Signal Peak, Kingston Mountains
By: Bill Henderson
Kofa Mtns. Dec. 30 thru Jan. 1. These are spectacular mountains with rugged pinnacles and deeply cut canyons in its 1000' high, sheer walls that form the sides of the mountain. To get there, we drove 17 miles south of Quartzite, then turned left on a gravel road which led 7-1/2 miles to the mouth of Palm Canyon. The climb started at 7:00 A.M. Sunday morning with one group of 10 (consisting of Harry Sutherland, leader, Georgie White, Dorothy Campbell, Marie Smith, Eleanor Smith, Elgin Pierce, Fritz Sloman, Leroy Arnold, and Margie and Bill Henderson) going the rock climbing route, and 13 (consisting of Toni Gamero, leader, Bernice and Walter Heninger, Ruth and Frank Ferro, Niles Werner, Bob Bear, Eleanor Ruth, Muriel Pope, Don Kelly, Willard Dean, Burton Baldwin, and Jim Farlay) going the hiking route.
The rock climbing route led directly up Palm Canyon. It by-passes the narrow canyon with the palms which into one side. At one point it is necessary to veer slightly to the right over a promontory to gain access to the upper canyon. While crossing this promontory, two mountain sheep were seen at only 200 ft. Continue to the end of this upper canyon where it ends in a head wall with two ugly 100' dry waterfalls staring you in the face. On the left (facing up the canyon) and approx. 100' from the canyon end is another dry waterfall, but of not too great steepness. The first fifty foot pitch is 3rd class. Then the trough splits into two. The area between the troughs should be climbed as high as possible, then traverse 12 ft. (4th class) into the right trough. (This is the only place rope is needed) At the top of this trough cut back to the left trough and use it up to a ledge that runs at right angles. Follow the ledge right, up through a narrow notch. This brings one out on a large platform high above a deep canyon which separates the summit on the other side. Descend to the right about 50' then over a 200' high rugged intermediate ridge. Once over this, walk left for 1/4 mile to the summit, the cairn of which is plainly visible. Climbing time was 4 hours.
The hiking route skirts the base of the mountain to the left, entering the first big canyon north of Palm Canyon. Follow up the stream bed until three or four big canyons fan out from this canyon. Use the one that is straight ahead. It has a notch at its head and part way up a bushy shelf can be made out running along the left side of the main gully in this canyon. Use this shelf as much as possible. When the notch is reached at the upper end of the canyon, climb out on the right side and ascend the ridge ahead veering for saddle slightly to the right. Once in the saddle, the summit cairn is easily seen. Climbing time 3-1/2 hrs. The rock climbing route is actually shorter, but the time required depends largely on the number in the party.
Comparing notes between the hikers and climbers, a total of six sheep were seen on the mountain. Lunch fires were kept ablaze in an effort to keep down the cold of the snow flurries on the summit.
Upon returning to camp, we were throughly refreshed by punch and cake served by Walt and Bernice Heninger. This is certainly the way to finish any hike.
The Kingston Mtns., Jan 1. After the Kofa. climb, Fritz Sloman, Dorothy Campbell, and Leroy Arnold drove about 150 miles north to the Kingston Mtn. Monday morning they started climbing from Tecopa Pass on the north side of the mountains. They didn't get started climbing till late in the morning, so only ascended the peak several thousand feet above the road. But this gave them a view of the actual peak 4 walking miles away along a rough boulder strewn ridge with many ups and downs. Fritz said the area was quite thick with Pinyon also. He thought it might be easier to climb the peak from the southeast even though it is necessary to gain more elevation.
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