In an attempt to make something out of the year 2003, I set my goal as Antsell Rock. The year before, while on the PCT toward Southwell Peak, our group stopped long enough to look up the "gully" towards this peak. Our leader was Mars Bonfire. He cautioned me against trying this climb alone. But, as we moved on toward Southwell, I vowed to bag Antsell Rock as one of my first 100 peaks.
Seeking a mentor for this hike, I called Mars and explained my situation. He agreed this was a fascinating peak; and the date was set. Arriving early at the Idyllwild Ranger Station, I met another HPS group led by Wolf and Karen Leverich. They were off to Sam Fink Peak. Coincidentally, I would be on a Sam Fink trail later that same day.
Meeting up with Mars, we traveled to the tranquil scene at the Zen Center. We proceeded up the Apple Canyon trail to the PCT and the gully approach to Antsell Rock. Anxious to bag this peak, I simply looked up the gully when asked if I wanted a break. Mars, ever the conscientious leader, took this as my answer and we were off and away toward the top. I was advised cautiously on virtually every foothold I made. Accordingly, I acknowledged the guidance and agreeably fitted myself with safety rope and harness when maneuvering the vertical ascent. We were on the top of Antsell before long and enjoyed the rarefied air of peak conquest.
To complete the day, we traversed the old Sam Fink trail toward Southwell rather than returning back down the gully. One comes to appreciate the more modern PCT rather quickly. However, the route taken by the great leader was ingenious, to say the least. Returning to the PCT, we made our way back to the cars and the end of a great hike.