El Picacho del Diablo


By: Ron Jones



Sixteen years ago in November I made my first attempt on the DPS peak requiring the most mountaineering skill - Big Picacho. That trip, which five of us extended to six days, failed to gain the peak because we couldn't find the route to the summit from cedaroak camp. We did climb peaks 9100, 9600 and most of the Pinnacle Ridge. Three months later I took a group of seven and we made the first of my current 7 successful climbs.

It had been several years since my last venture into Canon Diablo and now the DPS can no longer sponsor trips into Mexico. This year I set up a private trip for a small group over Thanksgiving. There were three persons who earned their DPS emblems on the summit: Krista Knute, Jim Murphy and Steve Langley. Jim and I contributed champagne to the celebration on top, Krista brought up a box of Oreo cookies and Steve offered several of his ubiquitous Granola Bars.

The backpack up Canon Diablo was routine and strenuous. It is certainly more rocky now than in the 14 years before the hurricane of 1978. Some spots are perhaps 6 to 8 feet deeper than before. On our visit there was a hunting camp of Mexicans set up at the mouth of Diablito Canyon. I asked what they were hunting and the reply was, "Borregos". They reported having killed two.

The road through the Laguna de San Felipe is now best reached from a turn-off on the Valle de Trinidad road about 17 miles west of the Mexicali-San Felipe Highway. This is posted with a sign which reads , "Rancho del Sol", a government sponsored attempt at a ranching community at the north end of the dry lake.

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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