USGS Little Picacho Near Yuma

  • Updated: January 21, 2018
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

January 21th, 2018
Little Picacho Peak (1,508')
1.3 miles, 1,300'

Yesterday's climb of Picacho Peak had been the main attraction for the weekend but I didn't want to drive all the way out to Yuma just for a single peak.  I'd already done Muggins, the two DPS Peaks off the 8, and The Thumb + Palo Verde Peak in the area and I was really starting to reach for new ideas when someone suggested Little Picacho.

USGS Little Picacho Peak is the bump to the north of Picacho.  It's confusing because the Sierra Club Desert Peaks Section likes to refer to Picacho as Little Picacho to distinguish it from Picacho del Diablo aka Big Picacho down in Mexico.  Nevermind the fact you also have *another* Picacho peak in the state park not far to the east.

USGS Little Picacho is a short hike from the road leading to the northern trailhead for DPS Picacho and could easily be done on the same day if you had a suitably fast group.  It's a rough approach but there's some quality scrambling near the top and I'd love to go back and see if there was a way to get even more down lower.

(The picture at the top of the article is a view of Little Picacho from the summit ridge of DPS Picacho)

We woke up Sunday morning and after a short drive and a healthy breakfast of donuts leftover from last nights happy hour potluck we got moving around 6:40 am.  There was a cold wind blowing and everyone was eager to warm up.

The route aimes for the northeastern chute and crosses the normal loose desert terrain.  I found other tracks where people went further east around that lower bump but I didn't see any advantage that would give.

Once in the chute you have to contend with the usual desert scrub and occasional loose rock but anytime we could get on to one of the walls the rock was great quality.

And of course you get to enjoy the spectacular view again.

The real reason to do the peak is the scramble right below the summit.  The rock is solid and fun and can be done as 3rd or 4th class depending on your preferences.

This is the ramp leading up to some nice juggy 3rd class right below where I'm standing.

To the right of that there was a slightly more exposed 4th class option that did tend to have a focusing effect on those who tried it.

After that it was a short scramble up to the knifey ridge and the summit itself.

We were on top by 7:50 am.

Looking over at Picacho Peak you can see the notch you use to gain the ledges.  It just looks damn cool from every direction.

The knifey ridge on Little Picacho was also quite scenic which led to the usual sequence of summit shots from reasonable to slightly precarious.

Which led to Victor offering piggyback rides to others which Alex promptly took him up on...

We found a register but it wasn't in the best of shape and I won't be surprised if the sheet of paper we left doesn't last very long.

We left the summit at 8:40 am.  Coming down was a little harder than up just because the scrambly bits all slope out which can make people a bit nervous.

Everyone was down off the fun bits by 9 am.

After that the descent was less fun and more slog.  I'd really like to get back out here and see if I couldn't find a route that stuck to the rock along the northern or western face.  If anyone does scout that please let me know.

By 10:15 am we were back at the cars.

An impromptu push up contest broke out between Alex and the not at all competitive Lubna.

Followed by a quick snack of beer and donuts.  Gotta love leftovers.

We eyed doing Pebble Mountain on the way out but when we drove by it looked to literally be a pile of pebbles and not worth the 300 -ish ft slog.  So instead we all headed into Yuma for some post trip mexican food.

I'd hoped to go to Tacos Mi Ranchito again but when we arrived they didn't even have standing room to wait much less room for 12 people.  So instead we picked another Mexican food restaurant at random and ended up at the decent if slightly unexciting El Charro before heading home at a depressingly early hour.

I really have to find more peaks to do out here...

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