Picacho del Diablo, Spring 05

bajaandy - 12-13-2004 at 10:30 AM

I'd like to start planning a trip for March or April, depending on snow pack. Typical 4 day trip: Camp at the car first night, Campo Noche second night, climb the peak then back to Campo Noche third night then hike out and drive home.
Anyone interested?

bajalou - 12-13-2004 at 11:53 AM

I have a friend here in San Felipe who has been dieing to climb Diablo but needs coimpanions. If you will u2u me your Email add, I will pass it on to him.


Satellite Man - 12-13-2004 at 01:58 PM

Sounds like an awesome trip!! I?d like to hear (and see pictures) more about your trip when completed.

In the mean time I?ll have this picture to keep me company. :)

Satellite Man - 12-13-2004 at 02:02 PM

bajaandy - 12-13-2004 at 03:40 PM

Hey Sat Man!

Thanks for the image. Way cool.
Hey, are you planning to get some of this swell that's headed our way this next weekend?
I'll be headed down to the Sisters to see what we can pick up. Been pouring over my Pta Blanco image that I got from you just to get prepped.
Keep the stoke!

Satellite Man

cristobal - 12-13-2004 at 03:42 PM

Now ... If I just knew what I was looking at with your picures ....:bounce::o;D
Great PICs ... by the way ....:bounce:


Satellite Man - 12-13-2004 at 06:25 PM


I?ll be catching the surf in San Diego. It looks a BIG swell!

Couple of my friend went down to ?The Wall? for this last swell. I haven?t heard from them yet. I?m sure they had a great time or maybe they will hang out for this next swell. Wish I could be around the Seven Sisters.

I?m glad your are using the print to get exited about your trip. It?s always cool to see how people enjoy the prints.

I?d really like to see some pictures of your surf trip. So, don?t forget to post some. This way we can share in your stoke!


The first image is an over view of my 24?x36? satellite print of Picacho del Diablo. The mountain is right in the middle of the print.

The second is a closer look at the area.


David K - 12-13-2004 at 11:02 PM

BajaAndy, this is a Diablo climbing web page that I have linked on my site, perhaps interesting to you:

Christobal: the close up image is Diablo Canyon, which seperates Diablo mountain from the rest of the Sierra San Pedro Martir. The twin peak of Diablo is just off the top right corner of the close up image. The observatory is on the left side of the canyon, but north of the top edge (left of center) of the map. Cool to see a dusting of snow!

Thanks David!

bajaandy - 12-14-2004 at 10:40 AM

I have read that particular report and many others in preperation for this trip.
I have yet to determine an exact date for the climb, but hopefully in early spring before it begins to warm up, and yet late enough that there won't be snow on the climb.
Although a climber for life, and a true Baja aficionado, I have yet to travel in the mountains of Baja. I have climbed in mainland Mexico, and all over the Sierra and Cascade range, yet somehow I've left a jewel sitting here in my own back yard for years.
Thanks again for the link. Any and all information is welcomed!

bajaandy - 12-24-2004 at 10:00 AM

Desert Rat,
Check out this link.
It has a map with waypoints posted for the Western approach. There are also links to other reports and maps for the Eastern approach, but I'm not sure about waypoints for that route.

My 2 cents

Don Jorge - 3-3-2005 at 08:52 AM

I would like to do this hike also. I am a bit worried about leaving a vehicle at the trailhead, especially my vehicle. Credible reports recommend dropoff and pickup.
Also, I think trailhead to Campo Noche is a bit much. I would prefer an overnight stop on the way up and down. 2 up, one to summit, 2 down. I would like to take some time and enjoy the hike, take some pics, not just bag a peak.
Early to mid April if weather permits.
OK, what do you all think?

bajalou - 3-3-2005 at 09:15 AM

If you take a east side approach, I probably could help with a drop off/pick up deal from the El Dorado comunity. Vehicles pretty secure down here.


