@leiper , I was there in May, 2013. Sadly, same experience, many people. But, the experience lingers for all the right reasons. Stayed awhile amongst the hubbub, wandered around people watching after leaving my stone from Australia. There was no disrespect from anyone, just different levels of enjoyment!
When we were there in June 2013 it was a cold, damp, dark day. There were 4 of us and when we arrived 2 other pilgrims were about to leave. It was a quiet, serene, place that was emotionally charged and will always live in our memories. It was a special place to leave your stone in rememberance of a loved one. I don't know how I would have coped if others were rowdy. Cruz de Ferro was foremost in our thoughts for several days before we approached it and after we left it behind us.
I was there on friday 16 may 2014, whe started that day early in the morning at Foncebadón, it was a quiet and pacefull moment on our camino to putt my stone at the foot off the iron cross with the moon as my whitness.
In September 2013 I found it uncrowned, respectful with a number of people with tears in the eyes. As with most things on the Camino, the earlier in the day you experience it the less crowded it will be.
It was quite busy when I was there in May 2015. I Stayed at Foncebadon the night before so I was a bit closer and aimed to get to the cross by about 7:30 am. That worked fine. Half a dozen others there... But it was starting to get noisy when I left 30-40 mins later.
Hola - unfortunately this "less than reserved approach" is becoming the norm. When I was there in 2015 in late Sept I was able to find time for quiet reflection, & found a good sole to take a photo. In May 2017 it was like down town Leon and the comments, not to mention what was left laying at the foot the cross does not bear mentioning. So I left my stone and carried on very disallusioned!