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PaulW
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[*] posted on 2-4-2016 at 06:04 PM
Diablo Hiking Resource


Here is my dump on all the stuff I have in my archives for a hike to the top of Diablo.
Find the write up here

Link are dead-- read on







[Edited on 11-17-2020 by PaulW]
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[*] posted on 2-4-2016 at 08:13 PM


The best thing about Diablo is there is no reliable trail to follow, it's a real adventure

But like good surf spots, best not to publish gps tracks,... The adventure should be reserved for those that can use a map and compass, and hardy enough to do the bush whacking.
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[*] posted on 2-5-2016 at 09:53 AM


Thanks Paul. Is that forum closed to new members? I think it's the first time I have seen it...



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[*] posted on 2-5-2016 at 10:46 AM


Diablo is on my list of peaks to climb (or ski). Thanks for posting!
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[*] posted on 10-8-2020 at 09:42 AM
Revised post


Diablo hike from the east
This is a collection of my reports that has become necessary because my original post had a link that had been deleted along with the images

Here is my original hike to the north summit
https://climber.org/reports/2000/651.html

Here is an edited version of the original report
Note that this hike was my first adventure in Baja and it reflects how naive I was

Picacho del Diablo
11-16 Mar 2000 - by Paul Wilson
The mountain is Picacho del Diablo, also known as Big Picacho or Big P. It is a twin summit at 3095m (N) and 3094m (S). Elevation gain is 2505m (8218'), 10 map miles. But the elevation gained, and the mileage walked should be increased by at least 20% due to all the devious routing around the obstacles.
After a lot of dithering and reading Sierra club reports at SierraClub.org/dps and getting good advice from Rudolfo from the high-altitude list, I decided that this climb sounded like a fun trip to get away from the usual Colorado winter trips. Most of the trip reports were from the southern California climbers using a route from the West with access from Observatory Road. But I liked the easier drive from the East (from Colorado) and I knew I could have a relaxing place and a safe place to store my vehicle near San Felipe at a camp called Pete's.
I noticed the tall mountains while on vacation in March 1999. I set out alone in my truck to head south on March 6, 2000. While at a layover in the Phoenix area I studied the weather and decided to abort again. But by March 15 the jet stream had shifted north. The snow line was 3500' on the coastal range near the border. The trip was back on.
I found the trail head easily between Diablito and Diablo Canyon and found the well-marked trail. This TH start is in the desert at 590m. I identified Sugaro, Palo Verde and several varieties of cactus, but no Cholla (a good sign for this desert rookie). This desert vegetation is about 20 feet high indicating to me that there is plenty of water nearby.
Over my March11 through March16 climb I saw the foliage change from the above desert setting to willows along the stream to scrub oak then juniper and beautiful cedar trees then a new variety of pine I have not seen before. Then up high more scrub oak and manzanita. In places the cover was very dense, and it made passage with my big pack very testy.
I saw cow tracks and deer tracks between the first two waterfalls, so I guess they come down the really steep hillside for water. In places there had been much rainfall, so the hiker path was difficult to follow but one person had walked up the as far as Campo Noche and back. To the pass the time I tracked him to make the route finding easier. There were lizards and frogs everywhere, scampering and leaping into the pools. Most lizards were 6" long and skinny as a pencil. But several were king size. The frogs were all the same color as the rocks whether light gray or rust color. Lots of small birds chirping. It was an interesting diversion.
At my high camp (2280m) I was examined by a Ringtail Cat who thought I was very interesting. It was a very pretty animal. And at the TH after my climb I was awakened by a bunch of Coyotes probably fighting over early morning food.
