Signal Peak 2x P2K DPS / RS
Peak 2,550ft P750 RS
Boot Peak P750

Wed, Dec 14, 2022

With: Eric Smith

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX
Signal Peak previously climbed Sat, Feb 23, 2008


Today was to be a climb of Signal Peak and Ten Ewe Mtn in the Kofa Mountains. Signal is the range and Wilderness HP as well as a DPS listed summit. I had climbed it back in 2008 with Matthew, but had missed out on Ten Ewe Mtn a few days ago when I was trying to reach it from the southeast. We failed on Signal for the reason soon to be mentioned, but found some consolation in other peaks we did afterwards.

Signal Peak - Ten Ewe Mtn

We had planned to climb this the previous day, but overnight snows in the higher reaches of the Kofa Mountains had us putting it off for a day. There was still snow when we started out from the Kofa Queen Rd a little after 8a, but we didn't expect it to be much of a problem. We were happy to find that there is a very good use trail, a delight after so many days of cross-country desert travel. The snow started sooner than we expected but probably shouldn't have been surprised - the route up Ten Ewe and Indian Canyons is all north-facing and gets minimal sun. We were a little over halfway, about a mile up the trail when we came to a slabby section that needed crossing. When I first saw it, I said something like, "Oh, this is interesting..." before gingerly making my way across. Eric followed and was nearly across when he slipped and quickly lost control. "Shit! Shit! Shit!" was all he could shout as he helplessly sped down the slick rock. I watched him go out over an edge and out of view, but could see that there were trees and brush below to stop his fall. It was about 20ft in total. I called down for him not to move before I could get down to examine him, but he was already standing up as I was crossing back across the slabs and said that his finger was dislocated. He had then popped it back in place when I caught up with him in another minute. He was lucky to have sustained no worse injuries, and the only other damage was some raspberries on his thigh and butt cheeks. We decided it was best to head back down and leave the peaks for another time. We could find other peaks to do that had no snow on them.

Peak 2,550ft

This peak is located a mile north of King Rd, and appears in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles. Purcell describes a route from US95 and up the west or north sides of the peak, but that seemed twice as long as the route I had in mind from King Rd. We had no idea if my planned route would work, but from below it seemed like it might. The first half is all class 2 as it crosses a broad wash and then up mildly brushy slopes leading to a notch with Peak 2,383ft to the south. There is some mild class 3 to reach the notch from where one can get a good view east into King Valley and a scary-looking one up the South Ridge. It looked impossible to scramble up along the grossly serrated ridge, but there was class 2 along the east side of the ridge that we could take higher. We followed this up until the easy stuff ended and the going above became class 3-4, steep, dotted with cholla, and worst of all, on questionable rock. I went up a short chimney to start and Eric followed this, but balked soon after. There was more scrambling above, but it was impossible to say when it would end or if the route would even go. Eric wanted to turn back. I waited for Eric to return down the chimney and retrieve his poles where we'd left them, then I continued up as he continued back. The hardest stuff took but 3-4 minutes to complete, slow cautious moves commeasurate with the exposure and poor rock. Exiting this messy rock, I landed above the worst of the South Ridge and the route ahead looked better, but far from assured. There was some fun with route-finding the rest of the way to the summit, but nothing more than stiff class 3, and 22 minutes after leaving Eric, I was on the summit. I found broken glass from what was probably a Lilley/MacLeod register, but no register replacement. I took a few photos of the views, sent Eric a text that I'd gotten to the top, then headed back down, carefully retracing the route all the way back to the poles. An hour from the summit I was back to the Jeep where I found Eric relaxing and reading his book.

Boot Peak

Now Oh-for-two, Eric was in need of getting to a summit today. We were headed to Yuma, so we stopped off at the southern edge of the US Army's Yuma Proving Grounds for a climb of Boot Peak, the highpoint of the Laguna Mtns. The peak is just inside the military base, but it seems to get climbed regularly so we didn't worry much. For those concerned about parking beyond signs that say "No Trespassing", one can drive less than a quarter mile to the south and park outside the reservation for less worry. The peak is about a mile from where we parked near a wash, out of view from the highway. We followed a route west along the gravelly wash, then up slopes with good footing to reach the NE Ridge. Sheep trails along much of the rocky ridge made the climb easy and enjoyable. There are views north into the Proving Ground, southeast to the agricultural farms in Dome Valley, and southwest to Yuma. We spent 50min in reaching the summit. An old, non-functional signal tower is found there. There are some older scraps in the register jar starting in 1990, and a busy booklet placed in 1999. Many of the entries are Army servicemen. We enjoyed the descent in the late afternoon with the more pleasant lighting and temperatures in the high 50's, near-ideal for hiking. We finished up by 4:30p, took showers, then headed to Yuma for Thai food. Not a bad day at all, considering it could have ended much worse...


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