The Ironclads from Bunce School, 06/05/2005
Coming from Lyons on highway 7, after reaching the Peak to Peak highway, we turned left at Bunce School, and parked a few tenths of a mile after that at the first big pulloff on the Bunce School Road. In the few minutes it took us to prepare to leave our truck, the big clearing in the forest where we parked became packed with 4-wheelers, motorcycles, and gun totin' bubbas. We began hiking at 10:29 in a northwesterly direction to point 8851, intermittently through forest and along forest roads. It wasn't necessary to go to point 8851 to get to the Ironclads, being just an arbitrary point on the landscape, but we wanted to see how easy it would be to find such a USGS marker. Turns out its pretty easy with a GPS, having spent just a couple of minutes looking after we got close to it(see point list below), getting there at 11:13. The USGS marker was placed there in 1913, but was in good shape and not covered by brush or fallen trees. From 8851, we continued heading northwest to Peak 9331, stopping at a knob along the way (40.17418 105.48995 elev 9289) to take a picture of Peak 10181 to the southwest.
Upon reaching Peak 9331 at 11:43, Stefan immediately recognized that the rocks on this bare ridge were Iron Dike rocks. It was our old friend the Iron Dike. We had come across this unique iron rich igneous intrusion in the past, on Steep Mtn, at Hidden Valley, and in the Beaver Mtn/Tombstone Ridge area, all in RMNP. We walked the length of the ridge that makes up Peak 9331, and which is part of the Iron Dike. Besides the Iron Dike, Peak 9331 is also great for views of the south ridge of Mt Meeker, Mt Alice, and the north side of the Ironclads. On leaving Peak 9331, we followed its ridge south before we had to turn left to ascend the Ironclads.
The Ironclads is an impressive series of granite domes. We made our way to the northeast side of the Ironclads, first ascending the northern knob, then the middle knob being the high point of the Ironclads. Here there was a very old summit register deposited by Mike Garratt in 1986. It was very moldy inside, making the register unusable. We replaced it with a new one and removed the old one. We later called up Mike and asked him if he wanted his old register. At 14:07 we reached the top of the third Ironclad knob, being point 9167. Our GPS showed the elevation of this knob to be 9199 with an accuracy of 15 feet. We descended the Ironclads at its southwest side just after knob 9167 where there is a narrow passage between steep granite walls. On the western side of the Ironclads, at its southwest corner, we again found the Iron Dike (see point list).
For our return we headed southeast to the forest road (Bunce School Rd) and followed it back to where we parked. This area is packed with 4-wheelers and shooters. We returned to the truck at 15:50.
Total trip distance: 5.4 miles.
Total trip time: 5 hrs, 21 minutes.
Point list from Forest Road parking near Bunce School to the Ironclads
Parking location 40.17123 105.46979, elev 8336, acc 36 ft
USGS marker at point 8851, 40.1731 105.4842
Peak 9331, Iron Dike 40.1753 105.4931
North end of Iron Dike ridge of Peak 9331 40.17600 105.49338, elev 9361 ft, acc 12 ft
South end of Iron Dike ridge of Peak 9331 40.17437 105.49280
Our most southern point on Iron Dike before going off to Ironclads, 40.17299 105.49223, elev 9266, acc 16 ft
Ironclad Point 1 (IC1) 40.1714 105.4895
Ironclad Point 2 (IC2) 40.1688 105.4883
Ironclad Point 9167 40.1659 105.4869
Iron Dike at southwest corner of Ironclads 40.16262 105.48882, elev 8739 ft, acc 19 ft
Forest Road point 40.1647 105.4798