Picacho (near Yuma) and Antidisestablishmentarianism Peak

Harlan W S & Tracy F
Feb 16, 2013

Picacho is a delightful little DPS summit about 18 miles N of Yuma, CA. There are many good climbing guides for this peak, so I'll add just a few comments.
This climb is suitable for non-technical climbers provided: 1) they have practiced rappeling and ascending a fixed lne (as by prussik loops, tied with either Klemheist or Prussik knots); 2) they can climb exposed class 4, with a belay; 3) they aren't freaked out by exposure; and 4) they have other experienced folks with them to offer belays.

This overview shows the 4x4 road to
the start, and the short hike.  One can
camp at a wash on the E side, on the 2WD
This close-up shows the climb. The
USGS map, with elevations obtained
by photogrammetry, is massively
incorrect; the highpoint is really where
the track ends, not on the N peak.
This bad DEM* is carried over into
the Google Earth model as of 2013.
View W to Picacho at sunrise. Taken
from the ridge above the campsite (in
a wash on the 2WD road).
View of Picacho to SSE; taken from
near the 4x4 TH.
Photo of the W side of Picacho, by
Tracy F.
A minor peak to the NW.
View N from the notch between the
W summit and E (higher) summit of
Heading S along one of the shelves.
The 2nd ladder.  The webbing
"securing" the ladder needs desperately
to be replaced; it was very frayed and ratty.
We were rushing back down, else I would
have tried to resecure the ladder.
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View NE as CP ascends the "exposed
class 4" on the way up the N side of
the false summit**.  An unbelayed fall
here would probably be fatal-- the climb is
directly over a drop of at least 200'.
View NE to S side of false summit.
This is the infamous 15', slightly
overhanging cliff, that you must re-ascend
on the way back down (unless you took
the route through the window below
the false summit).
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View ~S from summit.
Panoramic view.
View E as CP looks for the register
on summit.
View E, of the tall guys on top.
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This window looks down over the east cliff,
probably ~1000'.
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View W of me. It was a bit gusty, so
I forwent my normal pose.
Now I am looking N as CP heads
back to false summit block.
CP starts to set up Tracy's ascenders.
We never did figure out how to get these
ascenders to move smoothly; Tracy had last
used them for caving, maybe a while back...
...So I used prussik loops and Klemheist
knots to ascend one line. Tracy
eventually got the ascender set-up
to quasi-work, and CP just used prussiks.
Now the tall guys are back on top of
the false summit; view S to true summit.
Set-up to rap down over N side of false
summit; We had 120' of 9mm static, and it
was more than enough.  I also had 10', 20'
and 50' pieces of 15mm tubular webbing;
we did use the 50' to haul packs and act as a
secondary belay line from the 2nd bolt
on the S side of false summit.
Down the N side of false summit. To
L of CP is where one has the
"exposed 4th class" on ascent.
Wider view of false summit.
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CP rebags the rope.
Now we head N from False summit block.
You have to watch the route carefully; at
one point there seems to be a worn route
over to a cliff at R, but you really have
to descend more L through a slight notch.
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The W summit, showing the differential
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View back N to Tracy in the notch
between the two summits.
Tracy caught this odd minor peak
in the right light-- the darker needle in
front (in shadows) is overhung on L.
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After Tracy geaded home, CP and DB and I
went to a surveyed, but unnamed peak
ESE of Picacho (ijn back)
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Next morn at sunrise.
Fuzzy view of Picacho from SE.
View (shooting into sun!) of Castle
Dome in KOFA, on drive back.
*This is a well-known error in the older
photogrammetry, typically caused by
proximity of a cliff in shadows.

**CP was the most experienced and best
climber there, and the only one who asked
for a top-belay here.  That argues that he was
also the smartest. If I had it do over again,
I would try to set up a bottom-belay for the
1st climber, with the belayer down over the
W side of the neck connecting the ridgeline
to the false summit.  That way, if the climber
slipped, there would at least be some slim
of catching her/him before the 200'+ fall on
the E side.