Mt. Lincoln P500
Anderson Peak OGUL / PYNSP

Sat, Mar 26, 1994

With: Steve Sywyk
Eric Smith

Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Map Profile
Mt. Lincoln later climbed Sat, Feb 3, 2007
Anderson Peak later climbed Sat, Feb 3, 2007

Having skied at Sugar Bowl dozens of times over a number of years, I had been struck by the view south from the summit. A fine ridge, the Sierra Crest in fact, runs south to Granite Chief at Squaw Valley, and a hike along it looked like it would make for a wonderful outing. So with some fine March weather I convinced my friends Eric and Steve that it would be a great spring outing to spend a night up on the ridge. I had recently purchased a pair of snow shoes and had been smitten with winter hiking in them. So the other two rented pairs as well, and we made it a snowshoe backpack adventure.

The only real difficulty, and no great one at that, is hiking through the ski area without getting in the way, getting hit by a skier, or getting kicked out. We didn't really know what the rules are for hiking without lift tickets, but figured since it was public land they ought not to mind if we kept to the sides. We did this as much as we could, but without climbing Mt. Judah we had to cross on the west side and across several ski runs. With our loaded backpacks, snowshoes and poles we looked out of place amongst the skiers and drew some attention. But no one ran into us and no one connected with the resort or ski patrol bothered us, and in a few hours we were on the south side of Mt. Lincoln and out of the ski area.

Though still March, there were many bare patches along the wind-swept ridgetop, and we had to hunt a little to find a connecting route on snow. We had taken some acid back at the beginning of the hike in and it was now starting to take full effect. Eric and I had used LSD a number of times in the past, but this was Steve's first experience with it, and he was getting caught up in it. After reaching Mt. Lincoln and onto the backside, the snow was softer since there was much more sun exposure here. The snowshoes were indeed helpful, but we would sink in a good ways, getting more of a workout than expected. I had gone ahead and dropped my pack, then came back to help Steve out who was struggling. Once lightened of his pack he found the going far more enjoyable, and he was able to appreciate the effects of the drug in a more positive light. He was struck by the beauty of tiny flowers that were just emerging from the harsh winter, and lying in a prone position to gain a better view, he marveled up close at their delicate countenance. Eric and I watched him for a few minutes trying not to laugh out loud, until he looked up and asked in all seriousness, "So, do you think I'm high yet?" Assuring him that the drug had indeed taken effect, he tried to draw us into his discourse on the wonder of nature expressed in the tiny flora. But I didn't want to get drawn into his world of tiny flowers, preferring to enjoy the greater sense of beauty I found in the larger winter scene, I left him with the comment, "Sorry Steve, that's your trip, not mine."

We hiked along with no real purpose now, other than to enjoy the gorgeous day and take in our bit of drug-induced scenic wonders. We found a nice sandy spot at a low point along the ridge that was free of snow where we decided to make camp. Eric and Steve were tired of hiking along with the packs and wanted to enjoy the rest of the day unencumbered and relaxing. As usual, I wanted to just keep hiking, drug or no drug. So I left the others, carrying on south with just a fanny pack, enjoying a solo hike along the ridge without a care and nobody else around anywhere. There were old ski tracks in places along the ridge, and after a few hours I came across the Sierra Club cabin just north of Anderson Peak. I knew nothing about this cabin beforehand, so it was a bit of a surprise to me. There were two entrances, the upper one used when snow levels were ten or more feet higher, but now the levels were down to where the lower door was readily enough accessible. I went in to check things out, finding no one currently occupying it. Inside were several bare bunks, an array of rusty pots and pans, none of which I would have wanted to prepare a meal in. The place had the appearance of not being abandoned, but not well-kept either. A number of partially burned or mostly spent candles lined the shelves and near the windows. A popular hangout for the Candle Crowd, I mused. No, I would rather sleep outside than carry on discourse with the candle-burners that seemed to favor the place. Now, I further imagined that some illegal drug activity likely went along with the candles and disheveled look of the place. Naturally it couldn't be a disdain for drugs that made me dislike the place considering my current high state, but rather it was the unkemptness of the cabin that made it unappealing. Why folks that used the place for free had trouble keeping it in better order was something that always struck me as odd. I imagined that Sierra clubbers who pitched for less industrialization and more open space ought to be able to keep a tidier house than they did. What I didn't consider was that the right side of the political spectrum had no monopoly on poor housekeeping, and in fact the poor, starving student types had their share of slobs as much as any other group. But enough on my political discourse which was probably off-kilter anyway. The truth was that the cabin was a disappointment and it was starting to be drag on my drug-supplemented Wilderness high.

Going back outside I was quickly drawn back into a happier moment as I once again was able to take in the full enjoyment of the wintry outdoor scenery. I continued south along the ridge for a short while, topping out on Anderson Peak at just under 8,700ft. I was not quite halfway between Mt. Lincoln and Granite Chief, but nearly so, and had fine views of the American River headwaters to the west, Donner Pass and Lake to north, the higher Tinker Knob a bit over a mile further southwest on the crest. At this point I turned around and headed back.

It was late afternoon when I returned (the acid had mostly worn off by then), finding the other two sitting around reading and relaxing. We had dinner and went to bed early due to the cold that set in as the sun set. It got very cold that evening, but fortunately there was very little wind. The next morning we got up as the sun rose to warm the day, cooked breakfast, and headed back out. Some nine years later I've still not done the full traverse from Sugar Bowl to Squaw Valley, but it stays on my Todo List every year. One of these years I'll get back up there.


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This page last updated: Sat Apr 7 17:05:03 2007
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