Signal Peak


By: Gordon McLeod



Neko Colevine and I originally scheduled this trip back in February of 1971. That trip was ultimately led by Gene Gail and Bob Herlihy. (See DPS Newsletter No. 106, May/June 1971). Our first objective this time, as well as in the previous exp1oratory, was Peak 3581 on the ridge north of Kofa. Queen Canyon, which is one canyon north of the popular canyon followed by most people in climbing Kofa. Peak 3581. is one of the impressive peaks seen from Hwy 95 that lies north of the Kofa Massif.

Only one car with four people showed up in Quartzite at the meeting time-- a not unexpected situation in view of the fact that only two others had contacted the leaders before the trip. Apparently, the gasoline shortage intimidated others. We drove in a large U.S. type station wagon to within l/2 mile of the entrance to Kofa Queen Canyon, and hiked the mile or so to the base of the peak, although as it turned out, the typical desert road was as good or as bad beyond where we stopped as it was before. A Class 2 scramble brought us to the saddle west of the peak. We traversed 50 yds. or so along the north side of the peak over Class 2 terrain to a point where a steep gully comes up from the southeast. At this point one can look to the right rear (southwest) and see a horizontal ledge some 50' above leading southward to a wide chute that goes upward to the west, We reached this ledge by backtracking 50' or so, climbing a rotten 3rd Class chimney (we roped) for about 50' or so. From this point there is a 10' 3rd Class descent to the ledge, over which we also roped (perhaps unnecessarily because it was easy 3rd Class but quite exposed). From the end of the ledge, it is an easy Class 3/Class 2 scramble to the top. We were amazed not to find any record of previous ascent. Had I reread Gene Gail's write-up before the trip, I would have noted Gene's words: "....There were no signs of previous ascents, but perhaps all our predecessors were as neat as we were," Unfortunately, perhaps, the same cannot be said for the present party.v Our second objective was to be Peak 4l7O, which lies 2 miles to the northeast on the ridge north of Tunnel Mine Canyon. The lure, however, of the Palm Canyon route up Kofa proved stronger, perhaps because Neko and myself had never climbed Kofa by that route, and Graham Stephenson and Harvey Hickman hadn't repeated for 10 years or more. But before leaving Peak 4170, let me indicate that it appears a worthy and challenging desert peak, which I intend to lead next year.

As far as a description of the Palm Canyon route up Kofa, I'm looking forward to George Hubbard and Hank Levine's write-up of their planned trip of 16-18 February, 1974 to Kofa, Castle Dome, and Little Picacho--especially to that part that deals with the ......"easy Class 4".... route up Palm Canyon to Kofa.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

DPS Archives Index | Desert Peaks Section