In preparing for the climb I had obtained the correct topos and Jerry Schad's map/guide instructions from the Map Center in San Diego mailed to my home in Colorado. The Mexican topos were difficult, but Mr. Schad has really got it together. The first day started at Pete's Camp about 10:30AM. We arrived at the trailhead at 12:30. The walk to the entrance waterfall took 1/2 hour on a well flagged trail then up the stream bed. The entrance waterfall is unclimbable (660m), 15 foot deep pool and a 5 to 10 foot waterfall. The rock is an aid climb. The previous climbers have placed a ladder and 2 steel cables and a ladder to get the climb started. Pendulum from the first cable to the ladder, up the ladder down the other side into the creek bottom with the other cable. OK without a pack but impossible with a 6 day pack. I hauled the pack (not recommended). The correct way is to use a prusik to hold you and the pack so you can get purchase with the feet then walk to the ladder. On the return is even harder because you have to run uphill from the ladder to a boulder, it took two tries on the return and I really went hard the second time.
The second waterfall is harder. Schad says go left up a 20-foot crack then up 10+ foot sketchy slab. It cannot be done with a pack (for a normal hiker). I went up the right side until the sketchy nubbins disappeared then frictioned up the rock. Then hauled the pack (difficult). On the return I could not down climb this route - to scary. 20 feet with no place to use my 60' rope. It needs a rap bolt really bad. So I downclimbed the Schad route without a pack. The moves were 5.2 or 3 with 20 feet of air. Not good for a solo climber. No place of a rap anchor here either, anyway my rope was hopelessly tangled in my pack down on the creek bed. Everything goes wrong when you are trying to be ultra-careful. I was really concerned more than any time before.
Here is how I did the down climb without benefit of seeing it or studying it from below. It is a wide crack starting down about 10' on an OK slab with a narrow sloping ledge leading to the crack. I could see two chock stones and several 3/8" edges for my feet. I put one foot on the top stone and grabbed it with one hand and did the classical lie back and moved that foot to the crack and let it slide down to the next stone. All the time scratching for a foot hold on the face of the rock with my free foot. Then repeat for the second chock stone, foot and hand on the same stone lie back and lower. One foot found a small bump and held. The other foot fit the crack, I extended my arms and jumped the last 4 feet to a flat surface. Sounds OK for a 5.7 lead climber the biggest problem was the lower chock stone "WIGGLED", boy that gets your attention.
I didn't get very far the first day, HA. After the second water fall there is an uphill bypass through a dense briar patch. Really tough going with my big pack. Then 15 to 30 minutes later is another boulder problem I could not do with the pack but I ducked a Class 3 difficulty bypass, but it has over 20 feet of air (maybe it a Class IV). It is safe due to the very grippy places for your feet, careful balance is required as there is no place for your hands.
The rest of the approach just follows ducks but significant route changes were always marked with a least at 2' high cairn. (Note a duck is a one stone cairn?). Hikers place a round a 2" to 10" stone on a big rock and you walk either where the duck is or beside the big rock where the duck is. Its hard to make the classical cairn with round streambed cobbles. I was surprised to find several crawl throughs along the way. Very interesting.
At 1450m there is another big waterfall (15") with a friction slab. I climbed up a short gully and stepped up onto the ledge system above the slab and just walked across. 50' of vertical down the slab to the pool of water if I screwed up. It was Class 2 difficulty, and I was not concerned. My way looked better than the smooth slab.
After the water flow disappeared (1850m) it returned, and I was at Campo Noche (1900m). This place is identified by 2-3' high cairns. Turn left (E) and find several large camp sites. I found the duck and proceeded up Night Wash. The going was brushy, and the shady spots were full of snow. My method was to avoid the snow but keep the ducks in sight. It worked OK but was difficult. At the crossover to Slot Wash I left my pack and explored for a campsite. Slot Wash was full of snow where one might pitch a tent. So I made my high camp on the ridge at 2280m. It was a short day (I stopped at 2PM) but I knew I could summit from there and it would be easier with less weight in the pack.
