Iron Mountain (Los Angeles County)

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Iron Mountain
Iron Mountain - San Gabriels.jpg
Iron Mountain seen from above the East Fork, San Gabriel River
Elevation 8,010 ft (2,441 m) NAVD 88[1]
Prominence 687 ft (209 m)[1]
Listing Hundred Peaks Section[2]
Location Los Angeles County, California, U.S
Range San Gabriel Mountains
Coordinates 34°17′18″N 117°42′46″W / 34.2883367°N 117.7128348°W / 34.2883367; -117.7128348Coordinates: 34°17′18″N 117°42′46″W / 34.2883367°N 117.7128348°W / 34.2883367; -117.7128348[3]
Topo map USGS Mount San Antonio
Easiest route Very strenuous hike, class 1[2]

Iron Mountain is a mountain in the San Gabriel Mountains of Los Angeles County, California. Sometimes referenced as Iron Mountain #1 or Big Iron, the 8,007 ft (2,441 m) peak was originally called Sheep Mountain by the early miners in San Gabriel Canyon because of the large bands of bighorn sheep that roamed the slopes. The United States Geological Survey, which mapped the San Gabriels in the 1890s, ignored the local designation and gave it its present name. According to Will Thrall, there was once a USFS plan to change the name back to Sheep Mountain in 1940. The mountain is at the heart of a federally designated wilderness area, called the "Sheep Mountain Wilderness" in reference to the original name.

While this mountain is far lower in elevation than other Southern California summits, it is the most difficult mountain to claim in the entire region. There are no water sources on the mountain, unless one finds snow. There are no maintained trails, the summit is seldom visited, and the climb is of about 6000 vertical feet (1,800 m), much of it at a 30° to 50° angle on loose soil, decomposed rock, or through brush. Some approaches to the summit require high degrees of rock-climbing skill. One route over the ridgeline from nearby Mount San Antonio is long, difficult, and dangerous. The south mountain slopes in summer are directly exposed to the sun. Some climbers stay at the ruins of the Allison Mine about 3,900 feet (1,200 m) below the summit. There are no facilities of any kind on the mountain.

Climbing statistics[edit]

  • Distance: 14 mi (23 km) round trip on trail and cross-country[2]
  • Gain: 7,200 ft (2,200 m) total, 6,600 ft (2,000 m) out plus 600 ft (180 m) on return
  • Time: 10 to 12 hours round trip
  • Rating: class 1 but very strenuous


  1. ^ a b "Iron Mountain, California". Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  2. ^ a b c "Iron Mountain #1". Hundred Peaks Section, Angeles Chapter, Sierra Club. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  3. ^ "Iron Mountain". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-08-06.