Ascent of Signal Peak on 2014-01-11

Climber: BMS 914

Others in Party:BLMhikergirl Pipps
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, January 11, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Signal Peak
    Elevation:4877 ft / 1486 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was a repeat attempt from our earlier fiasco on 12/22/2013, though Jim was not with us as he had already completed it earlier.

Jodie and I drove to the Palm Canyon trailhead, after quickly realizing her Chevy Malibu wasn't going to work on the Kofa Queen Canyon Rd heading toward our preferred route (the DPS "C" path). So we camped at the nice developed site we had stayed in before, and elected to try the DPS "B" Route we had failed to find last time (until we were descending). Weather forecasts for the night had been for low 30's, but we were surprised to find it was some 20 degrees warmer and quite pleasant.

This time, armed with the correct track in my GPS and knowledge learned in December, we set out in the darkness with headlamps glowing. We had little trouble finding the faint trail, and found our way back to Four Palms Canyon, and started up toward the saddle. Getting to the spot we made it to before (right around 3000') was fairly easy, but the terrain steepens and gets more and more brushy as it goes up the ever-narrowing canyon. The area is mercifully free of cholla, but absolutely crammed full of Crucifixion Thorn and Catclaw Acacia. Going was brutally slow here, and my GPS began losing signal and bouncing around. After what seemed an eternity, we at last reached the saddle at the top of the canyon, having already resolved to taking a different route down.

From the saddle, there is some rocky ridge top to cross, with great views of Ten Ewe Peak which is close at hand. Having heard it is not an easy add-on, we did not bother to try for Ten Ewe, as we still had ideas of trying for Castle Dome when we were done (which would involve a night descent by headlamp). At points, the ridges look like they might not connect without some significant downclimbing of rocky cliffs, but by looking we found a pretty easy way down which only involved a little easy Class 3.

The summit was nice, with fabulous views of the surrounding Kofa Wilderness. We took pictures, ate snacks, but found no evidence of a register to sign - not even an empty container.

We decided to take the DPS "C" Route down. This we knew to be short and fairly easy (if steep) Class 2, and it was. During the descent, Jodie decided she wasn't up for Castle Dome, which was fine with me. The problem with the route was it started essentially on the other side of the mountain from our trailhead, leaving us a moderate walk in Kofa Queen Canyon to get back to our inbound route (3.5 miles away). But just about anything that avoided the canyon we took up would be better, and most of the walking once at the "C" trailhead was a slow descent on a road in a gravel wash. Once at the mouth of the canyon, we left the road heading south, encountering two large fields of horrid Teddy Bear Cholla along the way. We took it slow to avoid stepping on the detached Cholla segments, and to avoid flicking the segments into the air if one became embedded in a shoe. I got one piece in my shoe that I removed with the afro pick I carry for cacti removal, but neither of us got any in our skin during the descent.

At length we hit our outbound path, found the trail, and cruised back to the car, then headed back to Las Vegas. I was glad to get this one over with, though it was admittedly a very scenic outing. The DPS "B" Route is NOT recommended.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3986 ft / 1214 m
    Elevation Loss:3986 ft / 1214 m
    Distance:11.1 mi / 17.9 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Clear and sunny
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:3365 ft / 1025 m
    Extra Loss:608 ft / 185 m
    Distance:4.4 mi / 7.1 km
    Route:DPS "B" Route
    Trailhead:Trailhead at end of Palm Canyon Rd  2120 ft / 646 m
    Time Up:4 Hours 52 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:3378 ft / 1029 m
    Extra Gain:621 ft / 189 m
    Distance:6.7 mi / 10.8 km
    Route:DPS "C" Route + road
    Trailhead:Trailhead at end of Palm Canyon Rd  2120 ft / 646 m
    Time Down:4 Hours 1 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by BMS 914
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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