Kino Peak, Mount Ajo


By: John Vitz


The team of Dumont, Haven, and Vitz made the long drive to Ajo, Ariz on Fri nite and tried to find Steve Smith the next morning. After waiting two hours for him we decided to leave for the roadhead. The correct route for Kino is not apparent from the map as the contours tend to be stacked atop one another. However they did look less awesome at the NE saddle. So for this point we headed and luckily found the route which we followed to the summit with little difficulty. Early Sun found us on the trail to Bull Pasture from which we hacked thru thorne and stickers of all varieties to the top of the south ridge of Ajo. Once gaining the ridge, we sprinted to the summit, being pushed on by the thought of that pleasant eight hour grind back to LA. Steve had had car trouble and so had climbed Ajo on Saturday, so said his note in the register. We came down via the brush-choked north fork of Estes Canyon. It took us almost as long to get off the peak as the ascent from the south. Both are wonderful peeks deserving DPS status, as they are in superb desert surroundings.

Route to Kino: The roadhead is at Bates Well, to the north of the peak, and reached by the Darby Well road running west from the highway south of Ajo town. Pavement ends at Darby Well but left fork is followed, for about l5 miles. Stay left at the one major fork some 7 or 8 miles out of Derby Well. Follow the canyon leading to the NE notch, passing a brush-choked area by means of a west wall, and go almost to the notch to a prominent ledge which runs south along the face. Turn here to the west, pass a waterfall by means of an arete, and then go north along a broad ledge to an easy, shallow chute which leads to the top of the north ridge.

Route to Ajo: Follow the trail to Bull Pasture Overlook, descend to the pasture and climb to the south ridge via any number of canyons which cut its west face. Follow the ridge north. An alternate route, less pleasant because of thick brush is the north fork of Estes Canyon to the saddle and then SE to the summit.

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