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David K
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[*] posted on 5-24-2013 at 02:10 PM


I will be out of town camping for the 3 day weekend, so no daily SPOT maps until I get back, unless someone else can... I wish them great fun... and I will be seeing Diablo from our camp (I hope)!



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[*] posted on 5-24-2013 at 04:26 PM


I can vouch for Francisco Detrell too. He is a great guy, knows Baja well and I have been with him for a couple great trips. He also guided one of the hosts for the former Lonely Planet TV show and used to guide A-16 Travel groups too. The last email I had for him was ecoturbc@gmail.com. Tell him Ted Donovan says hi!!



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[*] posted on 5-27-2013 at 10:13 PM
On Blue Bottle 5-27-13


I received the second SPOT signal today from Graham (a bit after 2pm) and it looks like thay are on Blue Bottle Mountain/ Peak... Note the topo map below shows two Picacho del Diablos. The true one is the top-right/ northern one with 'Cerro' in front.

What we don't yet know is if they made the climb and forgot to send a spot until getting back to Blue Bottle (which is on the main ridge)... or they have yet to try...???





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[*] posted on 5-28-2013 at 09:34 AM


It doesn't appear that they are using the desert route, if you look at the spot on the 24th and 27th they both appear to be on the West ridge of the canyon? I was up on the park this weekend but did not see them, we did see a few mexicans trying for a 24 hour or less record from the West.



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[*] posted on 5-28-2013 at 06:29 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by nandopedal
It doesn't appear that they are using the desert route, if you look at the spot on the 24th and 27th they both appear to be on the West ridge of the canyon? I was up on the park this weekend but did not see them, we did see a few mexicans trying for a 24 hour or less record from the West.


Correct, as you can see from Graham's first Spot map, they are going from the SPM plateau, not the San Felipe desert up.

As of 6:30 pm, no third SPOT message from Graham.




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[*] posted on 5-29-2013 at 01:53 PM


It didn’t go quite according to plan but what a fantastic Baja adventure.


Roger (Bacquito)and Ronnie (Desert Rat)

And what a pair of tough old Nomads for companions. About now Ronnie (Desert Rat ), Roger (Bacquito) and I were hoping to be safely returning to camp after standing on top of Picacho Diablo, Baja’s awesome high point.

Roger was good enough to let us leave our vehicles at his house in Ensenada and then drove us to the park. Ronnie had driven all the way from his home in Laredo, Texas.

We arrived at the San Pedro Martir on May 23, and set out mid-morning on Friday, May 24 to begin the long, heavy haul from the Padre Kino campsite with 5-6 days supply of food and a few pints of water each.


Roger and Ronnie

We intended to camp at the Botella Azul trailhead, and then next evening down at the bottom of Canyon Diablo, at Campo Noche, where there is plenty of water.

Temps were in the upper 70s during the day as we made our way through the pine and aspen forest. It was predictably tough going with rugged, steep slopes and many fallen trees to deal with.


Roger again leading the way.

As agreed, we settled on an easy pace to minimize risk of injury and we all knew the odds were long that we would make it all the way to the summit, and we might not even make it to Campo Noche.



Five hours or so into the attempt, at a spring before we reached Blue Bottle, we caught up with a party of Mexican hikers who were en route to Picacho. While they pushed on we filtered water and assessed our situation. Thinking about what we had passed through and the long steep drop to the canyon bottom ahead, and the rapidly deteriorating condition of his boots, Roger reluctantly but very wisely decided to abandon his quest, camp for the night by the spring and return to camp next morning.


Purifying water at the spring

Ronnie at 70 knew if he didn’t go for the summit now, it would probably never happen. So we agreed that he would continue, hoping to hook up with the Mexican party ahead, and I would return with Roger the next morning.

A couple of hours later Ronnie made it all the way to the Blue Bottle trailhead and met the group there. They kindly agreed to let him join them… but Ronnie, worried that he might slow them down, decided to race the night all the way back to where we were camped.

It was dark before he found us and he eventually made camp alone just a few hundred yards from where we were.

Luckily, Roger and I were in no hurry to leave next morning, and Ronnie wandered up just as we were finishing breakfast and packing up.

