El Picacho del Diablo
By: Ron Fracisco
Our group of nine left from the ultimate 4-wheel spot at 11 am on Thursday (Thanksgiving). Upon reaching the waterfall, we were a bit disappointed to find that, while it was not as deep as some old timers have seen it, it was going to be a bear to navigate. We joined forces with another group led by Dick Ramirez and finally breached the wall via Dick standing on Ron's head. People pulled themselves up on ropes rigged on rocks and logs, then packs were pulled up and passed along "bucket brigade" style.
We proceeded uneventfully up the canyon, not finding it necessary to use ropes on any of the pitches. Members of the Ramirez party and of another group of two Holladays and Carl Reese walked along with us intermittently. Toward the campgrounds a mile or more of tangled fallen trees made the going very difficult and delayed us until nightfall on Friday.
Saturday morning we were hiking with daypacks by 6, started up the mountain by 6:30. Delores Holaday joined our party shortly afterward. We found the trail to the peak to be heavily ducked: seemed as if anyone could find his way up. We traveled with care, taking lots of rest breaks. Found ample supply of water at the spring. The first members of our party reached the peak by 12:30, rear enders about 1/2 hour later. The coast-to-coast view was spectacular!
Descending, we moved at about l000'/hour, and crested the last ridge just as darkness fell. The last stretch was navigated by picking up ducks in our flashlight beams. The major difficulty was, again, the fight thru the fallen trees to our camp.
Sunday we made a late start and camped about half way down the canyon. On Monday we were slowed at one spot where Bi11 Gray belayed the entire party down a steep pitch, and finally reached the waterfall at noon. We had been tipped off that there was still one high sling on the wall, and Dale van Dalsen managed to friction up and slip a rope thru. All of the party then rappelled down with packs, except for Keats Hayden who shot over the falls into the pool. This looked so good that most of the men climbed back up again and did likewise. We celebrated in San Felipe over starting out with nine and getting ten on the peak: then all out and home well and happy.
Members of the party not already mentioned were: Rita Gray, Kathy Quinn, Debby Woodward, Bob Michael, and Mark Hurst.
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