Benson Hut or Bust

12 Feb 2005 - by Ted Lenzie

On February 12, 2005 Sarah R, Co-lead Dave W, Rich S, Jim, and myself. started our ski ascent of Mount Judah, Lincoln, and Anderson Peak. We all met at the Mount Judah ticket office of the Sugar Bowl ski resort. Here I got the sign-ins and gave out maps. We also took and few resort maps as well. We had a brief meeting and took advantage of the facilities.

We started our accent of Judah by following just outside the resorts perimeter trail (7000) up to the top of the Judah lift. The snow was in excellent climbing condition. It was hard packed with just a few inches of fresh powder from the previous days small storm. We all climbed together up to the top of the Judah lift.. We ate a little and just before starting off a Sugar Bowl ski patroller stopped to ask us what our plans were. I told him. He was very polite and just wanted to warn us about the cornice stability on the top of Judah.

We proceeded toward the Judah summit (8243) following a southeast direction. The trail was already broken making our climb much easier than expected. We zigzagged up to the microwave repeater board on the north summit. We continued south to the true Judah summit giving the cornices the respect they deserved. It was a brief down than up to the Judah summit proper. From here we could see the Lincoln-Judah saddle and our next route up Mount Lincoln. Since we were going to ski now, I wanted to point out our next meeting place on the saddle. We removed our climbing skins and proceeded a southwest direction to the saddle. As always when tree skiing we all took our own routes to the saddle. The snow was blown off the top, but once down a little the powder was good.

We all met at the Judah-Lincoln saddle and proceeded up toward Mount Lincoln (8383). Dave, Sarah, and Rick took the lower route around the bottom of Lincoln which would place them on the Lincoln-Anderson saddle. Jim and I climbed Lincoln and answered the many questions from curious downhill skiers. Once on Lincoln, Jim and I skied down to the others.

We all continued the up and down toward the Benson hut (WGS 84/NAD 83 UTM 10 0733259 4349238) just below Anderson Peak. We were able to get as much downhill as possible without having to wear our skins. This made for a fun time of skiing and gliding. We did separate while on the ridge but it was easy to see everyone and keep them in sight. We had to skin up for the last uphill before arriving to the hut (8374). Jim and I arrived at the hut first and shoveled out the entrance. Shortly after Rick arrived then Sarah and Dave.

It was getting late and the avy danger on Anderson looked substantial, so we bailed on that summit. We rested and refuel for a half hour and started back toward Lincoln. After skiing the ridge line we all commented on how much more downhill there was coming back and were amazed at how fast we returned to the base of Lincoln. Jim and I summited Lincoln again and Rick, Sarah and Dave skirted around the bottom of Lincoln. Jim and I skied off Lincoln. We all met at the Judah-Lincoln saddle and skied to the cars. Here is how the stats work out. We traveled a little more than 11 miles and just over 3,200 feet of gain.

It turned out three skiers were caught in a slide on Anderson the next weekend. Unfortunately, one of them died. The Tahoe Nordic SAR report is on

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