Big Bend Chat

el Estado de Coahuila de Mexico => Serranias del Burro, Del Carmens, El Carmen => Topic started by: billh on March 07, 2016, 12:54:46 PM

Title: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: billh on March 07, 2016, 12:54:46 PM
Last Wednesday, three friends and I went to Boquillas del Carmen and met our guides.  One of our guides was Eliazar, one of the DIABLOS, and he was tough as nails, and a great guy. The drove us (incredible experience in itself) up to El Jardin, and then over to some beautiful Pinon Woods. the next morning we hiked over to the Ridge that runs over to El Pico, The place was lush with grasses.

I was getting really fatigued by MULTIPLE up and down over numerous arroyos, so we made it only the Edge, where we camped. It was one of the most beautiful campsites I've ever had. Flawless skies and great views of the Chisos in the Far Distance. We got up early and again hiked across a few arroyos and then to the saddle under El Pico.

The descent is extraordinary difficult, especially for me. I became dehydrated about a 1/3 of the way down, and my good friends divided up my gear and even strapped my backpack on. The trail was very very faint, and many spots are hard to find. I would NOT recommend this without a guide, but our guides were splendid. The entire descent is very steep, no shade, and much loose gravel and overhanging boulders and trees. I was often really nervous. It took all my concentration to just keep my footing. Thankfully my friends had me chugging water and eating Goo, with that I made it to the bottom.

My friends fared better than me and are in much better condition. I can't really decide what was going on. I was getting over a chest cold, and with the increased elevation, and my own 59 year old body, it was just about too much.

However, I cannot exaggerate just how beautiful and awe inspiring the views are. We also looked down on Peregrine Falcons soaring BELOW us.

Highly recommended, WITH a competent guide. I'll post information on that later.
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: Jalco on March 07, 2016, 12:56:55 PM
That's awesome!
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: Al on March 07, 2016, 01:07:15 PM
Last Wednesday, three friends and I went to Boquillas del Carmen and met our guide. The drove us (incredible experience in itself) up to El Jardin, and then over to some beautiful Pinon Woods. the next morning we hiked over to the Ridge that runs over to El Pico, The place was lush with grasses.

I was getting really fatigued by MULTIPLE up and down over numerous arroyos, so we made it only the Edge, where we camped. It was one of the most beautiful campsites I've ever had. Flawless skies and great views of the Chisos in the Far Distance. We got up early and again hiked across a few arroyos and then to the saddle under El Pico.

The descent is extraordinary difficult, especially for me. I became dehydrated about a 1/3 of the way down, and my good friends divided up my gear and even strapped my backpack on. The trail was very very faint, and many spots are hard to find. I would NOT recommend this without a guide, but our guides were splendid. The entire descent is very steep, no shade, and much loose gravel and overhanging boulders and trees. I was often really nervous. It took all my concentration to just keep my footing. Thankfully my friends had me chugging water and eating Goo, with that I made it to the bottom.

My friends fared better than me and are in much better condition. I can't really decide what was going on. I was getting over a chest cold, and with the increased elevation, and my own 59 year old body, it was just about too much.

However, I cannot exaggerate just how beautiful and awe inspiring the views are. We also looked down on Peregrine Falcons soaring BELOW us.

Highly recommended, WITH a competent guide. I'll post information on that later.

Excellent!  That's the hike I did a couple of times many years ago.  The first time we did it, we hiked from el Jardin to behind el Pico in one day and then tried to hike to below Terminal the second day. I couldn't make it even when helped with my pack ( I was in my 40's).  It took a month for my knees to quit hurting.  The second time we took our time and got picked up at the mine: a  much more enjoyable experience.  Did you hike down to the mine or to Terminal? How many days? Pictures?
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: billh on March 07, 2016, 01:10:34 PM
https://www.flickr.com/photos/14890552@N06/albums/72157665402900152

We hiked down to San Jose Mine, a little closer than Puerto Rico
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: Al on March 07, 2016, 01:42:44 PM
https://www.flickr.com/photos/organize/?start_tab=new_set

We hiked down to San Jose Mine, a little closer than Puerto Rico

Thanks.  Wish I had a Yahoo account . . . and my cell phone is broken so I can't sign up.  Here's a shot looking down from el Pico.

