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SIERRA EL MAYOR

Por
Andy Martin
3 Jan, 2008
 
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This peak attracted my interest as a good winter hike because it has good prominence, and can be reached fairly quickly from Tucson (300 miles by Interstate, and then 40+ highway miles south of the border) I met Bob in Yuma on Friday afternoon, left the Honda there, and then drove in his truck + camper to the base of the peak. We got there with perhaps an hour of daylight remaining, which allowed for a quick look at the route.

In my wretched Spanish I was able to set up a parking place for the next day, at a small home on the south side of Highway 5. This is at 32:07:28N and 115:16:23W, and is the only dwelling on this side of the highway. It is directly across from the "Museo" in the small town named Campo Rio mayor Solano (La Carpa) on the 1:50,000 map.

The homeowner is named Isabel (I think), and did not take payment on Friday, though on Saturday
she did accept a small sum I offered after we returned to the truck, plus some sweets for the kids.

Finding a safe place to park the vehicle can be a concern in Mexico, as I know of at least 3 instances of vehicle theft/vandalizing in Mexico. Also, while we found the people very friendly
in Baja, this is not always the case: http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2007/nov/20/surfing-in-baja-turning-into-a-risky-venture/

We camped a couple miles north, on a short dirt road not far west of highway 5. There is some noise and mosquitoes here, you might do better to continue perhaps 5 miles north to 32:10:45N, where a dirt road heads west across a low pass. We did not investigate this, but I could see the road when we drove by it.

The next morning we got off to an early start, about 1/2 hour before first light. This cut down a bit on our water use, but I was still a bit underwatered with 3 quarts (I'm a big guy, though).

The attached map shows the route in pencil. Contours are drawn at 20 meter intervals, and index contours are at 100 meters.

The going is very easy the first km, as you can walk along a old dirt road in flat country. We could have driven this, but all routes south of highway 5 near where we parked were locked shut or washed out.

Note: There may be another road in to the peak leaving highway 5 about a mile south of where we parked. We saw this from the summit, but did not investigate further

Rounding the point of a ridge we continued south to 200 meters elevation up a broad drainage of white rock, with dark rock ridges on both sides. You can soon exit the wash on to broad benches, and find a faint trail in spots. This trail is a mystery to me, as I doubt our route is hiked often. However, the country is very dry, so trails can last a long time on flat ground.

At about 220-240 meters you take a large drainage west, which you can see heads to a ridge at 500 meters. Much of the country is steep and loose, and I was happy to follow the wash, and not take any short cuts. The bottom of this wash is rocky and brushy in spots you make better progress on small benches on either side.

At 500 meters we reached the ridge and cached some water at the second Ocotillo bush on the ridge. This range is very dry, and Ocotillos were the only large vegetation seen on the ridges. No pungent Bursera (Elephant Tree) was seen anywhere, unlike the next range north (Sierra Cucapa) where it is abundant).



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