Kino Peak, Cerro Pinacate, Mount Ajo, Baboquivari Peak


By: Roy Ward



21 people met at the junction of Darby Well Road and Arizona Highway 85 which is just South of Ajo, Ariz. This is reached by going South from Interstate 8 at Gila Bend on Arizona 85 thru Ajo, past the Copper Smelter, cross the railroad and past the slag heap, it is the first blacktop road turning West (Right). At 1.9 miles the blacktop ends, stay left for 6.5 miles then stay right on Main Road. 0.9 miles farther go left, at 2.9 miles go left, 0.2 miles enter Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. A large sign here states this fact. Stay on Main Road to right for 4.0 miles to Gray Ranch at Bates Well. Stay right. 0.3 miles, cross cattle guard at fence for 1.5 miles to faint road on left. 0.2 miles left and drive as far as you can. We quit at the wash and started hiking at 0830.

Take the Canyon running Northwest to South East from Growler Wash at BM 1290. South of Section 34. Hike to its head thru the letter 0 in mountains up to the saddle just east of Kino Peak. From this saddle there is a series of hidden ledges and' a trail of sorts that takes you to the ridge north of Kino. Run the ridge to the peak. There is a small amount of brush and some cactus. In fact several people were attacked by the jumping Cholla. Bill Russell was using a magnifying glass to see the spines to determine why they were so hard to pull out and the Cholla that he was observing jumped 4 5/8 inches to imbed itself in his finger. Barbara Lilly was going to assist by using rocks as pincers to remove it. The Cholla then attacked her, as she released it, 4 more spines entered Bill's finger. Tweezers were then used with much care, oh such is the price for scientific knowledge. A leisurely lunch on top and we started down.

An alternate route which some had used previously, was to park just West of Bates Well. Take the Wash South that runs thru the word Bates in Bates Mountains to the High Point at the saddle East of Kino Peak. Hike up chutes and ledges to the previously mentioned high saddle just East of Kino Peak.

We were back at the cars close to 1600 and off for South of the Border. Some chose to eat at the cafe in Gringo Pass in Lukeville. A few people picked up their tourists permits at the Border. I may add that you need proof of citizenship. From the Border stay straight ahead; at 2 miles highway 2 joins from the right, stay straight; 0.2 cross a bridge and take right fork on Mexico Highway 8 to Puerto Penasco. At 0.rmiles there is the tourist check station. At 30.6 miles there is a double concrete bridge. About kilometer sign post 51, 0.4 miles turn right onto a dirt road. There is a house and a sign parallel with the road that cannot be seen at night without turning onto the road saying Park Nationale Pinacate.

I had made a mistake on my write up and said about KM marker 58 was where to meet. I had cars scattered all over the desert but was able to round them up and return to the proper road. A short way up there was a flat area where we spent the night. It was very damp that night with fog and lots of dew but not too cold.

The next morning we returned to the road to see if any Stragglers had showed up. There was no one, some drove straight ahead past this first fork, 2.0 miles just over a drainage crossing and turned onto a side road. 4.9 miles later you end up in the yard of a small Rancho. Turn right into a small obscure road, 0.6 go left onto "Desert Pavement Type Area", 0.3 left and cross the stream bed. This required a little pick and shovel work. I didn't get the mileage to the end of the road, but I guess its around 5 miles. To the right of the peak and about 1/3 of the way up, there is a red outcropping or knob. The road ends at the base of this. We had to leave an LTD at the crossing due to the long overhang of the car.

At the road end park the cars and head for the peak. You cannot see Pinacate as it is behind Carnagie. Cross the lava beds of around the right shoulder of Carnagie. Ascend Pinacate either directly or by contouring around the slope to the low saddle between Pinacate and Carnagie. 2 of our party chose to climb directly over the top of Carnagie and were only a few minutes behind the rest of us in reaching the top.

18 of us made this peak. We had left the cars at 0900 and were on top at 1145. It was windy and cool on top and slightly hazy but you could see the crater of Elegante and the sea of Cortez.