Ironically, at midnight that night, by the light of a full moon, a couple of young Mexicans set out from Padre Kino attempting to set a record for the fastest roundtrip climb of Picacho Diablo from the Kino campground. They had support crew at Blue Bottle, at Campo Noche and up on Picacho. We heard the two record chasers rushing by around 1 AM. What took us five hours took them a little over one! [I’ll post the story and pictures in a separate thread]

In spite of our disappointment, it was a good feeling to be all back together... and after 4 or 5 hours safely back in camp.


Graham looking across Canyon Diablo

While Roger recovered, Ronnie and I explored the edge of Canyon Diablo and peered wistfully over at the peak, examining the route we hoped to one day take. And just for a few moments we caught sight of a figure standing triumphantly on the summit. We guessed correctly it was one of the party that Ronnie nearly joined.



We were back in camp to applaud the record setting duo’s triumphant return. They had made it there and back in just over 15 hours where they were greeted by their friends and family and “observers.” There was quite a party and celebration with beer and wonderful food. We were graciously invited to partake. The quesadillas and ceviche were great after a day subsisting on trail mix and cereal bars.


The record setting team and some of their support crew and gringo guests.

Last day, Ronnie and I hiked to the top of Blue Bottle to further contemplate the route to Picacho and dream and scheme about another attempt.


Desert Rat gazing down to the desert from Blue Bottle



Approaching the top of Blue Bottle

Roger felt terrible about not going further but at least he tried and bravely hiked as far as he did, a fantastic achievement at 72. He was sensible enough to know his limits and take heed of what his legs were telling him.

And I felt privileged to camp in the peace of the San Pedro Martir with two amazing Baja Nomads… listening to tales of Roger’s life as an agricultural inspector and Ronnie’s teaching and army service with a heavy mortar battalion and the 82nd Airborne.

As they say, the journey is sometimes more important than the destination. It was a peak experience even if we didn’t make it to the top of Baja.




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[*] posted on 5-29-2013 at 02:42 PM


Sounds like you had a great time anyway----way to go for at least trying! I might want to try Picacho one of these years before I get too old.
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[*] posted on 5-29-2013 at 03:08 PM


Well, I certainly understand your feelings-------back in 1954 or 55 I stood at Blue Bottle with Edward "Bud" Bernhard and felt exactly like you probably did, but I lost my resolve also----------the chasm between us on Blue Bottle and the main peak was just awe-inspiring and intrepid, steep and rough, and I knew right then that I was never going to climb that peak from the west side. We sat on Blue Bottle for over an hour-----just comtemplating. I was 16 or 17 at the time. I had already climbed Mt. Whitney, and many other peaks, but THIS mountain was just formidable and beyond my nerve and stamina to climb, and I knew it. Bud Climbed that mountain many times (but then he was super-man), and pioneered several routes up her. And later next year, or so, NOMAD "Vince" had topped it with Bud and other's, and I was blown away with his accomplishment.

Well done, guys, and thanks for the photos and reports.

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[*] posted on 5-29-2013 at 05:42 PM


Thanks for the post Graham... We were on Shell Island looking at Diablo at sundown Saturday and Sunday nights wondering if you guys were looking at us! Better to have enjoyed the time where you were than risk injury when you aren't sure. I was concerned when I only got the two SPOT signals, but glad to hear you and the other Nomads are safe. I traveled with Desert Rat for a week, back in 2001... isn't he a riot!? :spingrin:



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[*] posted on 5-29-2013 at 06:31 PM


So glad you were monitoring and sharing our Spot signals David. Muchas Gracias!

We had a great view of the desert and the Sea of Cortez from on top of Botella Azul... and probably were gazing right down on all the fun you were having.

Yes, Bacquito and Desert Rat were amazing. Hiking some of the wildest, most rugged country out there in their 70s.

I tell you, they breed them tough in the 82nd. I gave Ronnie an hour's head start when we went to Blue Bottle, thinking I'd catch him in an hour, two at the most. I didn't reach him till we were on the final rise to the peak. I was humbled by his stamina.








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[*] posted on 5-29-2013 at 06:56 PM


If my jaw were not attached to my mouth, it would be on the floor, shattered.

Congratulations, what an incredible endeavor! There is no way i wd even try. What a mountain!




