TINKER KNOB (8,949') CLASS 2
Location: 6.5 miles SE of Norden, CA
Drive: Same as Donner Peak and Mt. Judah, Route A, Drive.
Climb: See Anderson Peak, Route A, Climb. Take the PCT south and follow the trail past Anderson Peak on its right (west) side. Continue on the PCT about 1 mile to the left (northwest) shoulder of Tinker Knob. An unsigned, side, use trail leads up and right (west) about 0.2 mile and 300 feet gain to the summit. Very minor class 2 scrambling may be required for a very short distance.
Drive: Take I-80 to the Highway 89 South Exit just west of Truckee, and take Highway 89 south 8.7 miles to turn right (west) on the "S**** Valley Road" marked by the Olympic circles on a large sign here. Drive 2.3 miles west to the immense, ski resort parking lot and, after crossing the last bridge, park immediately on the left at the northwesternmost part of the lot.
Climb: Proceed north from the parking to the fire station and its south side where a sign, "trail," points out the trail's start. A short way further, a sign reads "Granite Chief Trail 15E23 PCT 4 Granite Chief Mtn 5 Tinker Knob 7." At a fork, shortly, take the lower, more used trail. Several "trail" signs, further along, point out the way. Take care to avoid the stray, side use trails. A sign indicates the trail to Shirley Lake. Go right and up, to the PCT. At the PCT junction, a sign, "Granite Chief Trail," points the way back. The former sign read, "Granite Chief Trail 15E23 S**** Valley 4 Tinker Knob 3 Granite Chief Mtn 1 1/2." Go right (north) along the signed PCT, dropping, then climbing up to the right (northwest) shoulder of the peak, joining Route A.
WINTER SKI ASCENT: See Anderson Peak, Winter Ski Ascent. Route A connected with Route B makes a classic ski traverse which can be coupled with an overnight stay at Benson Hut. The Sierra Crest is totally exposed to fierce winds and stormy weather, and misfortune has befallen many a party attempting to do this route, which would be 13 miles one way. A foul weather escape route exists in skiing northeast down Coldstream Valley from the vicinity of Benson Hut, and is well advised in the event of a major weather disturbance.
TRIP STATS: Route A, 2,500 feet gain with an additional 500 feet gain on the return, 8 miles one way; Route B, 3,250 feet gain with an additional 500 feet gain on the return, 7 miles one way; winter ski ascent, same as Route A or B, as both trailheads are plowed.
Notes: Traveling westbound, from the I-80 straight away about one mile east of Truckee, Tinker Knob is seen straight ahead as the distinct bump on the Sierra Crest. Tinker Knob is also seen from I-80, while going uphill westbound from the Donner Lake Exit, as the sharp bump to the left (south). See Anderson Peak, Notes, for more information.
Hikes have been reported to use Coldstream Canyon, accessed from the first, main Truckee exit, while traveling eastbound, but I have found some of this is posted, and presumably private land.