July 22, 2015
Located in between the popular Iron Mountain and Mt. Woodson in eastern Poway is North Iron Mountain, a small boulder-strewn summit which is often seen and rarely climbed. A small brushy use-trail heads up the south side of this mountain, ending at a 25 ft class 5 summit block which had yet to be surmounted as far as I knew.
|Peak||Elevation||Topographic Prominence||Summit Coordinates (lat/lon)|
|North Iron Mountain||2,703 ft||845 ft||32.992977, -116.960116|
Getting to the trailhead: This is the popular trailhead used for Iron Mountain, located at the junction of Highway 67 and Poway Rd. (address: 14909 CA-67, Poway, CA 92064)
Craig, Sung, and I started off from the bustling Iron Mountain Trailhead about an hour before sunset, hiking 1.8 miles to the southern side of North Iron Mountain via a network of well defined trails (see map). We left the well defined trail at a large slab (locally known as "Table Rock") at the southern base of North Iron. From there we picked up the small use-trail which could be easily followed up to the summit block.
From several previous visits (this was one of my local running spots), I knew this block was not easily climbable. Heading over to the west side of this block was a lower block which went halfway up to the higher block's height. Some light bushwhacking and a few easy class 3 moves were all that was required to surmount this block. From there my plan was to throw a 60m rope over the higher block and use a meat anchor belay.
west side of summit block
looking up from the lower block
studying the climb
I threw the rope a few times in a 10 minute period only to have it get stuck halfway up the larger block. 20 minutes of frantic tugging and whipping did nothing to get it unstuck, so I figured it was caught pretty securely on something solid. Since there was only about 8-10 ft of rock separating me and where the rope was caught, I decided to just grab onto the rope and climb it hand over hand, which turned out to be surprisingly easy with the sticky granite providing good leverage. Once up, I noticed the rope had snagged perfectly on a large chickenhead. I walked 7 ft over to tag the highpoint, wrapped a sling around the chickenhead, and rappelled back down to the lower block. Sung and Craig repeated the same thing with belays. Feeling very satisfied with our efforts, we packed up and retraced our steps to the trailhead.
the perfectly located chickenhead
looking back down at the lower block from the highpoint
1,400 ft gain/loss
North Iron Mountain