Anderson Peak is the broad summit on the Sierra crest between Mt. Lincoln and Tinker Knob. It is plainly visible from I-80 near Donner Lake, as well as from the west end of Truckee. Anderson Peak commands a fine vantage point high above the headwaters of the North Fork of the American River. It is usually climbed by hikers along the PCT from Donner Pass to Squaw Valley, or by skiers attemping the classic Donner-Squaw high route. The Sierra Club's Benson Hut lies at the foot of the north face of the peak.
Anderson Peak is slightly less than halfway on the PCT between Donner Pass and Squaw Valley. The peak is most often climbed from Donner Pass. Many people also hike to the peak from Squaw Valley.
The Donner Pass trailhead is, surprisingly enough, at Donner Pass (right at the summit, near ASI and the east parking lot of Sugar Bowl ski area).
The Squaw Valley trailhead is at OVI, just past the fire station at the head of the valley. Drive up Squaw Valley Road from US 89. As you approach the newly minted "Village at Squaw Valley", continue to the end of the main road, turning right just before the bridge over Squaw Creek. Follow this road past the fire station and into the Squaw Valley employee parking lot. This is a huge lot. On the right side of the lot near the edge of the forest, there is a lodge ("OVI" or Olympic Valley Inn). Behind it is a trailhead that leads you into Shirley Canyon.
Hiking in from Donner Pass, follow the PCT to the Benson Hut at the base of the peak. The north face has several chutes to choose from, either of which is an easy scramble in summer, and a steep bootpack in winter. The summit is a decent sized plateau.
From Squaw Valley, hike up Shirley Canyon to the junction of the PCT near Mountain Meadow Lake. From here, hike north on the PCT, past Tinker Knob, until you reach the south face of Anderson Peak. This is a short little talus hopping exercise to get you onto the summit. The south face is much easier than the north, but neither is technical.
No permits required.
When To Climb
Year round. Snow coverage on the ridge in winter ranges from non-existent on south faces weeks after a storm to 20 feet deep on north faces in wind pockets. Be prepared. Anderson Ridge is also notorious for high winds in winter, as evidenced by the massive cornices that develop on the east side of the ridge. In summer, bring lots of water because you won't find any up there.
Benson Hut is at the base of the mountain. It is run by the sierra club. Information is online