Picacho Peak, Orocopia Mountains


By: Dale Van Dalsem


We met in the big clearing 200 yds S of the Picacho Mine turnoff (locked cable, no access) on the Picacho road at 0615 & started the mile or so of X6 around the south side of the peak. Up the well-worn use trail to the top of the big notch on the west side. Zigzag up from the top of the notch via ledges. Up a 12 ft Cl 3 step, then the step-across (Good anchor locations for large hexes above the stepacross. Use one end of rope to belay first step, the other to belay the step-across; flow people thru both simultaneously.) More ledges, several false traile,~to the Overhang, a lOft overhang of rubble. Fortunately, the ladder was there, a green plywood, alternate-step make-shift affair which was held in place by binding twines We secured the ladder to a higher horn and belayed with another rope, were on the ridge in a few feet to the Cl 3-4 15 ft step-up (one or two bolts on top; run two parallel belays and rappels). Continue along summit ridge to The Drop-off, a 15 ft down-climb that is probably 5.0 Send back for the ladders Everyone (Almost) on the summit block (far end of the ridge, naturally) Register in big cemented-in cylinder. Gorgeous day. Short lunch. Start flowing everyone back. All back to the cars by 2:30 P.M. 18 did the summit block. Having 4 ropes (first two left fixed) enabled us to have four belay/rappel stations going at once. Could have used 5 or 6 ropes. Sour note: Note on windshield "Hi My name is Harry Ellis. Whether you know it or not you are trespassing on private property, or doesent (sic) keep out signs mean anything any more, If you are still here Monday the 9th I will have to file charges. for further info call 344-3362 Yuma" Future DPS and private trips should phone Mr. Ellis a week or two beforehand and ask permission to park (if denied, where should we park?). We then caravaned to the Picacho Store, bought vast quantities of Colorado Kool-Aid at $2.50 a 6-pak and most of us went swimming in the River.

Then North thru Indian Pass dirt road (slow & dusty, but good clearance) to Palo Verde. Good dinner at the place a couple of blocks off the highway, east across the lagoon(the name escapes me: something like "Harold & Maud's" but that isn't its) The cafe on the main road did not look too good. Off I-10 at Chiriaco Summit, W 1.2 mi on. old highway (now Pinto Rd.) left (South) down good dirt road to fork, crashed for the night. Good sandy campsites.

Up at 6, off at 7 after leaving low-clearance cars. Drove SE. Dead-end. Oops; should have scouted this roadhead last night or early this AM. Finally drove to a road end 1/2 N of Pk 2791 in section 28 of Hayfield 15 topo. (Wanted to be in section 34). We skirted the west end of the Pk 2791 hills & headed cross-country south thru interminable 79 ft-deep washes Which did not show on the 80 ft-contour topo. Down into the big eastward-flowing wash that drains Orocopia (Groan; lost all our previous gain of 250 ft.). West up this wash (good going except for one dry fall, but winding) Superlative navigation by the leader took us up onto the ridge 1/2 mile too far east but we were on and off the summit by noon, took the ridges almost due north on the way back and were at the cars by 2:30. Consensus: Picacho was great; Orocopia a grundge.


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

DPS Archives Index | Desert Peaks Section