Snowy dayhike to Iron Mountain, Azusa, CA 2/27/18

Posted by Adventure 16 | 03.08.2018
by Joe Flores, A16 West Los Angeles Sales Associate

Iron Mt TrailHead Road
"Comfortable 50 Degree Weather," Said No LA Native
Surrounded by a dense fog, temperatures below freezing, with the peak nowhere in sight, adventure still called out to us. This is the story of Joe and Tim’s journey to Iron Mountain. We reached the Iron Mountain trailhead and began to prepare for our hike. As we were about to embark, we were confronted by a man who was carrying equipment to pan for gold. We exchanged a few words and laughs and we went our separate ways. Dressed for the colder weather we anticipated, we proceeded up the warm and dry trail. To our surprise, the sun’s warmth seemed everlasting. Three miles past the uncomfortable warmth, we began to see snow on the trail and noticed a drop in temperature. We layered up. 

Snowy Ridge LIne
Snowy Ridgeline To The Iron Giant
Joe and Tim
The Beginning of Something Awesome

With our body temperatures in a comfortable zone, we decided to have lunch and enjoy the winding Glendora Ridge Road cutting through the mountain landscape leading to the distant view of Mt. Baldy’s peak. We observed the direction of the snow clouds coming from the ominous Iron Mountain Peak and decided to press on. We soon discovered the winding trail was covered in Yucca plants that were sticking out at passing hikers. After a few pokes from the pestering plant, we decided to shed some layers in order to don our rain shells. I soon came to appreciate my Arc’teryx Beta SL Hybrid for the durable outer fabric and pit zips to help regulate my body temperature. The hike became more strenuous as the grade got steeper, and we were soon bestowed with snow fall.

Snowy Peak shrouded in mist
The Hidden Iron Throne
As Tim and I approached the ridge line leading to the base of the summit of Iron Mountain, we descended through a winding set of narrow and exposed switchbacks through a snow covered forest. We decide to attach micro spikes to our boots to ensure our safety and we continued on. We eventually emerged from the snow-covered forest, only to discover that we were in the middle of the snow clouds we had previously seen from a distance. Astounded by the dense clouds blocking our view of the distant surroundings, the adventure crew pressed forward toward the base of the peak.

                                                                  Snow Tunnelin' Tim

The clouds grew denser and snow began to fall harder, and with more coverage we grew worried knowing what the last mile consisted of. A two-thousand foot elevation gain via a mile-long scramble, normally enticed the adventure crew. But with the adverse weather becoming serious, we knew we would lose visibility and we would run into wet rocks. The scenery seemed something that came out of a horror film. Considering all factors, we reluctantly decided to head back. Our once well-defined boot prints soon became harder and harder to see as the snow clouds rolled in the direction of our retreat. 

A16 Hat covered with snow
A Tribute To My Adventure 16 Predecessors

The sun began to set and the clouds began to clear, so we decided to take a few photos. We were able to capture the transition of light to darkness and I decided to take a plethora of long exposure shots. With patience and good morale, nature awarded us with amazing shots. Pleased with what we took away from our venture, we reached the parking lot in complete darkness, with nothing but our headlamps to guide us. The newly invigorated team decide to plan to reach Iron Mountain’s peak by the end of the season.

black and white image of ridge
Patience Is Rewarding
Hazy Sunset On The Rocks