Leaders: Frank Goodykoontz, Patty Kine
This was one of the best HPS outings I have ever been on. It was a real workout with 13 hours hiking Saturday and 9 hours on Sunday.
29 of us met Saturday at 6:30am at the entrance parking lot of Lake Hemet Campground, which is next to Lake Hemet. This is located just south of the more popular Hurkey Creek Campground. Hurkey Creek is by advance reservation now, so the chances of getting a big group all together are not good. On the other hand, Lake Hemet has 1000 spaces, including lots of open area to camp on. The fee is $7 per car rather than $10 for Hurkey Creek.
We drove up the Apple Canyon Rd for the trail to Spitler, Apache, South, and Antsell Rock. We started hiking at 7:30 am on this cool, cloudless and windless day. Frank and I both had permits for 15. 15 is the maximum for a group going into this wilderness area. The first peak of the day was Spitler at 7440' in 5 1/2 miles and 2,600' of gain. This access trail to the PCT is not shown on the 1981 7-1/2 minute Idylwild quad. We nibbled a little on our lunches here and then went on to Apache at 7567' in 1-1/2 miles and 500' gain on the PCT except for the cross-country to the peaks.
A bigger lunch break was had on Apache as we sat in the rocks just below the summit to avoid the only wind encountered that day.
We started down Apache and avoided the PCT by taking the "historical ridge" to the saddle between Apache and Antsell, hoping to see some Sam Fink trail markers. In the days before the PCT, this was the route, which is rather rocky at times, but with great views.
Around noon, we were just above the saddle and had a nice lunch break. There were nice lupine blooming here.
Then we climbed up the hot and dusty PCT to the short turn off for Southwell Peak at 7840' in 2 miles and 900' gain to the top. Diane Dunbar, a newcomer to the HPS, became official by doing her 25th peak on South. As prearranged, I pinned a membership patch on her. She wanted to bring a bottle of champagne, but Frank wouldn't let her, due to the strenuous nature of the day.
The best was saved for last - Antsell Rock. We returned back to the PCT briefly, and at the saddle between Southwell and Antsell, headed directly up the north ridge of Antsell Rock. It was only a 600' gain, but significant. We saw several Sam Fink Trail markers on the ridge. Thank so much to Bill T. Russell and Don Borad for helping people over the several Class 3 rock areas, ending in a 50' high crack with very secure hand holds. The sun was low in the sky as we summitted Antsell at 7699'. We went down the other side (SE ridge) with a little more class 3 to the PCT and on down back to our cars at 8:30 pm. We did 15 miles rt and 4600'of gain.
During this action packed day while we were all having fun, a fellow climber, Bruce Parker, was killed on Clyde Minaret in the High Sierra. Bruce was very active in the SPS section, but I'm sure many of us knew him through mutual climbing activities. I had known Bruce since 1986 and will really miss him.
On Sunday, we started out with 28 (3 went home and 2 new came), but after Red Tahquitz, 2 people said they had had enough and went home. That left the group at 26.
We all drove to Humber Park in Idlywild to climb Red Tahquitz at 8620'. We left on the 2-1/2 mile Devil's Slide Trail at 7:30 am going from Humber Park to Saddle Junction. It was pleasant with no crowds on it early in the morning. I am glad there are permits because otherwise the trail would be overcrowded. At the saddle, we took the "Tahquitz Valley" trail to the "Tahquitz, Skunk Cabbage Meadow" trail to the PCT and on up the short use trail to the top of the peak. After doing 2400' gain and 5 miles to the peak, it was a good place to start the first installment of our lunch. Frank and I met the Ranger in separate groups on the PCT just after the Red Tahquitz use trail joins it. She asked for my permit. Frank and I held separate permits for 15 each.
Everyone had a bigger lunch on Tahquitz Peak Lookout at 8828'. There was a woman living in the lookout and writing a book. She had Monday and Tuesday off to leave the peak. I had never seen this lookout inhabited by an employee.
Lily Rock at 800' was the high point of the day. We went down the South Ridge Trail, then cross country to the saddle SE of Lily Rock and on up to the top of Lily Rock. There was some class 3 here.
Charlie Knapke, David Eisenberg and Bill T. Russell were very helpful with getting the group over this. Thank you so much.
The top of Lily Rock is where we had our last meal. 70 people could have fit on this summit. It is amazing to think this after I have climbed 5th class routes on this peak where the belay stances are just large enough to turn around in.
We then went around to the west side of the rock through brush on numerous use trails made by rock climbers and out the "Scenic Trail" north to the parking lot at Humber Park. It was 10 miles and 3300' of gain for the day.
Thanks to Frank Goodykoontz, Bill T. Russell, and Charlie Knapke for making the weekend a success. Those participating were Doug Hatfield, Bruce Peterson, Don Borad, Tom Sakowych, Devra Wasserman, Erik Siering, David Eisenberg, George Thomas, Dan Skaglund, Leslie Metcalfe, Eric Schumacher, Bill T. Russell, Pat Russell, Charlie Knapke, Stephen Nardi, Georgina Burns, Bonnie Michel, Cesar Michel, George Schroedter, Frank Dobos, Ruth Lee Dobos, Jennifer Lambelet, Delores Holladay, Betty Stirratt, Austin Stirratt, Frank Atkin, Carol Smetana, Diane Dunbar, and Rose Stein.