Pinnacte Crater

Christmas 1960

By: Trudie Hunt


Over Christmas Louise and Niles Werner, Marge and Bill Henderson, Tom. Trudie and Peter Hunt, Bob Boyd, and Parker Severson explored the Pinnacte Crater area of northwestern Sonora, Mexico. In two four wheel drive bright yellow Internationals we left the paved highway where the Senoyta-Punta Penasco road crosses the Sonoyta River. Using Randall Henderson's Desert Magazine article of January '51 and William Harnaday,s book CAMPFIRES ON DESERT AND LAVA, telling of his 1907 expedition into that area, we headed westward into the land of 500 volcanoes, utilizing crude roads perpetuated by San Luis and Sonoyta woodcutters in search of ironwood. For one week we saw no other person, only foxes, jackrabbits and plentiful evidence of bighorn and wild burro. Everywhere was found the trails and occasional implements and arrowheads of the Papagos who formerly inhabited the region. We never did find the tanks bearing their name but after several false starts did locate Etegante Crater, As we climbed the inconspicuous low ridge to the edge to look into the immense 610 foot deep hole a mile in diameter we experienced the same fueling of unbelief that one does when looking into the Grand Canyon. Bill Henderson discovered a 1st class route through the 50-100 foot band of continuous cliffs which at first made a descent seem impossible. Ever elusive was mighty three peaked Cerro Pinacate Crater. We got near enough for the Hendersons to climb both Pinacate and Carnegie Peaks (4460' & 4360') in a 12 hour 40 minute predawn start death march. Further exploration disclosed a crude road leading to the base of the mountain from which an easy climb (14 less miles) could be made, but torrential rains sent us hurrying to the better traction of the paved highway. We hope to return to find the nine impressive Sypes Craters, climb the peak and find the sacred cave of the Papagos where they deposited prayer sticks in its 200 foot depth.

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