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[*] posted on 5-30-2013 at 06:56 AM


Hi there Graham, if I only would have known that you guys were up there on that weekend!.......I was up there the same time, we were hiking and mountain biking, I am happy for you guys, with the help of a little perspective you did summit....Botella Azul. Cheers mate! In case you are wondering I am Fernando from the College area :D



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[*] posted on 5-30-2013 at 12:04 PM


Hola Fernando. What a pity we didn’t meet up there… Hope you had a wonderful time. I was really grateful for all the good advice you gave us.

You’re right, the hike and view from Botella Azul was well worth the trip. Fantastic breathtaking scenery. Gave us a good perspective on what the climb to Picacho entails. I was able to take pictures of the steep slopes and challenges leading to the peak.


Ronnie on Blue Bottle checking out the approaches.



Detail of Picacho just below the summit


And before anything, you just have to drop down into the canyon... then find the energy to make it all the way up the other side... and then some!





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[*] posted on 5-30-2013 at 01:46 PM


-------and Graham, unless you have made arrangements to be picked up at the bottom down Diablo Canyon, after climbing to the peak you have to come all the way back down, and then up out of Diable Canyon back to Blue Bottle----------it's like climbing two seperate mountains.. THAT is what always deterred me from the attempt.

-----and the speed-climbers do all that in ONE DAY?!?!?!?!? Truly amazing!!!!

All the photos are truly incredible, and show the beauty of that entire area. Thank you.

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[*] posted on 5-30-2013 at 04:32 PM


Indeed... Wonderful photos Graham!

I need to go search for BajaAndy's panorama photos he took from the top of Diablo a few years ago. ... I hope they are still on Nomad...

Great, here are the two threads from 'bajaandy':

Panorama from Diablo, 2007: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=24340

Top of Baja, 2007: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=24221

[Edited on 5-30-2013 by David K]




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[*] posted on 5-30-2013 at 05:41 PM


Thanks for the posting Graham, if I learned one thing it is that my legs are shot! One of the highlights of the trip is meeting both Ron and you and seeing some pretty country.
It is strange that less than two years ago my stepson and I hiked Blue Bottle and Mirador a few days apart.
I felt bad about abandoning my effort so soon after my attempt but I was exhausted and felt I was a danger to myself and others.
No mas Picacho from now on it is water sports (swimming and kayaking) and casual walking.
Thanks for sharing your time with me Ron and Graham!




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[*] posted on 5-30-2013 at 05:44 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Mexitron
Sounds like you had a great time anyway----way to go for at least trying! I might want to try Picacho one of these years before I get too old.


Yes, go for it while your young enough. I waited too long.




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[*] posted on 5-30-2013 at 09:30 PM


Awesome pictures! And a fantastic attempt by all of you! As you said, it's not always the destination, but the journey that makes the trip. How grand a place to hike and camp is the San Pedro Martir. Congratulations on your trip. I know only too well the feeling of defeat on Diablo. The first year I attempted it, we made it to Campo Noche and then got horribly off route when we started the actual climb. The following year, we did much better and actually made the summit. It truly is an awe inspiring peak for more than one reason. Again, congratulations on your trip!



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[*] posted on 5-30-2013 at 10:29 PM


Thanks for ther TR (trip report) and excellent photos!
Going to the summit of Blue Bottle is a wonderful hike. If the goal is to get out and have fun, you succeeded 100%. From Blue Bottle to the summit of Picacho del Diablo it's just a lot of work. All for maybe 50' - 100' of interesting third-class slab.

Did you find out about the official regulations or permit process for climbing Picacho del Diablo? Did you go covert?

Should you guys want to stretch your legs on some superb slab climbs on perfect granite, hit me up. Only a 15 minute approach! 5.3 (beginner level) or harder if you prefer, with hundreds of routes to choose from. The summer temps at 5,000' are usually mild enough.
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[*] posted on 5-31-2013 at 10:46 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by nandopedal
Hi there Graham, if I only would have known that you guys were up there on that weekend!.......I was up there the same time, we were hiking and mountain biking, I am happy for you guys, with the help of a little perspective you did summit....Botella Azul. Cheers mate! In case you are wondering I am Fernando from the College area :D


nandopedal (Fernando) just emailed me his photos at the top of Diablo Mountain to share with everyone...













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