After being turned back last year because of thick manzanita and snow, three of us took off the day after Thanksgiving for another attempt at the summit. The route we took was different from the customary routes over Daugherty's property or over Apache Peak. Instead, we approached it from the west. The route included leaving Route 74 just below Keen Camp Summit on Road 5S05. We followed this road for approximately 3 miles until Road 5S05C was reached. This road is the entrance to the Fleming Ranch. We parked the car at the junction and proceeded to walk up 5S05C. This brought us to the locked gate at the Fleming Ranch, but the ranch hands have placed a wooden ladder over the barbed wire to make a climb over the wire easier. We continued on the road until we came to what appeared to be a ranch hand's or ranch master's living quarters, where we knocked on the door to request permission to pass over their property. No one responded to our knocks, so we continued on our trip. We turned right through a barbed wire gate with a red flag hanging on it and continued up the road. From here on, the early part of our trip up differed somewhat from our trip back, so we'll give what we think is the best route up from this direction.
Continue up the road after going past the gate with the red flag hanging on it. This will bring one to a "Y" intersection. Take the road to the right and continue until another "Y" intersection is reached. Again take the road to the right and continue until the end of the road. This takes one into a wash. Continue up the wash about 50 yards until what looks like a small bulldozer trail goes up to the left. We left ducks here to mark the spot. Go up this bulldozer trail which leads into another wash. Continue up this new wash until a duck we placed in front of a big cedar tree is reached. Turn right into a wash coming down the mountain from that direction and follow this wash. The upper part of this wash is all granite and makes climbing fairly easy. There is one tricky spot that requires some exposure climbing on the way up this wash, but if one looked hard enough he could probably find a way around it. Continue up the wash until the vertical rises of the false summit area are reached. Contour around to the left (north) at the base of these rocks. One then comes to what looks like an approach up to the summit (we thought about climbing this, but decided it would take us to a false summit, so therefore ignored it). Continue past this approach until a second logical route is reached. Take this route. Exposure climbing takes place almost the entire way up, so it is a good idea to take a rope along (although we didn't use it). The route up is almost self-explanatory. This brings one out on the ridge coming in from Southwell Peak. From there only a short distance presenting very little difficulty leads one to the top. At the top, one can see the many reasons why people who took the wrong approach came close and could see the top, but never made it.
From the top, we looked over the possibility of climbing the rock from Red Tahquitz via Southwell Peak and agreed with How Bailey and Vic Miller that this is not the most desirable way to come. We felt the route we took was much easier. In discussing our route, we agreed that every guess we made was correct. Total climbing time from the parked car to the top took three hours. The weather was clear and crisp. We had lunch on top and then proceeded down. Total trip time from leaving the car to returning took about five hours.