Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Altar dunes

Recommended Posts

You might want to check with Mike Kay as I believe I saw a post from him for a ride in that area. It is vast to say the least, makes Glamis look like Blow Sand comparatively.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last page of August Dirt Rider has a sweet pic of Altar. That day Jimmy, Dave, and Johnny crossed directly thru the middle as few have done.

These guys have awesome rigs - http://s98589497.onlinehome.us/2004/AltarDesert2004/Altar2004TripReport.html

A slow go of it in those that's for sure and they didn't cut thru the middle, but their waypoints from '02 look like they went thru the mid section.

And the comment in there about the Mex. 4WD club that's had 7 deaths out there, whoa.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I wonder how many TTers have actually been to the Altar"? Not many....

I've been exploring the Altar since '92. Check out Ed Daracks book "Wind Water Sun" for some pics and background of the area. I helped the author explore this part of the sonora desert--including a crossing 13 years ago.

The Altar includes lots more than just the dunes--Pinacate Peak, Kino bay, the many mar craters and lava flows are also worth exploring. Its also home to the rare Sonoran Pronghorn. Not to mention the narco-traffickers.

The Dunes are impressive. I've crossed them noth/south and east west. Its always a different experience. The sand quality is similar to stuff i found in Egypt, Sudan and Tunisia. Very loose sand--what some would call 'sugar sand' -- and yes there are spots with 'quicksand'! Biggest dunes are over 500 feet. Thats big! Twice the size of the biggest at Buttercup...Many of the more remote corners or this place have never been visited. There is a mysterious plane wreck, a huge cross honoring a slain journalist, stuck dodge truck, and many more things scattered thru the sea of sand....but mostly its just awesome dune after awesome dune...there are 7 major dune assemblages. Its incredible. You can see the sea from many of them on a clear day (and thats like 99% of the time...)

Most guys stage out of Cesars truck stop off Hwy 2 just east of the check point. Cesars son is a quad guy (and Dakar fan) and he knows them better than anyone. Park in back and ask permission. If you are lucky he can ride with ya and show ya the best parts.

You can also stage out of the park's campground, or El Golfo (or Yuma or San Louis for that matter).

Plan on getting about 10-15 miles per gallon on your bike. Plan on it being hotter than you would expect. Run tall gearing. Run a well worn and wide rear tire. Fprget rinding it without an ebutton.

Carry LOTS of water. Its amazing how easy it is to get split up. Radios are a good idea. Sat. phone is even better. GPS is helpfull if you want to cross the dunes--its disorienting in the middle of the bigger dunes.

We are planning another Dakar practice trip out there in Oct. More info on the Husky site. Consider joining us.

Take extreme caution in that place. Its something special--its real and still un-discovered, but its very very remote. Last year the guys gong to Dakar had some scary experiences out there. Its awesome--but not for everyone.

PM if ya have more specific questions.

-Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Mike. I had talked to Dave quickly about his crossing and got me to thinking. Based on your message I want to go down and do a few trial runs before I start to seriously think about doing a crossing. I can't make it in Oct., but if you do another run would appreciate it if you could let me know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We wont go out again after Oct--the truck and bikes will be on a ship and not back in the USA until April or May.

Consider going to Cesars Truck Stop about 9-10 miles east of San Louis (the Yuma border town) on the only paved road.

From Cesars just ride cross county 3-4 miles due south. You can see the dunes in the distance.

You will then reach the extreme north-west of the dunes. When ya hit the sand--start slowly exploring to the south and east--that means go left a little. After crossing 3-4 major dune fields you will start to get to the good stuff. Its wild. Just keeps getting bigger and wilder the farther in ya go.

For sure dont try this alone. But have fun and get a feel for the place. Crossing north-south is the safest. You will sooner or later hit the railway tracks. Again--google earth has all the waypoints, essential if you want to make a crossing.

Cesars to El Golfo is very doable. About as close to the Dakar as it gets over here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...Last year the guys gong to Dakar had some scary experiences out there...
Here's some photos and captions from that Dakar training ride we did last year:

http://www.hogwildracing.com/blog/index.php?itemid=26

The photos don't show the vastness of the place or huge dunes we encountered there. Once we got to the huge “mountain” dunes, they were so intimidating we weren’t in the mood to stop for photos.

The first day we parked at Cesars and rode in from there. That night we all stayed at a hotel in San Luis (Mexico). On the second day we rode the bikes on the highway from San Luis to Cesars and then into the dunes.

If you can make it to this waypoint, you’re a stud: (32° 6'54.04"N, 114°27'12.06"W). We got within a few hundred yards on the sidecar when we got a flat and had to turn back. Only one of our group made it to that point.

One lesson learned, don’t split up while riding. Once you loose sight of your buddies, they may be gone for ever. We all made that mistake, and one guy truly thought he was as good as dead when he got lost. He somehow made it back to the hotel, but refused to go back out, even in a truck, to help rescue us when we had the flat tire. My wife said he was literally shaking he was so scared. With some “scouting” help from Kevin Heath and James Embro, we found a manageable way out with our flat. It’s a fantastic place, but you really have to play it safe. We’ll be back!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:

Sign in to follow this  

×