Castle Dome Peak, Signal Peak


By: Maris Valkass


Signal Peak (Kofa) and Castle Dome are always great peaks to climb. The sonoran vegetation along with the volcanic rock formations are always beckoning me to return.

We climbed Signal Peak by the Palm Canyon route. There were only six of us so the fourth class section went pretty fast. All of the participants were also good rock climbers. The weather was somewhat overcast so we were able to stay cool. Otherwise it was clear and very pleasant. There was a lot of evidence of bighorn sheep, but we did not see any. Someone, on our way down, told us that they saw one large ram in the canyon.

We got back to the cars an hour earlier than estimated, so we decided to drive to Castle Dome and camp near there. We had plenty of daylight, and were able to prepare our camp and dinner by light.

Greg led the climb to Castle Dome. He decided to do it by the northern route, at the thumb. I remembered coming down that way, but never climbing it. That actually seemed to be easier than the back route via the ledges. It was all third class without route finding. We descended via the ledges just for variation.

The weather again was overcast and warm. It looked as if it was going to rain, and on our way back to the highway, we were hit by some raindrops. We could see in the distance where there were some rain showers.

In Yuma area you can see a small blimp sitting stationary in the sky. It reminds me of the balloons you see at some of the car dealerships in the LA area. It is my understanding that it is used by the government for tracking illegal activities. Anyway, because of the storm, the blimp was lowered to the ground, and it turned out to be about as large as the Goodyear Blimp. It actually sits pretty high up, we observed it from Castle Dome, and it was well above us.

The participants were: Mirna and Greg Roach, Elaine and David Baldwin, John Wickel, and Anna and Maris Valkass. My thanks to all for the wonderful weekend.

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