Ascent of Mount Ajo on 2011-11-24

Climber: James Barlow

Others in Party:Jenn Blackie
Date:Thursday, November 24, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Ajo
    Elevation:4808 ft / 1465 m

Ascent Trip Report

The trip started with a logistical snag as my car had some alignment issues. Apparently it is not good to drive a Toyota Yaris on rough dirt roads constantly – who knew…. At least I finally know what rocks are hitting on my car when I hear them go “clunk.” We left 29 Palms around 6pm in Jenn’s new car and headed for Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. After a quick meet and greet with a friendly National Park Service police officer who wondered why we were going into the campground at 1am, we settled in. The drive took about 6 hours – don’t forget to set your watch to Arizona time! Right as I was passing out I heard a few bursts of gunfire coming from a southwesterly direction – great…. The Park Service Campground is really nice and was quite empty the night before Thanksgiving.
Jenn and I were up with sun and headed to Ajo Mountain Road for our first hike. The DPS Guide is accurate for driving directions. There is a pit toilet on the right side of the road and the trail starts from the left. We took the shorter of two trails up to Bull Pasture. From here, the DPS Guide describes routefinding to the south ridge of Ajo. There is now a very beaten trail heading up from Bull Pasture that is almost as good as the maintained trail below here. It is extremely easy to follow all the way to the summit, especially compared to the average trail-less DPS peak. As we approached the summit the wind picked up so when we topped out we found a sheltered spot to eat lunch. After the obligatory summit photos, we followed the trail back down to Bull Pasture as the clouds closed in on the summit. We took the alternate trail back to the trailhead, adding a meager half mile to our trek while enjoying some different scenery. We headed for Lukeville, just a few minutes south of the Visitor’s Center at Organ Pipe, for our Mexican Insurance for Friday. Since there was plenty of daylight left and we were not tired after the easy trail hike up Ajo, we drove north from the visitor center to the end of the open section of the road where there is a pit toilet. We headed up Pinkley Peak.

Link to pics for Ajo & Pinkley
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2608 ft / 794 m
    Extra Gain:100 ft / 30 m
    Route:Bull Pasture to South Ridge
    Trailhead:2400 ft / 731 m

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