Signal Peak, Castle Dome Peak


By: Lothar Kolbig


An enthusiastic group of 32 Desert Peak climbers assembled at Palm Canyon Road 16 miles south of Quartzite, Arizona and followed leader Walt Wheelock to the north around the steep escarpment of the west face of Kofa. After a mile of hiking in the desert floor a wide wash was reached which we followed and by keeping to the right it led up a steep draw to a saddle. Here we rested while rear guard Lothar Kolbig brought up the slower group. From this saddle we turned southwesterly up an easy slope from the top of which we could see our objective. It now became necessary to descend about one hundred feet into another draw, then to clamber up the ether side and ascend the easy slope. Most of the group reached the summit before noon. The day being fair, fine views across the desert as far as Little Picacho were a pleasant experience. Rear guard Lothar Kolbig led the party back to the cars while Walt Wheelock stayed with the slower group. Four rock climbers ascended the peak via a fourth class route.

Saturday night camp was established just at dusk on the mine road close to Castle Dome.

Early Sunday morning we caravaned up the road about two miles until we reached a broad wash. Here we left the cars, the road beyond becoming very poor and hiked up the broad wash. Leader Kolbig apologized for not remembering the exact route. Topo maps of this area are unavailable and the route was followed by instinct. However, by following this bread wash until it swings into a northerly canyon past some steep peaks an the right we reached a steep slope at the head of the canyon. Ascending it we reached a saddle from which Castle Dome was clearly visible one half mile away. Descending about 75 feet we arrived at the steep slopes and gradually worked our way up to the northeastern flank of Castle Dome. Crossing along a broad ledge past some overhangs. Phil Clayton who was in the lead found an easy class three pitch which led to the summit. Again fine views were had in all directions. All climbers returned before dusk. The route we followed is far more direct than the many ups and downs of the former route. It is on sandy ground most of the way.

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