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Southwell Peak, Tahquitz Peak, Red Tahquitz

21-22 August 1966

By: John Ripley

On Sunday, August 21, John McKinley and I left Humber Park near Idyllwild for Little Tahquitz Valley. Since we left at 10:30 AM, most of the weekend crowds were already leaving. After arriving at the valley around 12:00, we ate lunch and headed for Tahquitz Peak to survey the route we would take the next day. It was an extra-clear day, and upon consulting Mr. Southwell, the lookout, we learned that the weather had been clear and stormless.

Monday morning we left Little Tahquitz Valley at 8:00, contouring toward Red Tahquitz. We arrived on the summit at 8:30 and continued over the top toward the ridge which runs to Southwell and on to Antsell Rock. The ridge proved to be exceptionally rugged, being composed of jutting rock peaks and pinnacles surrounded by brush. Considerable time was spent in finding a way around the rocky cliffs and chaparral, and some class 3 climbing was encountered. At one point, a sharp knife edge made short work of the seats of our pants. A heavy club was used extensively for bushwhacking. Our arrival on Southwell was thus delayed until 11:45. On the summit was a register placed in June by Sam Fink, emblem holder #2, on his second ascent. His was the only other name to be found on this remote mountain which is not yet on the list.

Southwell's summit view is excellent, and the peak is impressive from most angles. I believe that this peak should be added to the list as soon as a scheduled trip can be arranged. Antsell Rock (to the south) looked very interesting from the top, but the ridge is so rugged that a cold, dry camp near Southwell would probably be necessary to get it by this route. It would be a minimum of 3 additional hours beyond Southwell.

After a leisurely lunch, John and I left at 1:00 for Little Tahquitz and its water (the ridge is so dry this time of year that hikers should take at least two quarts of water apiece). We topped Red Tahquitz around 4:00, having taken advantage of a ducked route apparently left by Sam Fink. This ducked route is nearly impossible to follow successfully when going to the peak. It is excellent for the return, however, and we placed a few additional ducks, hoping to improve the trail. We arrived at Little Tahquitz at 4:20, and, after an hour's rest, headed for Humber Park, arriving at 6:30.

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