The next morning, I set off and the snow quickly got really bad. I took my axe but decided that the crampons were unnecessary (correct, as they would never be necessary under any situation for this mountain). Taking an axe on rock climbs is common for me. I use it for aid when things get touchy. I bypassed a long section of the wash on slabs on the left (N) side and the progress was excellent. No marginal slabs were noted. I never saw the S summit gully but found a big cairn on a large tree stump. I assumed it was the left turn to Wall Street but not so, a right turn and some slabs are next with a sketchy ledge and a tree-hug move. All this was easy compared to the lower canyon problems.
I summited at 11:30AM on Tuesday March 14 and was back to my camp at 2PM. The register was full and in the past year 30 parties and well over 100 persons have summited. They were mostly from Ensenada, but a few others were noted from Southern California, Arizona and Colorado. My Peru climbing partner, Jim Rickard summited in June '99. He was as impressed as I was. I think only Jim and I summited from the East.
The views were great to the lakebed to the East. There are several farms identified by large green squares on the East side of the Diablo Lake. The air was still full of the sea haze to the West and beyond the dry lakebed to the East. The observatory is a prominent feature when looking NW across the huge Canyon del Diablo.
The trip down from the summit left me with some scrapes but I managed to avoid any falls even small ones. I had to make tracks to meet my ride on Friday AM. I made the TH at 4PM Thursday afternoon so all was well. My son picked me up about 10AM and I headed for the showers and some good food at Pete's.
My evaluation of the climb: What a blast, walk for 5 minutes boulder hopping in the creek bed, then do a class 3 boulder problem. Day1 was 3 hours of marginal climbing, day 2 had 9 hours, day 3 had 7 hours, days 4 & 5 had 8 hours. A leisurely pace is required due to the intense route finding. Two persons would go much faster as the ducks would bed located much faster.
Next time: I will take a bolt kit and place at least two rappel bolts. The entrance fall ladder is getting much usage from the locals and the rungs are showing serious weakness and splitting. I would rather see an aid route placed so one could go from runner to runner and just avoid the ladder all together. The obstacle goes up vertical for about 15 feet then lays over all the time traversing to the right.
If you do this climb here is my recommended gear: At least a 60'X7mm climbing rope, 2-1.5'X6mm prusiks, 2-4'X6mm prusiks, 4 carabiners, 1 locking carabiner, webbing to make a diaper sling, An axe for winter months, Jerry Schad's map "Parque Nacional San Pedro Martir". It had route descriptions and an accurate topo. And last of all an altimeter which is easily resettable to the landmarks on the Schad map.
(Ha nowadays my iPhone, handheld GPS, and InReach will be carried).
Beta:
Drive S on Mex 5 from Calixico/Mexicali to first Pete's Camp El Paraiso for about 2 hours (120 miles or so). Then S past the Crocodile sign on your right. Turn right on the paved road called Saltito Rd or more commonly "Zoo Rd" At Morelia Junction keep right. Again, keep right at the earthen dike. Don't get stuck in the sand there are several parallel roads. Choose a well-traveled one. After the cattle guard you are on the lakebed. Follow tracks the don't sink in the mud. Stop on the high ground in case the army wants to inspect you. Try not to stop on the flat where it is soft. (GO fast). This route is a gun/drug contraband route so be courteous to the army guys.
Pass two signs on the right for roads leading E to Providencia Ranch. Pass an unreadable sign on the right. Turn left toward the mountain at the buried tire. Drive the path to and through the trees and though the ranch and keep right. I think this may be Vallecitos' shack I was told about. (May be he will watch your vehicle.) If you go straight, you will be at the mouth of Diablito Canyon and an army camp. Following the right fork leads to a large parking area and the beginning of the trail. Elevation 590m N31deg 04.456, W115deg 21.90. You can plot this on Mexican topo#HIIB45. The adjacent map shows a place called Santa Clara but I cannot verify that it is the ranch above? All the canyon labels on the these topos are incorrect. The Schad map shows a shack at the mouth of Diablito Canyon. It does not exist unless it is the ranch above.
Do NOT leave a vehicle at the trailhead on Saturday & Sunday as there is much traffic from locals on the weekend days. There are too many people who could cause mischief. Find a driver to drop you off and collect you later.

