900’ – 2,000’
Sugar Bowl to Benson: 7,000’ - 8,400’ (total gain: 2,100’)
Benson to Bradley: 8,400’ – 7,600’ (total gain: 1,500)
Bradley to Squaw: 7,600’ – 6,200’ (total gain: 700’)
N, S, E, W
One of the best ways to enjoy the Sierra Club huts is to link them together in a hut-to-hut ski tour. The most logical route in which to do this is to tour from Sugar Bowl to Squaw Valley by staying at the Benson and Bradley huts. Staying at the Grubb hut can be added onto the start of this trip, although it is less desirable due to the long length (7 miles from Grubb to Benson) and interstate/ski area contact. Also, adding the Ludlow hut to the end of the trip is possible, but it is over 20 miles from the Bradley hut and would require at least one snow camping night between the two, even for the most experienced groups.
Much like the rest of this guide, these directions are intended to facilitate trip planning rather than replace maps and sound navigation. It is highly recommended that hut visitors use the Norden and Granite Chief USGS topo maps for this trip. To start the tour, purchase an affordable one-ride lift ticket from Sugar Bowl or skin to the top of the Mt. Lincoln lift. From here, follow the ridgeline south to the Benson Hut below Anderson Peak. Contour around Anderson’s west and south faces and climb one of the small chutes to gain the ridge between Anderson and Tinker Knob. Stay along this ridge until passing Tinker Knob on the east side. This is where you will want to ski down a small bowl to the east of the crest, dropping skier’s left around the cliff bands below Tinker’s Knob. Once at the bottom of this 1,000’ run, skin south up to a saddle to the east of Billy’s Peak. Upon reaching this pass, look down into Pole Creek and notice the small hill at the base of the bowl. Contouring the southern side of this hill will bring you to the meadow and the Bradley hut.
From the Bradley Hut, reaching Squaw is relatively simple. Skin up to the pass west of Silver Peak, upon where Squaw’s village will be visible. Following the obvious drainage will funnel skiers into a network of tightly spaced, frustrating trees. But, traversing high along the west face Silver’s ridge will guide you to a more enjoyable descent. This is only recommended during periods of high snowpack, where the lower elevations on Silver Peak’s west face are skiable. Alternatively, enjoy a gentle glide down Pole Creek to the Bradley Hut trailhead on highway 89.
To make logistics for this trip easier, consider parking overnight in Truckee. From the Amtrak station in downtown, a Town of Truckee shuttle bus runs up to Sugar Bowl early in the morning. And from Squaw, a TART (Tahoe Area Regional Transport) public bus brings you back to the same station.