Muchas Gracias BajaLou! NFM

Don Jorge - 3-3-2005 at 09:35 AM

bajaandy - 3-3-2005 at 11:53 AM


I'm talking West side approach. No way I would try to do Campo Noche from the East side in one day. But from the West it is not that far, just a l o n g way down. Looks like snow is going to be a problem this year, so I may put off the trip 'til the route is in good shape. I'm not really interested in a mixed climb on this mountain.
I had not heard the reports of vehicle safety (or lack thereof) parked at the West side trail head. Are you referring to the East side?
Once again, anyone interested in making this climb drop me a u2u and we'll get something in the works... dates, etc.

Don Jorge - 3-3-2005 at 02:34 PM

Sorry. I was refering to the eastern approach. I like the idea of the eastern approach, desert to the peak through a beautiful canyon. Also, traditionally, the eastern approach opens up first, less snow and ice. I'm with bajaandy, I am not interested in technical shenenigans. So if its not reasonable to do it in April, I too can wait till May, but let's see what info we can gather first.
I am hoping April 9 or 16 as start dates, eastern approach.
I will try and get down that way in a couple of weeks and check it out. Also, many Mexican climbers will try the climb over Semana Santa and there should be some feedback before those dates.
Dez Rat, if you need a ride from the airport
San Diego or SNA works great for me and I will be happy to help.
I u2u'd email addys to you guys. Anyone else interested?

expeditionswest - 4-16-2005 at 09:14 PM

Any snow updates?

I leave for the mountain next Thursday...:bounce:

bajalou - 4-17-2005 at 08:42 AM

Last tuesday, snow was still visable from the floor of the valley but the weather is warm so should be melting fast.



Don Jorge - 4-20-2005 at 06:32 PM

I have never met Desert Rat. I have never met BajaLou.

Somehow, through this board where we are now after the Amigos board, through shared stories and information, we managed to put a trip together. DR leaves Texas manana, I hook up with him on Saturday in Calexico and we drive to meet up with BajaLou.
BajaLou has so kindly offered to drive us to our base camp and Sunday we begin an attempt to summit Diablo. I have been wanting to climb that mountain for a long, long time. Just didn't want to do this one alone, and i do many hikes alone.
So, through the wonders of this internet thing, fellow hikers and dreamers hookup and the adventures continue.

If I make it to the top, I am going to say hello to my dad, for a brief moment I will be in heaven with him.

Thanks to all who post on this board and care about Baja.

David K - 4-20-2005 at 06:39 PM

Here's Baja Lou the day I met him near Parral Canyon, 4-04.

I posted a photo of DR in the other thread about the CODE 200, I think...

bajalou - 4-20-2005 at 07:30 PM

Here's Desert Rat as he headed out for last year's assualt on Diablo.

Well the attachment didn't.

[Edited on 4-21-2005 by bajalou]

wornout - 4-21-2005 at 01:20 PM

Originally posted by bajalou
Here's Desert Rat as he headed out for last year's assualt on Diablo.

Well the attachment didn't.

[Edited on 4-21-2005 by bajalou]

Hey, there's Desert Rat heading for Diablo. That's my dune buggy, hey, that's me driving him there. Look forward to seeing you again DR....wornout

jide - 4-21-2005 at 04:10 PM

anybody heading to picacho next week?

David K - 4-21-2005 at 04:54 PM

Jide, I liked "So much Baja, so little WINE" much better as your signature!

Will you be at the book signing again this Saturday? Hope to see you there!

[Edited on 4-21-2005 by David K]

jide - 4-21-2005 at 05:05 PM

I'd love to go but I have to be back in SD by 4pm , so looks like I won't be able to make it... last year was great, wine tasting, got to meet the author of the "Surfing Guide to Baja", got to meet Graham Mackintosh too!!

so WORD OUT people, make the trip there, it's worth it!!!!

expeditionswest - 4-24-2005 at 11:14 PM

The route around Blue Bottle and down to Camp Noche was not passible for our team. We had insufficient rope length and webbing for the long snow and ice traverses. The NE face of Blue bottle still has a several foot base. It took us 3 hours to go less than .5 miles along the face. The last obstacle would have required a 100+' traverse of a snow shelf with granite below and 50'+ of exposure.

This last challange exceeded the comfort of 3 out of the 4 in the team. So we turned back and climbed Blue Bottle and looked longingly at our goal from across Del Diablo canyon...

