ANDERSON PEAK (8,683') CLASS 2
Location: 5 miles SE of Norden, CA
Drive: Same as Donner Peak and Mt. Judah, Route A, Drive.
Climb: Take the signed PCT south, which crosses a dirt road after a mile or so, and passes the two loop trail ends of the Mt. Judah Loop Trail. Stay on the trail, passing under lift towers, then pass the point of interest to the left (east) where the Emigrant Route passes over the Sierra Crest. Continue on the PCT, which traverses to the left (east) of Mt. Lincoln, and then regains the Sierra Crest. The trail drops down, then up, then down along the open Sierra Crest. The use trail makes a big climb up the side of Anderson Peak. A sign "PCT" marks this side use trail diverting up and left (south) from the PCT to the Sierra Club's Benson Hut. Another side trail leaves the PCT about a few hundred feet, southbound, on the PCT. The Hut is located in trees about 200 feet below the top of the peak. From the Hut, a scree trail traverses up and right (west) a few hundred feet into a broad, rocky gully, then climbs steeply up to the summit area. Rough, rocky ground marks the summit area. The highpoint will be on a low ridge to the left (east).
WINTER SKI ASCENT: See Donner Peak and Mt. Judah, Winter Ski Ascent. Route A is widely used as the route to be used to reach Benson Hut. Coldstream Valley to the northeast of the peak, which empties after 6 miles into a Truckee Interstate-80 service area, offers a bad weather escape route from the hut.
TRIP STATS: Route A, 2,000 feet gain with an additional 500 feet gain on the return, 7 miles one way; winter ski ascent, same as Route A, except for an additional few hundred feet each way.
Notes: Route A followed
to Anderson Peak, then over to connect with Tinker Knob, Route
B, makes a classic, one-way, hike or ski tour. The end points
would be Sugarbowl and Squaw Valley, the site of the 1960 Winter
Olympic Games. The peaks need not be climbed, and can be bypassed,
if time is critical or the weather is poor. The ridge is fully
exposed to the weather, and conditions can be quite severe. At
least one party has had serious misfortunes on a winter traverse.
Benson Hut makes a comparatively pleasant stay, for backpackers, with grand views of the sunset and sunrise. Reservations can be made at the Sierra Club's Clair Tappaan Lodge.
During the winter, watch for avalanche conditions while traversing route A around the slopes of Mt. Lincoln. A cornice forms above this part of the route, and at least one skier has been killed here. If conditions are unsafe, go over the top of Mt. Lincoln.
Under certain conditions, the Sugarbowl Resort may transport you, for a fee, up one of its lifts to save some distance and gain on this route.