Peaks: South Signal Mountain (11,248′) – Rocky Mountain National Park, and Signal Mountain (11,262′) – Comanche Peak Wilderness
Date: December 27, 2014
Trailhead: Dunraven (7,800′) *
Approach: Bulwark Ridge Trail
Distance: ~12.5 miles
Elevation Gain: ~3,800 ft.
Participants: Sam Sala, Dillon Sarnelli
Time: 11 hours
*Note: Due to the September 2013 flooding, much of the area around the Dunraven TH is still closed. The Bulwark Ridge Trail is open. See the Poudre Wilderness site for more info. You are permitted to park at the Dunraven TH and hike up the road .3 miles to the Bulwark Ridge Trail #928/Signal Mountain Trail. You are also permitted to hike up the road to Cheley Camp to temporarily access the North Fork Trail #929. The Dunraven TH is still closed in most other directions.
After consuming 834 of Grandma’s Italian Christmas cookies (homemade and delivered all the way from NJ I might add – Thanks Gram!), I made a game-time decision to remove my fat@ss from the couch. So what does one do on the Saturday after Christmas when the high is predicted to be infinitely negative, travel in the high country isn’t very safe, and most importantly, you’re almost all out of cookies. Find some 11ers? Why not… Sam got my text at 8 PM on Friday night and by 8:04 he had already rented his snowshoes. It took very little convincing as he, too, was itching to go outside and lives about an hour from the TH in the Fort. We were also both looking forward to getting back out in the same zip code as it had been some time since we last hit the trail together.
A little background on these peaks. South Signal Mountain, unranked at 11,248 feet, sits in the NE corner of Rocky Mountain National Park. The Park boundary actually traverses around the summit so you are literally standing in the corner of the park when standing on the summit. Signal Mountain, the ranked sister peak at 11,262′, is .6 miles northeast and resides in the Comanche Peak Wilderness. The views from these summits look south into RMNP and the Mummy Range, offering a less seldom seen perspective for a Denverite. To the north, you have unobstructed views into Wyoming and the remainder of Comanche Peak Wilderness in all directions.
December 27, 2014, 6 AM – One very cold step out of the jeep and it became clear that if we were going to stand on 2 summits today, we would have to earn them.
On to the summits… These peaks might only be 11K feet, but what they lack in height, they make up for in summit views.
I think Sam summed it up perfectly when he said “I think that was harder than the Ten Mile traverse”. 🙂 Don’t underestimate those 11ers! Great day out, Sam. Thanks for the company and the entertainment. Let’s do it again soon, buddy.
And back in time to catch the bowl game and a cereal beer at Black Bottle Brewery in Fort Collins.
Thanks for reading and I hope you had a Happy New Year! Cheers to 2015! Be safe out there.