As soon as we reached camp the next morning (yesterday 4/23), it began to snow heavily. There was nearly 2" of snow on the ground before we broke camp. I was thankful not to be still on the mountain...

Just thought some of you would appreciate the update.

Oh and the road from Mike's to Melling's is rough, but TONS of fun with the right vehicles. The wildfowers are beyond description!

I will post pictures soon...

[Edited on 4-25-2005 by expeditionswest]

bajaandy - 4-25-2005 at 07:09 AM

Thanks for the current update. I had somewhat suspected that there would still be snow and ice this late in the season, but not enough to cause that much trouble. Looks like this season will extend well into May and June this year. A far cry from what's happening up in the Pacific Northwest. I hear that many of the cascades will have a severly shortened season due to low snowfall. El Nino lives.

bajalou - 4-25-2005 at 07:31 AM

Desert Rat and Don Jorge begin the climb from the east, up Diablo Canon at about 3:30p Sat the 23rd.

We'll see how they fare.


expeditionswest - 4-25-2005 at 07:40 AM

Originally posted by bajalou
Desert Rat and Don Jorge begin the climb from the east, up Diablo Canon at about 3:30p Sat the 23rd.

We'll see how they fare.


That route looked pretty clear. There was some snow visible in the gully's used to climb to the peak, but it was minimal. I was certainly wishing we had come in that way;)

expeditionswest - 4-25-2005 at 08:47 AM

Here is a small photo album from the trip. Just a few teasers ;D

Picacho Attempt

wornout - 4-25-2005 at 07:01 PM

Originally posted by expeditionswest

Oh and the road from Mike's to Melling's is rough, but TONS of fun with the right vehicles. The wildfowers are beyond description!

I will post pictures soon...

[Edited on 4-25-2005 by expeditionswest]

Would love to hear more about the road conditions.... ;)

expeditionswest - 4-26-2005 at 12:04 PM

Any high clearance stock truck or SUV can complete the route (Tacoma, Wrangler, Xterra, etc.). There are a few locations that would be more of a challenge for a full-size truck, as there are several large boulders that have rolled into the trail. It would be a tight fit and some are on the shelf road. With an experienced driver even the full-size trucks will be ok.

It was a beautiful drive. :tumble:

wornout - 4-26-2005 at 08:08 PM

OK, thanks

bajalou - 4-29-2005 at 01:30 PM

The two climbers who went up the East side have returned safely and are on their way home.

I'll leave it to them for the trip reports.



Don Jorge - 5-1-2005 at 08:45 AM

to everyone who made our trip such an enjoyable and safe adventure. BajaLou & Tina, Wornout and Debbie, Jim! What can I say, you fed us, gave us transportation to and from the trailhead, invited us to your party and put us up in a nice home for an evening. Con todo mi carazon, gracias!
As for the trip, we did not make the summit, few do the first attempt. We made Campo Noche and points higher but El Diablo had his way with us in the end.

What a butt kicker of a hike! Rocks, high water, poison oak, overgrown willow and brush everywhere making for rock climbing/route finding problems to be solved at many points. At 7000 feet, giant agave growing side by side with cedar, pines, cypress, manzanita and barrel cactus. A full moon which lit up the canyon as on fire the first night and the last night a ceiling of stars almost as bright.

And everywhere, water, water, water in a desert canyon and we saw noone else the entire 6 days!

The first days hiking brought rain and gale force winds knocking one backwards if you were not very careful and the following 5 days brought ideal weather, cool, sunny days and crisp, clear nights for sleep.

Dez Rat: Hiking with you was a most enjoyable experience. You have the heart of a lion, the will of a terrorist and the soul of Atticus Finch. Your children are very lucky to call you Daddy!

I think D?Rat is home by now after a long bus ride and I hope to hear his report soon! Post your story amigo!

Once again, thanks to all! Godspeed and Godbless!

[Edited on 5-1-2005 by Don Jorge]

[Edited on 5-1-2005 by Don Jorge]

bajalou - 5-1-2005 at 09:00 AM

Glad you're home safely, Don Jorge.

It was a pleasure to meet you and give the slight assist we could. Great to have even a slight part of such an adventure.

DR, let's hear your side of the story.