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/El_Pico_looking_down-s.jpg)
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: billh on March 07, 2016, 01:45:17 PM
https://www.flickr.com/photos/14890552@N06/albums/72157665402900152

You should be able to see this one.
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: Al on March 07, 2016, 01:52:36 PM
Beautiful! Thank you.
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: Lance on March 07, 2016, 07:21:41 PM
Bill, thank you so much for this!  Been wanting to plan an El Pico trip for quite a while.  I'm in Big Bend at the moment, but I've got some questions I hope you can answer once I get back home.  Thanks man!!
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: mule ears on March 07, 2016, 07:50:55 PM
Great trip Bill and nothing for a 59 year old to be ashamed of, proud would be the better response.   :eusa_clap:
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: Jalco on March 07, 2016, 08:34:11 PM
I love the shot with the century plant and El Pico. Outstanding!
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: Casa Grande on March 08, 2016, 11:08:39 AM
Hey Bill! Glad to see you're back ole timer!

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G925A using Big Bend Chat mobile app
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: elhombre on March 08, 2016, 01:15:13 PM
Outstanding!  Now that is a good reason to get a passport and cross the border.  What kind of cash did you end up throwing down?  Is there any water to be had on the way or did you have to carry it all?
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: billh on March 08, 2016, 02:12:55 PM
Thanks all. We paid 180.00 per person for the guide, which included them carrying the food and cooking for us. We had homemade Tamales, Posole and Juevos y Machaca (dried meat) We wound up asking them to pick us up at a different spot, Mina San Jose, and that cost 80.00 more.We stayed at Falcon's little Hotel in Boquillas, We had burrito dinner the night we got in, beers, breakfast the next moring and it was 150.00 total for all of us. The rooms were clean and nice, great clean showers and bathroom. Food at Falcon's is Excellent.

There is NO water and we carried 2 1/2 gallons apiece for two nights and two days on the trail. It was just enough.
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: Al on March 08, 2016, 04:37:28 PM
Thanks all. We paid 180.00 per person for the guide, which included them carrying the food and cooking for us. We had homemade Tamales, Posole and Juevos y Machaca (dried meat) We wound up asking them to pick us up at a different spot, Mina San Jose, and that cost 80.00 more.We stayed at Falcon's little Hotel in Boquillas, We had burrito dinner the night we got in, beers, breakfast the next moring and it was 150.00 total for all of us. The rooms were clean and nice, great clean showers and bathroom. Food at Falcon's is Excellent.

There is NO water and we carried 2 1/2 gallons apiece for two nights and two days on the trail. It was just enough.

That's a good deal.  Actually there is water in a tinaja that can be hiked to from behind el Pico. About an hour round trip if my memory serves me.  But you have to know where it is which our guide did. 

The second time we did a del Carmen hike we spent four days after being dropped off at the garden.  We camped about midpoint along the ridge the first night.  The second day we hiked to behind el Pico so we still had plenty of daylight and our guide went to the tinaja and supplemented the water we  were carrying.  The third day we hiked to the plateau on the left side of the photo I posted and then the last day we hiked to the nearest mine.  A much more enjoyable hike due to the shorter daily distances than humping it to whole way although we too carried close to 3 gallons of water each.  We also carried all of our food, etc. 
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: billh on March 08, 2016, 05:22:03 PM
They pointed out a Canyon, they called Diablo, where they said there were tinajas, but it is a hike over there.
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: Al on March 08, 2016, 05:50:36 PM
They pointed out a Canyon, they called Diablo, where they said there were tinajas, but it is a hike over there.

Our guide, Rawles Williams, is an incredible hiker. The first year when I couldn't make it to Terminal after coming all the way down from el Pico and this is after he had dropped his pack and carried mine for the last several miles.  He then hiked 5 miles to Boquillas, had a couple of beers, drove Joe Falcon's truck to the base of Terminal, hiked back up, hiked back to his pack and back to where we were camped next the top of Terminal.  The boy is a machine!
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: Casa Grande on March 08, 2016, 09:33:08 PM
I love the shot with the century plant and El Pico. Outstanding!
I'll second that one!  I think that one should qualify as a calendar nomination, even if it is a vertical shot. 

Great report, Bill, of a rare trip.

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Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: billh on March 11, 2016, 04:15:15 PM
Thanks! High Praise coming from you sir!
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: andrewsilver on January 09, 2017, 03:55:57 PM
Bill, Al, David et al.,

I recently returned from Big Bend and have become interested in learning more about El Pico.  I read a long thread from 2008: http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/serranias-del-burro-del-carmens-el-carmen/nov08sierra-del-carmen-puerto-rico-mine-boquillas-del-carmen-and-the-tunnel/

with youtube videos from Homero Jimemez of the Puerto Rico mine, along with pictures from Al and others - which was fantastic - but unfortunately all the pictures that homerboy2u posted no longer seem to show up, though the GPS coordinates he posted were most helpful.

Anyways - I was wondering if someone would be willing to explain a bit more about El Pico, Terminal, the mines, El Jardin, etc. - to explain the possible routes for El Pico.  Can one actually climb to the top of El Pico?  Or only to the base?

