Volcan Tres Virgines

1 Dec 1999 - by Paul Wilson

The plan was to climb Diablo from the East via Canyon Diablo in early December. But I got advised of the snow on the mountain and how nice the beach was on the shores of the Sea of Cortez in Baja California Sur Mexico. So that was the new destination. I went to the Map Center in San Diego on the way from Colorado and got the topos.

Diablo (~10154') is the mountain that Jim Rickard wrote about in the last HAMS news letter. Its a really big deal and it took him 3.5 days to do the climb from the TH at about 1800' .

I spotted a contour line at 1700m W of Guadalupe mission. So my son, a non climber, and we jumped in the truck very early from out base in Mulege, and away we went following the maps and taking gps readings to a place some maps called Thetis 1640m. I thought maybe it would be a good hike. Ha. About 1:30 PM we got to the high point on a 2-5mph really serious road which had 4 tires smoking in several places. Then the desert rookies headed up hill having no idea where we were since the gps did not agree with the map. After reaching the ridge and taking some bearings and giving the gps adequate time if found I was at 25-53 and 112-26.5 (map La Presa, G12A55) and a 1740m summit was across valley. Undaunted away we went. BUT, cliffs were on the the E side and we needed to go S, so we had to go on mostly the N side where the cactus was 12-15 feet high and we had to follow cow paths under the darn stuff. This lasted about an two hours and we had had enough. The best part was the clear weather and from the high point we could see the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez.

My wiser son showed me how to get the cholla out of my hide. Back at the truck we spent another hour pulling the cactus out using tweezers instesad of two rocks. Shucks we just blast through the brush in Colorado. But not Baja. Well to make a long story short we headed for the highway by going West. Big screwup - in spite of the map road symbols which we thought indicated easier roads than the roads we had taken so far. Our new route took us to San Ignacio via Tres Palmas and el Alamo. The truck (my sons) now has plenty of desert pinstriping from the brush and the rocks. We got back to the wives at the trailer at 9PM. Boy was I impressed with Baja.

Its not over.

The next objective was closer to the road. Volcan Tres Virgines, just W of Santa Rosalia. I got up early and alone drove the the geothermal well place - access road and drove thru the desert because the road was blocked with signs I could not read. In the darkness I passed more signs but how cares when the road is paved. I went as high as I could where the construction was taking place. Nobody around so away I went. The hiking was good the cactus was sparce and only 4-6 feet high. I was on a E facing slope and I could walk around the stuff. I gained a ridge and the clouds had started to fade. After 2 hours I looked back and there was a big stir where I parked my truck. It looked like the construction crew was having a fit so when I heard yelling I started down.

I seems I was hiking in a hunting preserve. The head guy said no problmo I needed permission from the hunting guide named Mario. We drove to Mario's camp and found the caretaker but Mario was not present but I should come back in the evening. Forget it. I had a boating to do. On the way back to base it rained a few drops??? So now I have more summits on my Baja list and will deal with them in the future. I bet I can get up the Volcanoes from the S or N by going up the lava flows, That 1740m high place will take at least 2 days, but I will plan on 3.

Boy I sure like the remoteness and strange features of Baja. I could not believe the strange trees, like Elephant and Bojum. And I sure know that Cholla is to be avoided at all costs. The other stuff I can deal with.

I will attempt Diablo up the Diablo Canyon on March 11-17 and in November I will attempt Picacho de Laguna if I get comfortable with the beta by then. The Wives will like the activities in Cabo while I deal with that one.

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