Desert Rat - 5-1-2005 at 01:20 PM

Did we reach the summit of Picacho? The answer is, "No!" Did we have one heck of a memorable adventure? The answer is, "Yes, it was fan-damn-tastic!" I could not have picked a more accomodating, patient, understanding hiking partner as Jorge. Without his excellent climbing and trail knowledge, I wouldn't have reached my secondary goal of hiking the entire canyon. Thanks Jorge, for all that you did for me!

And to all the others who helped us on our way, I can't express my thanks any better than the words of Jorge. Lou, Tina, Wornout, Debbie, Jim---you are El Dorado's finest! Once again you have shown me great hospitality and support and sought nothing in return. I am humbled by your graciousness. Thank you, one and all.

In time, I hope to re-create our adventure for you all, but at the moment I am in the process of recovering from the exhaustive bus ride, not to mention the physically demanding hike. Until then! Dez Rat

bajalou - 5-1-2005 at 03:16 PM

Glad you made it home on that loooong bus rid DR, I'm waiting for your great trip report.


Don Jorge - 5-4-2005 at 08:18 AM

Talked to Dez Rat. Says he is just about recovered form the trip and will post day a trip report soon.

The day we tried to summit, Dez Rat and I first acsended Night Wash. D'Rat stopped there, wisely opting out. I went on. I made it to Wall Street via Slot Wash. My planned time was way off so I aborted the attempt so as not to worry D'Rat by arriving into campo Noche as dark neared. I descended to Slot Wash, checked out the campsites there by the water, they are nice , and crossed over to West Face Wash which I descended into Diablo canyon just a few hundred yards north of Campo Noche. Arrived there at 1600 as promised to D?Rat.
Check out my pants from sliding on my arse down the coarse granite in West Face Wash. Poor Dez Rat followed me down looking at this!

Red Rock Pool

Don Jorge - 5-4-2005 at 08:26 AM

Lots of water up there androcks, rocks, so many rocks.

Map of Climb

David K - 5-4-2005 at 08:29 AM

Thanks Jorge... For those not familiar with the route (and the names), here is a link to excellent maps showing both routes: The western and eastern (that you and Rat took):Climbing Diablo Maps

Don Jorge - 5-5-2005 at 07:26 AM

On the first full day of hiking, at about 3000 feet elevation, I was busting trail and about to step down on this rock when I noticed Sargent Red had already claimed this trail as his.

As hikers know, red diamondbacks are very non-aggresive rattlesnakes and this daddy was true to type. He never rattled, coiled or even acknowledged our prescence. We used the moment to stop and broke for lunch, eating our meal 10 feet away from Sgt. Red. We finished lunch and went around that rock leaving Sgt. Red as he was. Live and let live in peace.

Why do I call red diamondbacks Sgt. Red?
Because invariably when I see one on the trails they always command me to attention and order an about face! Yes Sir!

wornout - 5-5-2005 at 09:28 AM

Don Jorge and Desert Rat, thanks for the stories, glad you guys are back home safe and sound. That was me who honked as we saw you at the last minute, in Mexicali, when you were getting fueled up at the Pemex.

Re: Sgt. Red

allanbartlett - 6-27-2005 at 05:03 PM

That is actually a speckled Rattlesnake and not a red diamondback. The red diamondbacks have a well defined black and white banded tail and the speckleds have a kinda faded black and white tail. A very impressive specimen nonetheless. The are actually three speciaes of rattlesnakes in the canyon there. You have red diamondbacks, speckleds, and Southern Pacific Rattlers. It looks like you guys had one hell of a good time on that hike.

jide - 6-27-2005 at 11:19 PM

Don Jorge & Desert Rat,
Thanks for the pics. If you guys are planning another expedition in canyon diablo, please let me know, I would LOVE to join the adventure!!!!

Don Jorge - 6-28-2005 at 06:14 AM

AB, so would it be Sgt Specs? Thanks for the info. He was so non aggressive I wasn't looking at his tail, figured he was a red. I wrong.

Jide, I will let you know when we/I go next spring. Dez Rat says he was happy with Campo Noche and may not want to go back. But I am going next spring again for sure.

