Ascent of Cerro del Pinacate on 1995-04-15

Climber: Richard Carey

Date:Saturday, April 15, 1995
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cerro del Pinacate
    Elevation:3937 ft / 1199 m

Ascent Trip Report

Pinacate is the Mexican name for the large black beetle often seen in the desert which is called a "stink bug" in American jargon. The Tohono O'odham name is Tjuktoak, meaning "black mountain". (Lumholtz, p.200) The first recorded ascent was by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino (1645-1711) who with Indian guides reached the summit on October 9, 1698. (Ives, p.28) Pinacate and nearby Carnegie Peak are the remains of a large volcano called Santa Clara.

The peak is in a national park and all wildlife, plants, and minerals are protected. At the southern entrance near km 51 on highway 8 there is a park office where one should register before entry. There is currently no fee for camping (4/95). Mailing address is: Coordinador de Operacion, Reserva de la Biosfera El Pinacate, Apartado Postal #125, Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico.

From the traffic circle in the town of Sonoyta, take highway 8 which goes to Puerto Penasco and at km 51 look for the green park sign on the right and the white park buildings about 200 m before the sign. After checking in with the Park Ranger, head north on the dirt road and stay left at junctions at 0.64 km(0.4mi.)and 2.3 km(1.4 mi.) At 4.2 km(2.5 mi.) turn left off the main road onto the road which will head west to the mountain. Follow this road for 18.3 km(11.4 mi.) where you will come to a parking area at a place called the Red Cones. A 4WD or high clearance vehicle is needed to reach this spot. UTM for the Red Cones is: 268300E, 3517730N (NAD27). Carnegie peak is visible from here on a bearing of 92 degrees. Pinacate is 1.2 km to the west behind Carnegie and is not visible. The shortest hiking route is to proceed SW skirting most of the lava field and then up a ridgeline to the south side of Carnegie. After ascending a low ridge past Carnegie the summit of Pinacate will be seen. Climb the slopes to the top. An alternate route is to walk the old road west from the parking area and then north until in winds its way up to a high valley on the north side of Pinacate. One can then climb the north ridge of the peak which is more stable and easier than the southern side. This route on the road is easy, but about 50% farther. The southern route takes about 3 hours for the ascent and 2 1/2 hours to return. Elevation gain is about 850 m (2790 ft.) and the round-trip distance is about 10 km (6.2 mi.). 4/95 RLC
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