Picachos El Fraile

  • Picachos El Fraile
  • 2400 m
  • Primary factor 1610 m
  • Mexico
  • Location: North N23.13851, East 057.01404 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 4
  • Climbed November 15. 2018.


How to get there:

Route description:
Go 50 meter left, then head uphill, following a somewhat vague trail marked with blue tape on some of the vegetation. The trail crosses a dry creek (left to right) and passes just left of an isolated building. Gradually, this trail becomes better defined, still marked with blue tape.
The trail will lead you into a canyon, cross the dried out creek and then start climbing up on the right hand side slope. Gaining elevation, the route traverses a bit left again while ascending over a few slabs, then reaching a small opening with cliffs above, there is an easily recognized cave here at location N25.86075, W100.63390, elevation about 1650 meter.
Shortly after, you reach a first saddle with good views back to the city, this is at N25.86140, W100.63303, elevatio about 1710 meter. Follow the trail as it now climbs towards the cliffs above, then turns right, climbing a small ramp that connects nicely with the main crest at N25.86421, W100.62981, elevation about 1920 meter.
Descend slightly, then ascend the first hump. Soon thereafter you reach a step on the ridge that must be down-climbed just on the left. This is a 5 meter crux, hard (YDS) class 4. Some parties may want to use a short rope to protect this. A bit further along the ridge, there is a second downclimb (also to your left), this is considerably easier, (YDS) class 3. The remaining route to the summit never exceeds (YDS) class 2+.
Next, follow the ridge as it beomes more narrow and a bit exposed, while descending, there are no difficulties here, but obvious care should be exercised. airy spots, The trail climbs a false summit at N25.86341, W100.61338, elevation about 2320 meter, before the true summit comes into view. The final section of the route is easier than it appears from this point. Descend to the final (broader) saddle and follow the ridge as it climbs towards the summit block, one should descend slightly and do the final part of the ridge on its left side. From here, follow the obvious route along and up a good ledge, that connects higher up and finally enters a summit slope that easily leads to the top.
I did this climb with my friends Adam and Rob. Rob returned from Centinela, we all had dinner in our hotel, then agreed to meet at the trailhead by 0700.
Sunrise as we parked, then walking by 0720. This quite impressive peak was looming above us in the morning sun. The hike was quite nice, we made the first saddle with a view at 0915 after a brief rest by the cave, Proceeding, we were at the main crest at 0940. The ridge-walk was delightful, very good views all along. We made the false summit around 1100 and arrived at the summit at 1120. Very good view, the continuation of the crest, very wild. The view north across to Chena that we climbed yesterday, was also quite clear. This is clearly the best spot from where to view the city of Monterrey. Resting and enjoying the good weather until 1200, we reluctantly started our descent. Walking the ridge back, possibly even nicer as we had the sloping ridge ahead. The climb back up the crux was the cruxentertaining, each of us using a somewhat different approach to gain the key crack. (to the left in the last picture.)
We were back down at the car by 1520, so exactly an 8 hour hike. The day ended with another dinner at our hotel. The next day Rob would attempt his newly discovered ultra, Gomas, while Adam and I would drive to Centinela, then onwards west to Baja.