Mount Ajo, Cerro Pinacate
By: Wally Henry
Because of illness, co-leader Sy Ossofsky and wife Ellen were unable to join us for the gala New Year's Eve party at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The wild party broke up about 10 pm as all the participants had gone to bed. This early bedtime probably had something to do with the unusually successful climbing on New Year's Day. 19 people climbed Ajo, 2 climbed Diaz, and 3 climbed class 5 Montezuma's Head. That evening the group left for Mexico where they were promptly turned back at a check point just south of Sonoita. Back at the border we dutifully obtained a Turista Card - no identification required, just your name. Back to the check point we went with our impressive piece of paper. This time a different guard waved our cars through without seeing the paper.
Camp was made after dark by a road that was thought to lead to the base of Pinacate. The next morning a four wheel drive vehicle with Paul Demes driving and Bob Kesselring navigating scouted the road ahead. Before the scouts returned the group tried to get started which resulted in all the American cars getting stuck in the sand and the expenditure of several hours to unstick them. At this point, several car owners reconsidered their ambition to climb Cerro Pinacate and returned to Arizona for an early start home. The scouting report then indicated that we were on the wrong road. A much better road got us to the roadhead by 11:30 and by 3 the fast moving group reached the peak and was rewarded with a view of, the Gulf of California. A little wine was guzzled to celebrate George Davis' attaining emblem status. Special thanks are extended to Harry Brumer for his help in leading the trip.
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