Hiking with Dez Rat is a blast and I hope he comes. You're young but us old folks and our old knees have a hard time coming down, going up is the easy part.

There is a man who has done the ascent 11? times, and now has artificial knees!

I have my sights set on a Pacific to Cortez hike, Faro San Jose to Gonzaga this winter via Jaraguay mesas and dropping into Canon Santa Maria. Done some exploratories and got the prelims figured out now just need to set some dates and drop some water caches on the western end of the hike. Jide, you interested? Dez Rat you out there? January or February, depending on the rains, if there is any.

Summer's here and fishing, surfing and diving are in season. I'll keep you informed about the hikes for next season!


jide - 6-30-2005 at 09:34 AM

Don Jorge,
Pacific-to-cortez or diablo.... count me in! I should be back from europe christmas trip before or around mid january.

Dave - 6-30-2005 at 02:10 PM

DR, Jide, Don Jorge, has anyone, TYK, climbed the pinnacle route from Blue Bottle to Picacho? Doable? What level climb? Any pictures?

Dave - 6-30-2005 at 06:45 PM

Originally posted by Desert Rat
The Pinnacle Ridge route is a class 5 climb.

Unfortunately, that doesn't tell me much. Could be that one small section is a 5 or the whole route is scary. Wish I could read a journal or see some pics.

It's probably wishful thinking anyway. The last real climbing I did was over ten years ago when I was in much better shape and a whole lot dumber.:biggrin:

Don Jorge - 7-1-2005 at 07:45 AM

There are several cruxes, 5.8 to 5.9 and lesser 5th class moves too. In between the problems are some of the toughest class 3 and 4 scrambles you could imagine. Be prepared and ready to bivouac.

It is done, very rarely, by young, extremely fit, experienced and talented teams of hard core peak baggers.
That leaves me out!

Not many pictures of that route as the kinda folks that try it mostly don't give a poop about sharing photos with us armchair adventurers. Good Luck!

Looking down from Night Wash at Campo Noche:

[Edited on 7-1-2005 by Don Jorge]

[Edited on 7-1-2005 by Don Jorge]

[Edited on 7-1-2005 by Don Jorge]

bajalou - 7-1-2005 at 08:32 AM

Let us know it we can assist you D'Rat and Don Jorge. (or others)


Dave - 7-1-2005 at 03:18 PM

Originally posted by Don Jorge
There are several cruxes, 5.8 to 5.9 and lesser 5th class moves too. In between the problems are some of the toughest class 3 and 4 scrambles you could imagine. Be prepared and ready to bivouac.

I thought I might be dreaming but I was wrong. It sounds like a nightmare.

My original thought was that because of a repaired but (still)bum knee I could save decending to Noche. If I go I'll probably do the canyon and get transport up top. For me, the summit isn't in the cards.

Spring 06!

Don Jorge - 12-14-2005 at 08:31 AM

Thought I would bring this up to the top again.
Diablo kicked my sorry arss last spring. Since I am stubborn and a very slow learner, I am giving it another try. Weather will say more later on dates, but eastern approach April, western approach May, is the rule of thumb. Snow and ice will say when and where.

Dez Rat? Anyone else? More the merrier!

bajalou - 12-14-2005 at 08:53 AM

Good to see you've still got the spirit there to "Give the Devil his due"

Good luck


bajaandy - 12-14-2005 at 08:33 PM

Don Jorge and Dez Rat,

Count me in this year. I'm for sure planning a western approach trip with a climbing buddy from the Pacific Northwest... Dates TBA.

Even if we have parties that approach from two different directions, it might be fun to try to coordinate on dates and times and possibly make a summit bid together. Just a thought.

[Edited on 12-15-2005 by bajaandy]

David K - 12-14-2005 at 10:10 PM

If your two groups each had a satellite phone... wouldn't THAT be cool!?

bajaandy - 12-15-2005 at 09:16 AM

I'm thinking that even if we carry decent two way radios, once one party reaches the Blue Bottle Saddle they should have decent reception to anyone halfway up Canyon del Diablo. But Sat phones would be the cat's meow. Anybody feel like playing Snata Claus? I've been a good boy this year. REALLY I have.