February 16th-18th, 2013: The Hut Trips Continue - Benson Hut

It only makes sense that the Sierra Club would have a number of huts in the Sierras. There are a sprinkling of such huts throughout the Sierras, from south to north. Maybe even east to west, though I haven't heard of any in the Eastern Sierras. Come to think of it, I've never heard people speak of the Western Sierras, which would be the more well-traveled side of the range.

Despite living in the Midwest, I still find myself on the receiving end of numerous email invites to west coast adventures. Painful as it is to turn down so many great adventures, these invites pay dividends every once and while. Kevin's invitation to rendezvous at the Benson Hut was one such lucky break, conveniently falling on the weekend directly following Ostrander.

I had to drop Andrew off at the Reno airport to catch a flight back to Chicago and then meet Kevin, Paul, and Toro at the trailhead. Scratch that. They decided to get an earlier start and I would have to find my way to them. I parked in the Sugar Bowl parking lot, bought a one way lift ticket to the top of the resort, and started skiing for the hut. Luckily, it was a clear day and you can see the hut perched just below the peak of Mt. Anderson. I made it to the hut just in time to join the crew for a twilight bootpack to the top of Mt. Anderson and a sunset ski down, for which the sky rewarded us handsomely.

Benson Hut is just under the rocks on the left side of Mt. Anderson - that peak over there.
Somehow, there is private property in the backcountry. Blah.
Paul and Toro ski the crust.
Awesome sunset!
Awesomer sunset?
Kevin loves to bluebird tour. He even named his daughter bluebird powder.
Toro wears the threads of the last matador that taunt him with pink.
More sunset craziness.
Overcast skies mean it's time to hit the road. Northstar at Tahoe can be seen in the distance.
Benson da Hut: a smaller hut than most, bring good lights and your own dishes. I didn't.
Kev and Paul at the top of Sugar Bowl, ready to hit a groomer!
And thus concluded eleven incredible backcountry days. I was exhausted and ready to be done, but look back at it as eleven days that will be hard to duplicate: 2 trips to Ostrander, Echo Lake, and Benson Hut. It was disappointing not to have more snow for the trip, but luckily I love to tour and hard pack can make for great touring. Don't think I'll be back out this way until the fall, but...

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