Perpendicular Bluff 2x ex-SDC
Lizard Peak P500
Yaqui Peak P300
Yaqui Ridge P300

Fri, Feb 22, 2019

With: Karl Fieberling
Patrick O'Neill
Matt Yaussi

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profiles: 1 2 3
Perpendicular Bluff previously climbed Mon, Apr 18, 2011


Finally, a sunny day. That seems such an odd thing to be saying in the desert, but it's been a busy February this year, weather-wise. Today would still be cold due to 10-15mph winds, but a welcome change from the overcast skies and rain. We were camped in Pinyon Wash in Mescal Bajada, just south of SR78 in Anza-Borrego SP. Patrick wanted to dry his gear out as the sun came up, so three of us set off an easy hour-long effort to Perpendicular Bluff before the bigger efforts later.

Perpendicular Bluff

This is a delisted peak from the San Diego Sierra Club's list found on the north side of SR78, at the far eastern end of Yaqui Ridge. It doesn't have much prominence, but still requires a 650-foot climb from the highway. It was about a mile and a quarter from where we camped, so we simply started from there. Just after crossing the highway one first crosses dry San Felipe Creek, interesting just after the rains as it was evident there had been significant water flowing in it recently, all the old animal and boot prints having been washed away. We then ascended green slopes, saturated with water to make for soft footing. A large barrel cactus had just fallen down in the past few days, its roots no longer able to hold the weight of the bloated cactus in the soft ground. We found our way to the summit by 7:45a where we found nice views overlooking Borrego Valley to the north. There was snow on all the surrounding hills down to 4,000ft - the Santa Rosas to the north, Sunrise to the southeast, Whale and Granite to the south, Pinyon Ridge to the west, a scene unlike any we'd seen in Anza Borrego before. Along with the benchmark, there was a register left by Mark Adrian back in 1995. As I was photographing its many pages, I noticed my own entry from 2011. I had thought I had climbed this summit before, but my GPSr was telling me otherwise. It was not until I saw my signature that it dawned on me that the algorithm I had used to create the peak list on my GPSr had a error. And then it dawned on me that two of the summits I climbed two days earlier were also second visits, unbeknownst to me at the time. God, I was feeling old and feeble at this moment. After the wind drove us from the summit, we descended by a slight variation, the three of us taking different routes before reconvening back in San Felipe Wash. By the time we returned to Patrick, he was all smiles, having successfully dried out all his gear and deploying his solar array to charge his lithium battery to 80% capacity.

Lizard Peak

Leaving most of our cars in Pinyon Wash, we piled into Patrick's Grand Cherokee and headed to Stag Cove, a few miles west along SR78. Our goal was the most prominent point in the North Pinyon Mtns which we would come to find is called Lizard Peak in the register. We parked at the southern end of the Stag Cove camping area where signs bar further driving, and headed up the ridge on our right. The peak has a great deal of rock jumbled about with cholla and other sharp spiney things that made this route a real chore, one none of us really relished. The NE Ridge went on much longer than we expected or wanted. Whining aside, it was about an hour before we topped out (not all that long). For our troubles we were rewarded with a nifty little class 3 summit block, climbable from two sides. We grabbed a register we found at the top and ducked off the leeward side of the peak to get out of the cold wind. It had been left in 1997 and had many pages of entries. It appears to have been added to which would explain some otherwise random visitors from states on the other side of the country. Not wanting to return the same way, we chose a steeper route down a gully on the east side in order to take advantage of the sandy wash system below. This worked out to be a far more pleasant route, and we found footprints enroute that seemed to suggest others had discovered this before us.

Yaqui Peak/Yaqui Pass Peak

We next drove up to Yaqui Pass where we parked at a small turnout as our starting point for unofficially named Yaqui Peak, about 2mi to the west. Worried that the rock looked as troublesome as Lizard Peak, I had wanted to climb it from the south, a shorter distance but another 400ft of gain that could take advantage of some sandy wash/gullies. Karl had favored the East Ridge from Yaqui Pass which is the route we went with and it turned out to be pretty enjoyable. After an initial steep climb to gain the main ridge, it became a pleasant albeit cold walk along the ridgeline that had less rock and cactus, though still plenty enough to keep us on our guard. It's a somewhat longish ridgeline, taking us about an hour and a quarter to reach the summit. There is a good drop continuing west before the ridge rises higher to Wilson BM, an SDC summit that was sporting a non-trivial amount of snow. There is a nice view of Borrego Valley and the spread-out community of Borrego Springs below to the north. The register was a busy one, dating to 1997. We couldn't find a peak anywhere in the park without a register, it seems. We sat on the least windy side for a short while until the cold drove us back down the ridge. We split up on the way back, Patrick jogging part of the way back to beat the rest of us handily, Matt lagging behind to do some videography as is his wont, Karl and I trying slightly different descent routes. As I was crossing the highway near the end, I got the idea to stealthily visit Yaqui Pass Peak, what I thought would be a quick stop on the other side of the highway, just above where we'd parked. The summit turned out to be a bit further and it was anything but stealthy. When Karl returned and asked Patrick where I was, Patrick pointed up the hill where he'd seen me go off. Karl then headed off after me, also tagging this PB-only summit. It had no register and little prominence, with two points of nearly equal height (we visited both).

Yaqui Ridge

After we'd all returned to Patrick's jeep, I suggested we could easily do one more, even though it was nearly 3:30p. Yaqui Ridge is the highest point of the ridge on the east side of the highway, not far from Yaqui Pass. We drove to a more convenient starting point less than 1/3mi from the summit, and made short work of the steep climb, taking less than 10min. Mark Adrian had left a register only a year earlier, with another four parties signing in since then. Finishing up around 4p, we decided to reward ourselves with dinner in town. We first drove back to our other vehicles at Pinyon Wash, showered, and repositioned them at Stag Cove where we'd spend the night. We then drove into town for dinner at Keslings Kitchen, a nice pub with a decent bar menu. And of course there was more fun on the menu for tomorrow...

Matt's Video


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