2013 Update
Saw the latest report an jogged my memory and decided to post my climb report.
I am now a retired climber/mountaineer, but back in the day I did a solo to the north summit.
Here is my report from my March 2000 climb
I have not been to the start of the climb in a couple of years, but before have regularly done the two obstacles just for fun with no pack. My, it has changed over time with all the regular flooding. Update notes follow:
� The Rancher will charge you to drive to the TH if he or his kids see you drive up past the rancho.
� The hike to the first obstacle is good. Walking on the cobbles is an issue for the inexperienced. To get to the first pool & obstacle I had to get my feet wet.
� The pool was filled with sand and rocks so diving from the top was not possible.
� The 1st obstacle (waterfall #1) is the pendulum to get above the pool. Climber with a heavy pack will need a harness and a runner. The fixed cable is pretty sturdy.
� The 2nd obstacle (waterfall #2) has changed from a ladder to the remnants of the steel cable with some clamps to hold on to. It�s on the right. Doable, but dicey with wet feet. Sometime after 2000 a steel cable wood step ladder replaced the crack on the left and the friction climb on the right like I had to deal with on 2000.
Regards, PaulW SF resident in winter
Links:

http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=67441#pid8316...
with a few remining pics

Schad’s map is out of print See http://dankat.com/swhikes/maps/devil.htm

Here is the drive and hike image

The left turn from the lake bed used to be marked by a tire. That place is 31 05.088, -115 15.71
When following the GPS track remember that the track changes every year always choose the well traveled path and do not get stuck in the soft sand.

Garmin GPS track attached




Attachment: DiabloDriveHike.gpx (157kB)
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[*] posted on 10-8-2020 at 10:05 AM


Super to read!




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[*] posted on 10-8-2020 at 11:23 AM


I think it was last year a woman and her dog disappeared at the eastern trailhead (bottom of diablo canyon). One theory was that she was disappeared by pot growers in the area. Did her disappearance ever get solved?



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[*] posted on 10-8-2020 at 11:56 AM


Quote: Originally posted by mtgoat666  
I think it was last year a woman and her dog disappeared at the eastern trailhead (bottom of diablo canyon). One theory was that she was disappeared by pot growers in the area. Did her disappearance ever get solved?


That was Baja Nomad wornout's wife, Kat. Not solved, no trace.
http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=92586

[Edited on 10-8-2020 by David K]




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[*] posted on 10-8-2020 at 11:59 AM


Yes Wornout believes she was abducted and disposed of by the growers.
Those growers disappeared apparently are long gone?
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[*] posted on 10-8-2020 at 12:44 PM


Havent been there in a long time, mostly because of the previous coment... for me the best time of the year to go there happens to be se same for harvesting mota.

Also heard that there was an issue with the ejidos on the desert side, that are charging for using the acces roads and the camping spots, but there have been too many reports of cars broken into and camping gear lost.
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[*] posted on 10-8-2020 at 02:22 PM


You probably heard correctly. The issue is large tour groups and their party camps. The Ejido does not want their land to become a public park. Large organized tour groups are expected to pay for access. The Ejido people are pretty smart to identify these pay to drive tour groups.

ElDorado ranch has large day tour groups once a week and they coordinate with the Ejido. There are several local not for profit off road clubs that do regular desert rides that they are OK with.
Pretty unusual for campsites to be bothered. All of the camping the locals do are are various ranchos. Please provide info about camping sites that have been bothered.
Bottom line if you come keep your group small and inconspicuous.
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[*] posted on 10-9-2020 at 10:40 AM


Quote: Originally posted by PaulW  
You probably heard correctly. The issue is large tour groups and their party camps. The Ejido does not want their land to become a public park. Large organized tour groups are expected to pay for access. The Ejido people are pretty smart to identify these pay to drive tour groups.

