On October 19, 1998 nine hikers from the San Diego Chapter worked the historic Sam Fink Trail from the Pacific Crest Trail to the summit. We were able to stay on Sam's original alignment and counted 14 of his markers along the way.
This was my 5th time leading that route, and with 7 other times on the south side, I do agree with Frank Dobos that the Sam Fink Trail is the best and safest way to do Antsell Rock.
If Antsell Rock is led as a single from Apple Canyon, using Sam's route in AND out makes a very rewarding group experience. The trail is open, safe and easy to follow offering magnificent views all around. Being longer, though, it could add two pleasant hours to your day.
There's no reason for using the gloomy gulch with its flying rocks, and the smooth, exposed south face unless we're in a real hurry. But, taking a less safe route to save some time is a poor leadership choice.
Let's all enjoy Sam's legacy to us by considering the north ridge approach as our primary route.