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Lodges and Huts

Sierra Crest Ski Trail: Benson to Squaw Valley

The ski tourer's route from Benson Hut to Squaw Valley follows the crest of the Sierra south from Mount Anderson -- along the Sierra Crest Ski Trail. As long as he keeps close to the actual crest the skier will know what he is getting into and will have a choice of routes past minor obstacles*; and, if he is an average skier in average condition, he will cover the seven miles in six to seven hours.

For more details: From Benson, traverse the summit of Anderson or contour around the west flank to the southeast ridge, which leads directly to Tinker Knob. By-pass the summit block along the east shoulder and shuss gently down the wooded ridge south of Tinker to the saddle at the head of the north fork of Squaw Creek, down which (and over a few bluffs) lies the low (short) route to Squaw Valley. The high route continues toward Granite Chief up moderately wooded terrain, cuts across the east face of the peak and emerges on the ridge leading to Squaw Peak. Well along this ridge an open spot in the cornice allows access to the packed slopes serviced by the chair lift. If there is no open spot, the skier loses three points. Habitual late starters should reform and allow enough time to enjoy the scenic aspects of the trip and to finish without running a contest with darkness.

* The newspapers report that four Sacramento skiers who did not keep up on the crest missed a very important feature of the Donner-Squaw Valley route -- the Benson Hut -- and spent a cool night out. Moral: the crest is best.


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