ElDorado ranch has large day tour groups once a week and they coordinate with the Ejido. There are several local not for profit off road clubs that do regular desert rides that they are OK with.
Pretty unusual for campsites to be bothered. All of the camping the locals do are are various ranchos. Please provide info about camping sites that have been bothered.
Bottom line if you come keep your group small and inconspicuous.


is there any "safe" parking at one of the ranchos near mouth of canyon for people that want to leave their car parked for several days when doing a hike up diablo canyon?
havent been there to canyon mouth in a long time,... so dont know the current situation




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[*] posted on 10-9-2020 at 10:46 AM


Next time I go I will see if the rancher at Santa Clara will baby sit my rig.
Any other ranch would be to far away.
Another option would be to get someone to drive you to the TH then come and get you arter a time.
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[*] posted on 10-9-2020 at 11:18 AM


Quote: Originally posted by PaulW  
Next time I go I will see if the rancher at Santa Clara will baby sit my rig.
Any other ranch would be to far away.
Another option would be to get someone to drive you to the TH then come and get you arter a time.


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[*] posted on 11-16-2020 at 07:37 PM


PaulW - I went out to the waterfalls today and even though I have been there a few times your GPS track was very helpful. Easy to get lost out there. A new little ranch and gate blocked access but let me through for 100 pesos. I have limited Internet except for social media through Telcel but posted some photos on our Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/media/set?vanity=AwayWeWinnebago&am...



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[*] posted on 11-16-2020 at 08:24 PM


Thanks for the pictures. Been a while since I was there. I note that the pool water is very deep. You conformed the cost to enter the rancho. A little more formal than is was before due to the addition of the gate and sign. Did the rancher have to be summoned or was he waiting at the gate? Maybe the gate is close to the ranch building now?
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[*] posted on 11-16-2020 at 09:24 PM


We went out there late last spring and drove thru the rancho and asked the kid if we were on the right track to the canyon and he said that way, no charge but the GF is Mexicali born and raised and spoke with him at length so that may have had something to do with "it's that way".


I plotted out this route and a ridge variation that looks like it could be fun but there is a huge elevation gain right at the end of climb Diablo and I wonder about the availability of water.



Attachment: A Ridge Variation.kml (1kB)
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Attachment: Climb Diablo.kml (2kB)
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[*] posted on 11-16-2020 at 10:11 PM


Yes the climb is more than a day long. I took 4.5 days. Route finding was an issue 20 years ago. I was told a local had done it in a long day. I am not a believer in that story. I spent the first day getting from town to my first camp just above the 2nd waterfall.

Water is available from the stream until campo Noche. Then one more time for summit day from a spring above the first cliffs. Advisable to boil or treat your water until you get above the early waterfalls and heavy brush which keeps the cattle from the canyon.

Good rock climbing skills would be good. Difficult 4th class in several places.

Do a nomad search for several more accounts of the climb from the east.
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[*] posted on 11-16-2020 at 10:35 PM


Drive from Hwy5 and a hike beyond teh TH.
The attached GE track is still accurate from 11/2011
I guess the new gate is at the Rancho.




Attachment: DiabloDriveHike.kml (81kB)
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[Edited on 11-17-2020 by PaulW]

[Edited on 11-17-2020 by PaulW]
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[*] posted on 11-17-2020 at 02:13 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Bajazly  

...I plotted out this route and a ridge variation that looks like it could be fun but there is a huge elevation gain right at the end of climb Diablo and I wonder about the availability of water...

Bajazly,
That ridge looks like a very indirect route over difficult terrain. Likely 4th class. But if you want to double or triple the difficulty of the standard route, go for it. Google Earth has a way of flattening/smoothing the appearance. It makes the "Pinnacle Ridge" route at the upper end of Diablo Canyon (connecting Cerro Botella Azul to Diablo's summit) look like a walk in the park (it is 5th class and requires rappels). I wouldn't count on water above the bottom of the canyon. The exception being snow melt after winter storms.
Your proposed ridge faces the observatory. So there should be numerous high quality photos on the internet. Everyone takes a photo looking across to the peak. Here's a video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGVIRAryvZg
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