Cerro Pescadores, Pico Risco
By: Roy Ward
The driving instructions that had been mailed out said go south on Mexico 5 to kilometer post 25 turn west on a dirt road for 2 miles to start the hike. There was a problem. The kilometer post does not exist anymore. The closest one is KM. 30 so you back north 3 miles. There is a new problem; a barbwire fence is across the road. According to the information I have, it is illegal to cross a fence in Mexico without permission. So now to find the road, it is 16.1 miles south of the junction of highways 2 and 5. At about 15.9 they are building a big fancy hacienda-looking structure with a large what appears to be a sign, unfinished or labeled as yet, on the west side of the highway. John and Betty Wallin drove around it and it appears to be a gun club with a target range behind it. This may be the reason for fencing across the access road. Anyhow, 23 people met at the road head and a couple of workers at the above mentioned casa said they thought that it would be OK to go in. This we did taking 11 cars. We went in .4 mile, took the right fork and drove to the limit of our ability which was about 2 miles total. The road finally appears to disappear into a ground squirrel burrow. We managed to ding a flywheel cover on one car and pull the muffler off another before we quit. From the road end in the wash we could see a rock on the skyline to the west. That was our goal. We climbed up the wash through canyons and to the ridge, turn north at the big rock and about 3/4 miles north, there was the summit. Twenty-three people started and 23 people made the summit. After 30 minutes, we started down an alternate route. A canyon to the south of the summit headed out to the east. We descended over some small waterfalls, boulders, etc., then a large waterfall that requires climbing out and around to the south. When we reached the flats in the wash, we had to leave the wash we were in and cross over into the next one headed south. We were back at the cars by 1700, spent about 1/2 hour fixing cars to drive out.
Back to the highway and back toward Mexicali to meet again at the northwest corner of the junction. Here we gassed up, a little more car repair and finally we were off for Pico Risco; headed west on Mexico 2. About 20 miles from the junction, after coming down a winding section of road and into the north end of Laguna Salada, there is a sign indicating to turn south to Guadalupe Canyon. This road is muddy after a rain. About .2 miles farther, there is a Pemex gas station on the north side of the road, where we were stopped by a check station complete with armed soldiers etc. Each of us seemed to be asked for different items of contraband from guns, heroin, or marijuana. About 2.6 miles farther and easily missed, unmarked road heads south (22.7 miles from junction 2 and 5). As soon as you leave the highway on the dirt road, the road makes an turn to the right. 27.6 miles south there is a junction, turn right, there are signs to the Banos in Guadalupe Canyon. It is 7.1 miles from the last turn to the Banos. The 74 mile caravan took about 44 hours. The next morning looking up the canyon, you can see Pico Risco with the Virgin de Guadalupe on the south ridge. We stopped and paid our $2 per car fee. We ascended the canyon through the palms, which had a recent fire and burned all the skirts off and all of the underbrush away. The normal route is to go left when the canyon forks. We went about 1/4 miles up the right canyon then cut left up over the ridge as a variation to avoid some bouldering. Follow the canyon around the north side of the peak until you are west of the peak then go up through boulders, rock, etc. to the summit ridge. Next was the step across and we were on top. Eighteen people made this peak; we had lost 5 to other interests. We went down the canyon this time just to vary the route and were out in time to drive most of the dirt road in the daylight. Dark caught us just before we made the highway.
The weather was good for the whole weekend and it was a very nice trip. We may have to find a new route up Cerro Pescadores to avoid the fenced areas in the future. And if this is indeed a shooting club being built, then it would be even more desirable to find new routes. I almost forgot one item. On the Pico Risco climb we had one other climber who did not make the last 40 feet. We were accompanied from the Banos by a small dog. She seemed to like the climb or maybe it was the generous gringos with their day packs full of goodies that they were willing to share with a skilled beggar who could hear a daypack being opened from 50 yards.
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