get to Heaton Flat…here is there is an outhouse and on the right you should see a Trail sign indicating distances to Coldwater Saddle. You take this trail up.

Most of the hike is not marked… although I think there is a clear use trail all the way up and back. I would suggest at least having a map and compass just to be safe.

Sami Hashem

Sami Hashem November 9th, 2010 at 11:27 am

Did this hike from the parking lot to the summit with my friend Mike Carmody. Arrived at the summit around sunset. Beautifull scenery, Tough long hike, but very rewarding, very serene. Descended with headlamps, no one elso on trail. The summit at sunset, with the inland empire blanketed by low clouds,and scattered clouds above made for great pictures.


FIGHT ON November 9th, 2010 at 4:56 pm

He’s only interested in trails that go into closed areas. Trespassing is his MO! ZEMO? THAT’S IT! HEY ZEMO!

Leave a Reply