Hiking Stats as of 11/20/2019
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Sep 1, 2013 - Anderson Peak / Tinker Knob


Partners: Kyle Breen

Distance: 15.74 miles

Elevation Gain: 3,484 feet

Trip Time: 6:48

Maps and Stats:
Kyle and I had planned on hiking something on this first day of September, however we were a bit wary of the Rim fire near Yosemite and the impacts that the smoke might have on our plans. The Rim fire, one of the largest and costliest in California history, was throwing off a massive smoke plume which was being blown about in different directions on a daily basis, depending upon the prevailing winds. Since we couldn't adjust our hiking date (a little thing called work gets in the way), we were hoping for the best as the date approached.

We had decided to visit some peaks off of Highway 80, keeping with our practice of visiting the northern Sierra peaks together while leaving the southern peaks for me to visit on my own, due to my location to the south. We decided upon a couple of OGUL Peaks - Anderson Peak and Tinker Knob, with Tinker also being an SPS and WSC peak as a bonus. These two were a few miles beyond the Donner Peak/Mt. Judah/Mt. Lincoln trip that we had completed as a spring hike through the snow, and we had seen these peaks off in the distance from Mt. Lincoln but knew that the trail conditions would not permit us to make the trip on that day.

We met up at Fry's in Roseville and made the trip up to the Donner Ski resort where we hooked up with the PCT at about 11 AM. This was a bit of a late start to be sure, so we planned on keeping up a quick pace to ensure we could complete our planned 15+ mile hike. The day was cloudy, although we weren't sure if it was due to the smoke or if it really was cloud cover. Unlike last time when we lost the PCT under the cover of snow and wound up scrambling up Donner Peak, this time we easily followed the PCT as it wrapped around the northern side of Mt. Judah before cresting on the saddle between Judah and Lincoln. From here we had our first views of Anderson Peak, although the views to Tinker Knob were still hidden from view. We were both pretty happy with the weather situation, as the combination of smoke/clouds kept things nice and cool.

Once we left the saddle of Judah/Lincoln, we were finally on new ground. The PCT drops down from this point, before following the ridgeline upwards towards Anderson Peak and the higher Tinker Knob. We knew that we would have to leave the PCT to summit Anderson (and later Tinker), but the specifics were a bit vague. We figured we would figure it out pretty easily, however, and weren't too worried about route finding. After a couple of miles past the saddle we came to a trail junction where the PCT continued around what looked to be Anderson Peak and and another faint use trail went straight up the hill. We took the use trail and were surprised to find a Sierra Hut at the top of the use trail. The Hut, called the Benson Hut, is available to use for those trekking through the area and I imagine is of great use for those looking to come through this area in winter. We spent about 15 minutes exploring the hut and all it had to offer and were thoroughly impressed. The hut has several sleeping cots, wood for making a fire, cookware for making meals, and an empty upstairs for hosting larger parties. The Hut is available for reservation as well (I think for about $5 per night). From outside the Hut we noticed the terrible deterioration in the smoke conditions, and decided it was time to get moving again.

We were not too keen on going back down the steep hill to the PCT, so we headed up the hill towards the rocky peak ahead which we were pretty sure was Anderson Peak. We soon found a use trail that seemed to fade in and out, and were able to follow that as long as was needed, until all that was left was a rather steep scramble up to the ridgeline. The scramble up was a bit iffy, as the rocks were loose and we wound up going moderately different routes, as much to ensure we didn't kick rocks down on each other as anything else. Once we hit the ridge line and looked back over what we had come up it certainly looked like it might be a little steeper than something we would want to try to descend. From this point it was an easy jaunt up to the top of Anderson Peak, confirmed by our finding of the Sierra Club marker on top. From the top we had some terribly smokey views, certainly not any picturesque scenes like some of our other Sierra peaks. We located the summit register, but found that the pen inside was dry. No amount of bending would loosen the thing up. We could tell that the last party to sign the register simply used the pen and left a dry imprint, but rather accidentally I discovered that the pen did have ink (after I cracked it open) and spilled a giant ink blob on the register. With fate having shown the way, we dipped the pen into the blob and scribbled out our signatures. With the festivities over, we noted the sight of Tinker Knob off in the hazy distance and started off.

We could see the PCT well down below where we were, but instead of going down we elected to stay as near the ridgeline as possible, and let the PCT come up to us. This strategy worked pretty well, and saved us some elevation loss. About 40 minutes after leaving Anderson Peak we arrived at the base of the summit blocks of Tinker Knob. This looked to be steep class 2, with some class 3 if you weren't careful. Kyle led the way up, and within a few minutes we were on the summit. Again, the views were somewhat spoiled by the smoke, although looking back to Anderson Peak and towards Granite Chief offered some nice views. The top was rather windy, and actually had us feeling somewhat chilled despite the relatively low (just under 9,000 ft) elevation. We located the summit register and added our names to the book. We took a few minutes for some fun shots (me and Kyle before starting the return trip.

Right as we started down we ran into another climber making the final push to the top. He seemed a bit confused as to which way he was going to go down and asked us where we were headed. We told him we were heading back down the PCT to HWY 80 and then got started. The trip back down was essentially the reverse of our trip in, with the exception of staying on the PCT as it wound under Anderson Peak rather than going up and over the peak again. We were quite surprised by the amount of rock that Anderson has shed over the years. I guess the peak used to be a lot taller given the volume of rock we saw in the area. We followed the PCT back across towards Mt. Judah, and eventually back down to the trailhead where we finished the day at about 5:45. Anderson Peak and Tinker Knob were my 9th and 10th OGUL peaks, and Tinker was also my 13th SPS and 15th WSC summit as well.

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