Palo Verde Peak, Picacho Peak
By: Dave Jurasevich
On Saturday, February 22nd twelve of us met at the junction of the White Wash Jeep Trail and Picacho Road to caravan to the starting point for Little Picacho's Route B as shown in the 3rd edition DPS Peaks Guide. Climbers included Richard Carey, Kathleen Mazur, Fred Bright, Pat Rigney, Russell Glavis, Suzanne Booker, Ken Olson, Mark Adrian, Les Hill, Doug Hatfield, John Strauch and myself. We followed Route B on the climb, choosing the line up and over the false summit block instead of opting for the pitch through the "window" beneath the block. A few of us (leader included) took time to "pose" upon the porcelain toilet bowl fixture found on the false summit. I wonder who lugged that thing all the way up there and why? Anyway, all twelve made the summit in good form and enjoyed a long rest on the top before heading back down. Congratulations to John Strauch, who met the requirements for his DPS emblem on the peak. Good job John! For Pat Rigney it was her second DPS peak, you could say she's starting at the top and working her way down. The return over the false summit was facilitated by two etriers clipped end-to-end and a top roped belay. The remainder of the moves went well and we got back to the cars in the late afternoon. A special thanks to Les Hill and Fred Bright for providing their rock climbing expertise in setting up portions of the climb and keeping the whole thing moving. Establishing camp in the desert a bit N of Little Picacho that evening, we feasted on a Mexican potluck meal of homemade tamales, quesadillas, soup, Mexican pasta salad, margaritas and Corona beer. The evening was capped off with a campfire complete with tall tales and after-dinner drinks. Smoking of Panamanian cigars was also noted among a few participants.
Sunday morning a smaller group consisting of Richard, Kathleen, Ken, Mark and I set off for Palo Verde Peak. Les Hill, in quest of a list finish next year, drove off to climb Big Maria and Russell and Suzanne went to join a DPS trip in progress on Castle Dome. The climb of Palo Verde Peak was short (1000 feet elev. gain and 2 mi. RT) but interesting. We ascended via a Class 2 wash to the summit ridge, then N along the ridge (exposed and knife-edged in spots) to the top. See inset map. The descent route was made via a loose Class 2 chute just S of the summit, making the peak a 2 hour RT climb. Driving directions to the start of the climb are as follows: From the junction of State Highway 78 and County Highway S34 (12 miles NE of Glamis) drive 16.4 miles N on Highway S34 to the signed Milpitas Wash Road. Turn left (W) and drive 0.9 miles on excellent dirt to the signed Palo Verde Road. Turn right (N) here on a fair dirt road and go 3.7 miles to where you'll see a large, rocky wash on the your right leading up toward the peak. Park (This parking spot is indicated with an arrow on the inset map). Climbing instructions as follows: From the parking spot the peak is at bearing 130". Ascend to the obvious summit ridge. Turn left and walk to the chute just right of the peak, taking it to the top.
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