Mount Ajo, Kino Peak, Cerro Pinacate

17-Apr-92 (CMC Trip)

By: Dale Van Dalsem


This was a late-breaking CMC trip, advertised in the Sage; a congenial 11 showed: Graham Breakwell, Judy Ware, Rayne and Mary Motheral, Evelyn Chadwell, Ron Grau, Rick Beatty, Ellen Holden, George Pfeiffer, Tom Moumblow, and Dale Van D.

We camped all three nights on the Darby Wells/Bates Well Road, driving to trailheads for each peak daily. The Encelia, a.k.a. Brittlebush, were in full bloom on the slopes of Cerro P as we did the 4WD road: 5.6 mi and 1.5 hrs of bone-jarring truck-destroying hell up and 5.6 mi & one hour of hell down, plus the hour in and hour out from the paved road to Red Cone.

Hike it from Red Cone! It's only an hour longer, round trip, & saves your truck & your body! Two out of three trucks got slow leaks after this route, probable cactus in tires. We did hike the peak, 42 min. up & 25 min down, however! Line 8 in the Guide should read: sweeping LEFT turn.

We had never been to Puerto Penasco, so we drove there and had a fair seafood dinner at a seaside restaurant. Better: get the Cerro Pinacate guide ($2?) at the Organ Pipe Cactus N.M. HQ first, then visit some of the other craters that can be driven to! We all brought passports per instructions. I told the Merdcali customs guy we were going to climb Cerro P & he waved us through, no permit. We had a good happy hour and campfire that night.

Saturday we did Kino from Bates Well on a hot day in the nineties, 8 hrs hiking and half hr on top. All ran out of water an hour or two before returning. Guide seemed a bit confusing, but we found the route O.K. I was too hot and tired to take decent notes to attempt a better description.

Some of us drove to the R.V park just north of Ajo & had hot showers ($.25 for each 2.5 min, no limit). We all had another good happy hour and campfire.

Easter we hiked Ajo, going up one of the two gullys on the north side of the main gully that ascends E of Bull Pasture Spring, coming down the use trail that contours around the high gully and drops down to meet the other route, We were off the peak by 1:30 P.M. for the long drive home.

Mileages from L.A. are too high in the Guide; Ajo is 415 from L.A., turning S froom I-10 at milepost/exit 112.

Ocotillo, Desert Mallow, and the many cacti were blooming beautifully, as well as the Encelia. Organ Pipe N.M. is one of the prettiest parts of the desert, and Ajo and Kino are both quality peaks!

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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