Tinker Knob from Coldstream Canyon

30 Apr 2000 - by Aaron Schuman

Sunday, April 30, Mike McDermitt and I climbed Tinker Knob from Coldstream Canyon. We dropped Tim Hult off at the base of Mt Judah for his solo Sugar Bowl to Squaw traverse, then drove back around to Donner State Memorial Park to start our climb.

The trailhead is slightly different depending on the season. May to October, drive through the park proper, but November through April, the road through the park is gated, but there is an open-gated road just 1/4 mile east of the park entrance. Follow the high quality graded dirt road until the well marked junction to Tinker Knob, then turn right on the rugged jeep track. Beyond the junction, the road might be too rough for ordinary passenger cars. After 1-1/2 miles, the road crosses a small stream, then a couple hundred yards later, it reaches the main watercourse, just inside Horseshoe Bend, a hairpin curve in the SP railroad tracks. In the springtime, that second creek crossing is the end of the drivable road.

We parked there, at about 6300 feet. We crossed Coldstream Creek up on the railroad tracks. We marched up a tangled braid of logging roads and deer trails, staying east of the creek. There was about 75% snow cover at the lower elevations, and more snow higher on the north facing route, but we never needed the snowshoes we carried. The creek peters out a few hundred feet below the 8949 foot summit, in plain view of the peak.

On the way up, we came upon some hefty paw prints, and a piece of mountain lion scat, filled with fur and bone.

We saw Tim skiing to Tinker Knob from Anderson Peak, we shouted to him, and he waited a few minutes for us to catch up. We chatted for a few minutes before he continued with his ski tour. We wondered if Tim would also find Dee, Rick, and Arun on their day climb of nearby Granite Chief. (He didn't.)

The view was eternal. To the north we could see all the way to Lassen, and to the south, we saw the Sweetwater Range of Nevada. On the summit, we even heard the rumble of the American River far below.

Our descent route was similar to our ascent. 4-1/4 hours up, 1 hour on top, and 2-1/4 hours down.

Tim Hult adds:

The view was "eternal" ... man o man I thought it was good, but eternal puts it into another category.

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