Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Supes: Flat Iron

Date: Dec 5-6, 2009
Destination: Flat Iron (Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ)
Who: Justin, Julia, Jeff, Jeonard
Details: Flat Iron is a short tough hike in the Superstition Mountains about 10 miles from my home. Hard work, gorgeous views, great exposure...incredible camp site!

Another "storage geek extreme hiking" adventure...well, there is a lot more extreme hiking out there than what we do here, but compared to data center's, storage array's, and grey cubicle farms, just about anytime we get outdoors it feels extreme :) I've hiked the "Syphon Draw" route several times to the Flat Iron and have always wanted to camp on top. Loree and I bike to trail head at least once a week...I always check these routes out...and finally found a group of weirdo's that would backpack this route with me! Thanks Justin, Julia, and Jeff.

** side comment: Jeff and Julia leave for Mt. Kilimanjaro "19,331 feet" in 2 weeks. This trip was a good opportunity to re-test all of their gear...and quads :) Rock on Guys and Good LUCK!!!

** side comment #2: Thanks for the blog help Loree!!! The picture collages turned out awesome!

I think Google Earth is one of the coolest pieces of software ever!! - I use the Garmin 305 to track our exact route, hiking time, speed, elevation change, grade, and distance...then export it to Google Earth and capture some 3D screen shots...yes, we are super geeks.

As you can see, this hike is pretty much UP. From trail head to the Flat Iron you gain 2,789 feet...most of that is in the last 1 mile.

Exact elevation gain plotted over distance...thanks Garmin Training Center.

Starting out.

Syphon Draw the top right is the Flat Iron
Most of these pictures were taken on Justin's iPhone! crazy...if he can get this good of pics with his phone, I am excited for him to suck it up and start packing the D-SLR!!

Left to Right - Leonard, Justin, Jeff, Julia.

After you pass through "syphon draw" towards the Flat Iron...things get really steep and rugged. "Hey, I got an email!" Yes, Jeff left is Bluetooth headset comfortable he didn't realize he still had it Nothing like scrambling up through desert cliffs and still getting 3G coverage :)

This proves I really thought we were closer to the top than we were...everyone asked me several times how much farther we had to go...I would always say just 20 more least 3 or 4 times...towards the end I picked up this log for firewood. I packed it quite a ways before realizing we weren't that close to the top...put it down for the next time we head up there.

Ok...if you follow my blog at all, you will know that when Julia/Justin/Jeff and I get together, it is usually not your average hiking trip. Once again, we are not at our camping spot before dark...although, sunset is beautiful.

Ahhhh...8 servings of Mountain House Chicken and Rice for the 4 of us!!! Man that was good...temp is in the high 30's, wind is blowing 10-20 mph, moon is coming up, and a great view of the city...phreaking cool!

What a night. Justin and Julia found that the 1$ hand warmers last 8+ hours and keep a sleeping bag really warm! Despite the wind, rain, sleet, hail, snow...those hand warmers made for a decent night. Not a lot of sleep...but at least we were warm. We still believe that our buddy Joe was in a drum circle praying to his Pagan god's that it would storm on us :)

5-10 feet close to the edge would make a killer base jump! One of the sweetest camping spots I have ever been in!

Have you have heard the old saying "bright eye'd and bushy tailed?" This is what it isn't!!! Notice the large bags/wrinkles under Justin's eyes...very funny!

Julia was having a good morning...if she only knew how the pancake breakfast would turn out...she probably would have slept in a bit more.

Ok, in my defense...I cooked pancakes in the beartooths with no problem! I brought 2lbs of pancake batter, a can of pam spay, and maple syrup. I was prepared!! Turns out the aluminum pan conducted heat a little too quickly, mixed the batter to thin, and pancake batter absorbs pam spay really matter how much I sprayed on the pan :( Thus... SCRAMBLED PANCAKES...I guess we were all hungry enough we just ate it anyway... LOL

View looking off the Flat Iron towards Apache Junction

Jeff and Julia, packed up and ready to head out. Scrambled Pancake smiles on their face! Summit hoodoo's in the background.

Wouldn't be a "storage geek extreme hike" with out Justin's "Short Bus" wave! I pulled these pic's of the video...took a while to step through each frame to find the worst/best clips :)

If you haven't checked out any of the videos...this one has a great view off the Flat Iron!

Heading back to the valley...just a few more yards and then you head down...down...down to the left.

Not an easy hike down. The rocks were super slick...making it much more difficult to hike out.

Justin 1/2 way down the trail, view back up towards the Flat Iron.

If you like beautifully maintained trails with joggers and kiddo's...this is not your trail. Add hiking back down in rain and sleet = great time. Took us 3 hours to hike up...3.5 hours to hike out.

Contimplating getting down through the steep wet rock in Syphon Draw...everyone fell/slid at least once. Julia show's everyone her war wounds to prove it...and she does have a few :)

Heading down into Syphon Draw. A bit farther down I make the comment that "man this is slick for me...must just be my shoes." At that moment Julia's feet slide right out from under her and she lands pretty hard...great timing Julia!

Good pic's and great scenery.

Another great backpacking trip! What an adventure...all the great components...crazy weather, some exposure, night hiking, and good friends. Whats Next???


  1. great blog post lenny! :) i especially love all your AWESOME collages ;) Love u!

  2. Once again uuuuh . . . WOW! I'd say that looks like fun but I'm not sure how "fun" it would be for me. lol

    Love the pics and videos. One of these times you guys will start early enough to get to your destination before dark. Maybe? haha