Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thur, July 26 - A day of side hikes - Benson Hut near mile 1150

I love this trail!  Three small but very exciting side peaks today and some fantastic ridgeline hiking.  Started off with great views, especially of Twin Peaks from my campsite.  As I entered the Granite Chief wilderness I knew I had to climb the Twin Peaks.  Took a short detour on the Tahoe Rim Trail where it splits from the PCT then up the loose rock slopes to the saddle  between the two Twin Peaks.  On up the rocks to the knife edge summit.  Exposed edges and great views especially back toward the lava butte near my campsite.  A register box was on the summit.  When I returned to the PCT I caught up with N&N and also Doe Eyes and Scrubrat. 

The trail continued all morning along the ridges with views of Lake Tahoe and hiked right through the Tahoe Ski Area.  Had lunch on a rock ridge pass with views of the gondola and ski lifts, Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley.  Down and back up I came to another long ridgeline as we came close to Tinkers Knob.  Yup, another steep rock scramble with great views all around that I had to climb.  Number two side hike today.  Didn't find a register but there were lots of rock circles made on the summit. 

I then hiked around the base of Anderson Peak on the PCT to search for the rumored Sierra Club Ski Hut.  Almost gave up but I decided to drop my pack and climb a small rise to the base of the cliffs on the north side of the peak - Success!    Benson hut will be my home for the night.  But before starting dinner I just had to climb Anderson Peak - my third side hike of the day.  While the summit looked so close it was a longer hike then I thought as you had to find a way around the cliffs by circling around the loose rocks under the cliffs and find a way up the loose steep rock.  Nice hike with great views of the ridge and Tinker Knob from the summit.  A metal Sierra Club register box was found on one of the several possible high points on the large rock summit cone. Another fantastic day!

View from top of Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks in the Granite Chief Wilderness

Looking down at Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe Ski Area

Granite Chief

Top of Tinkers Knob

Tinkers Knob

Benson Ski Hut and Anderson Peak

Anderson Peak Summit Register

Sunset from Benson Hut

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