On the way back to the cars we stopped and explored some of the lava tubes. Most people entered one tube about 6 feet high in most spots, 12 to 15 feet wide and 400 feet long past the place where it narrowed it opened up again but we didn't try to force it. There were many cactus, but only a few minor attacks except for the Ass't Leader who slipped and fell on one.

We caravaned out to the road and back to the Border. Some people ate in Mexico, some went to the Gringo Pass again and some of us went on to the campground at the headquarters of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. A charge of $2 per car was made. This ranger gets up early. One carload left after Pinacate. The weather was getting worse and that night it showered.

We met at the trail head of Bull Pasture Trail at 0700 which is on the Ajo Mountain Drive; a 21 mile loop drive East of the visitor center. The weather was cloudy, cold and windy. 14 people chose to do this peak while the others chose comfort. We hiked to the trail end at Bull Pasture, then cross country East to the Ridge and left up to the peak. I may mention that I have also done this peak from the bottom of Estes Canyon, but it is brushy. It also goes from Arch Canyon. We had started hiking at 0715 and were on top at 0945. It was windy and cold so we didn't spend much time on top. On the way down we all got to see a desert Big Horn, but couldn't get a good enough look to tell if it was a Ewe or a young ram. Ron Jones had seen another one on the way up. By 1245 we were back to the cars and off to Sells, Arizona.

Going East on Arizona 86 we were to meet at the cafe and Texaco Station at the turn off into Sells. The cafe wasn't open. There was a "Roach Coach" driven and operated by happy Paul who drove up and did a brisk business in hamburgers, coffee, etc. for a while though. I had to check in with the Indian Police to enter the closed area of Baboquivari. With this done and the hamburgers eaten we took off for Babquivari Campground.

From 86 turn right into Sells, at 0.7 miles go straight (road curves right) at 7.8 at Topowa there is an Indian School, straight on thru. At 3 miles turn left on good wide dirt road, stay on main road straight, several slide roads turn off this road until the main road curves left at 7.3 apprx. miles, sigh (Barely legible) to Baboquivari. At 0.9 miles take right fork, 0.5 miles take right fork, 1.8 miles go left over cattle guard, 0.6 take right fork, 1.0 miles take right fork, 0.2 miles you enter campground. Here we spent the night. The weather which up to now seemed to be getting worse started to clear up. After a cold night we were up at dawn and off 0630. Go East and left on an old road past a steel water tank, past a stone cistern on your right. About even with 2 large stone spires across the creek, there is an obscure trail that gets better after a ways. This trail is shown on the map and is in need of repairs. It goes nicely until you get into the trees high up under the peak itself. The route is up a kind of chute with the remains of an old ladder at the foot of the rocks. Ascend left up the friction slope and then the trail to the 80 foot class 4 wall. 16 were up this in a little over an hour, but it sure was cold in the shadow waiting to climb. We were on top by 11:15, spent 45 minutes then started down. We rappelled down the wall. A foot race between Mary Omsberg and Theresa Rutherford developed on the way back to camp. Had there been passing room it would have been even better. Back in camp by 1500. We caravaned to the Blacktop and then the long drive home.

Mileage estimates for Kino, 9 miles roundtrip and 1900 feet gain; Pinacate, 7 miles and 2700 feet; Carnagie, 400 feet no extra miles; Ajo, 6 1/2 miles 2400 feet; Babo, 13 miles and 42 feet; driving miles apprx. 1560 miles.

The following information is given for any who want to do Baboquivari. Babo is in a closed area on the Papago Indian Reservation and requires permission to enter. There is a $.50 per person per night camping fee. I sent them the camping fee in advance. Baboquivari is a sacred place to the Papago so care must be used to disturb nothing. Write for information to:

The Papago Tribe of Arizona
P.O. Box 837 Telephone (602) 383-2221
Sells, Arizona 85634

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