From studying the maps, this is what I think are the coordinates for El Pico - is this correct:  29.211068, -102.814455

Thanks.
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: Lance on January 09, 2017, 04:37:55 PM
Bill, Al, David et al.,

I recently returned from Big Bend and have become interested in learning more about El Pico.  I read a long thread from 2008: http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/serranias-del-burro-del-carmens-el-carmen/nov08sierra-del-carmen-puerto-rico-mine-boquillas-del-carmen-and-the-tunnel/

with youtube videos from Homero Jimemez of the Puerto Rico mine, along with pictures from Al and others - which was fantastic - but unfortunately all the pictures that homerboy2u posted no longer seem to show up, though the GPS coordinates he posted were most helpful.

Anyways - I was wondering if someone would be willing to explain a bit more about El Pico, Terminal, the mines, El Jardin, etc. - to explain the possible routes for El Pico.  Can one actually climb to the top of El Pico?  Or only to the base?

From studying the maps, this is what I think are the coordinates for El Pico - is this correct:  29.211068, -102.814455

Thanks.

Read this fantastic trip report (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/el-saloacuten/mexican-terminal-and-puerto-rico-mine/) by joelg for more on the history of the mines and terminals. As for climbing to the actual summit of El Pico, I've been told different things. One of those is that it's owned by CEMEX and that they don't want people climbing to the summit. Not sure what the official response is. I'd rather just go do it and ask for forgiveness later. Here's a map (http://caltopo.com/m/DQUB) I made that shows the basic route to the to the base of El Pico. Ideally, one would get a ride from Boquillas to Las Norias and then up to the base of Puerto Rico Mine. Then hike from there up to the base of El Pico.

I talked to an old-timer who climbed to the top of El Pico via a gully/chimney on the East Face with then Chief Ranger of Big Bend NP Jim Liles during Thanksgiving of 1982. He sent me a DVD of their trip and I posted it to my YouTube account with permission. Video below. It looks technical and would probably require ropes and protection. Honestly, I would like to climb the north face. Looks like several potential routes that way.

Video - Schott's Tower (El Pico Cerda) - Thanksgiving 1982
https://youtu.be/JwZWEeXdn8Y
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: Al on January 09, 2017, 05:49:24 PM
Bill, Al, David et al.,

I recently returned from Big Bend and have become interested in learning more about El Pico.  I read a long thread from 2008: http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/serranias-del-burro-del-carmens-el-carmen/nov08sierra-del-carmen-puerto-rico-mine-boquillas-del-carmen-and-the-tunnel/

with youtube videos from Homero Jimemez of the Puerto Rico mine, along with pictures from Al and others - which was fantastic - but unfortunately all the pictures that homerboy2u posted no longer seem to show up, though the GPS coordinates he posted were most helpful.

Anyways - I was wondering if someone would be willing to explain a bit more about El Pico, Terminal, the mines, El Jardin, etc. - to explain the possible routes for El Pico.  Can one actually climb to the top of El Pico?  Or only to the base?

From studying the maps, this is what I think are the coordinates for El Pico - is this correct:  29.211068, -102.814455

Thanks.

There are several ways to do it.  One is to get driven to El Jardin and then to hike along the del Carmen's to Pico and then come down to the mines or Terminal.  Another is to get a ride up to the mines and go up and back down from there.  The toughest hike would be to get a ride to Terminal and then hike to the base and go up the burro trail, which is a long hell hike, mostly straight up with a few switchbacks, even if you are in really good shape.  In any case I recommend a guide at least the first time you do it.
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: andrewsilver on January 12, 2017, 04:57:06 PM
Very big thanks to Lance and Al for sharing this info.  I'm still going through the joelg trip report - fantastic.  So is the 1982 video - and the map is invaluable, thank you.

On the map:  Is it possible to drive (in a solid 4x4) from the Terminal up the Ore Terminal Road for around 3.6 miles, then turn left on the Old Road #1 for around 4.09 miles, past the Earthen Tank, all the way up to the start of the El Pico Route in red?

Or alternatively is it possible to drive up the Old Mine Trail #1 (purple track) to Old Road #1 to the start of the El Pico Route in red?

If so, then it could potentially be feasible to climb the El Pico Route at ~2.1 miles (4.2 return) as a day hike.  I would be very interested in that.
Title: Re: Trip to Base of El Pico
Post by: Al on January 12, 2017, 09:29:37 PM
I don't believe you can get a  vehicle up at Terminal.  We did follow a road from the base of the Del Carmen's to Terminal the first time we hiked down from El Pico.  But from Terminal down to base desert it was more of a trail than a road, but it has been almost 25 years since we did that hike.