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  • Benson Hut

    I’m hoping this thread attracts up-to-date and accurate updates on accessing Benson Hut from the north.

    Usually, you should just be able to go to the Sugar Bowl special tickets office in the Judah Lodge and they will tell you where to park and how to ski through the resort to get to Roller Pass to get on the crest. Since Sugar Bowl now has an official uphill policy and charges money to ski uphill at their resort, it might not be this simple anymore.

    If you have any updates on how to get to Roller Pass to begin the trip to Benson Hut, please reply to this thread. Please include contract and cost requirements.

    Thanks!
    Tell me where you are skiing and what the conditions are: http://mountainhub.com/
    Ski with me: https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Hiking-Reno/
    Stalk me: https://www.facebook.com/danomike

  • #2
    Snowlands, working with other organizations, required Sugarbowl to maintain free access to the Benson Hut many years ago when Sugarbowl was expanding. Those provisions remain in effect. You do not need to buy an uphill pass to travel on the PCT or to access Benson Hut. I'm not that familiar with where you park or the exact route.
    Last edited by Baaahb; 5 November 2014, 08:50 AM.

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    • #3
      Danomike,

      It is still legal to skin the PCT without being charged. That was included as a mitigation condition as part of the Judah Expansion EIS. We will have a further update in a couple of weeks when Sugar Bowl has submitted their 2014-2015 Operating Plan to the FS.

      Also, as of last season, their one-way ticket was $25, FYI. That gets you to the top of Lincoln.

      Snowlands was in contact with the FS last season on this specific issue and is working to ensure access remains open.

      So far, from the FS, we know the following:
      "Sugar Bowl has allowed free, unfettered access to backcountry users traveling along the Pacific Crest Trail toward the Benson Hut along the eastern portion of the resort, specifically along the "climbers left" of the Tunnel 41 run and over the top of the Summit Chair lift (the PCT/Summit chair route)."

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      • #4
        Thank you for the feedback! This helps a lot:

        Originally posted by Snowlands View Post
        So far, from the FS, we know the following:
        "Sugar Bowl has allowed free, unfettered access to backcountry users traveling along the Pacific Crest Trail toward the Benson Hut along the eastern portion of the resort, specifically along the "climbers left" of the Tunnel 41 run and over the top of the Summit Chair lift (the PCT/Summit chair route)."
        Does anyone have information on overnight parking if the resort is not an option? Just in case...
        Tell me where you are skiing and what the conditions are: http://mountainhub.com/
        Ski with me: https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Hiking-Reno/
        Stalk me: https://www.facebook.com/danomike

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by danomike View Post
          Thank you for the feedback! This helps a lot:



          Does anyone have information on overnight parking if the resort is not an option? Just in case...
          You're welcome.

          We'll try to find out about parking from the FS too. Per the Sierra Club's site on that hut, you may be able to park at Clair Tapp. Probably wouldn't be too hard to thumb rides over to the PCT and back. The walk isn't too bad if you had to do it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Snowlands View Post

            So far, from the FS, we know the following:
            "Sugar Bowl has allowed free, unfettered access to backcountry users traveling along the Pacific Crest Trail toward the Benson Hut along the eastern portion of the resort, specifically along the "climbers left" of the Tunnel 41 run and over the top of the Summit Chair lift (the PCT/Summit chair route)."
            I don't know any of those run/lift terms, not having skied any of the new "Judah" lifts. I do strongly suspect that when we say "PCT" here we really mean "Mt Judah Trail" per my FS map (actually, FS overlay to Caltopo). The old Benson approach--and current PCT route--crossed a pre-expansion run and was much within their area. Haven't done this in a while but I have to think they expect you to climb behind the old ASI/Sugar Bowl Academy towards the saddle between Donner Peak and the Judah Peak ridge, climb to the antenna, then ski along the ridge. I don't have much problem with that, but I also don't see how you'd be within the Sugar Bowl jurisdiction at any point on that route.
            Last edited by Charley White; 13 November 2014, 03:03 PM.
            nee, Whiteout

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            • #7
              If you're skinning up from ASI or Lake Mary and staying below (north of) Wildflower Ridge you're outside the boundary. Tunnel 41 is south of the ridge within the ski area boundary and ends at the top of the Judah chair (below the antenna).

              SB also has partial jurisdiction over the Judah ridge since much of it is now inbounds, and they do avy control work there including the east face cornice (which is out of bounds).

              Has anyone tried calling SB and asking what they suggest? My impression was that the uphill pass charge was to prevent unpaid use of the resort for workout laps on limited snow, not to keep people from traversing through to more distant backcountry destinations. I talked to a couple of patrollers last year and they said the unofficial policy was "don't be an asshole" and they weren't that interested in hassling people who were staying out of the way of downhill traffic and out of areas under avy closure.
              Last edited by teledad; 13 November 2014, 04:01 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Charley White View Post
                I don't know any of those run/lift terms, not having skied any of the new "Judah" lifts. I do strongly suspect that when we say "PCT" here we really mean "Mt Judah Trail" per my FS map (actually, FS overlay to Caltopo). The old Benson approach--and current PCT route--crossed a pre-expansion run and was much within their area. Haven't done this in a while but I have to think they expect you to climb behind the old ASI/Sugar Bowl Academy towards the saddle between Donner Peak and the Judah Peak ridge, climb to the antenna, then ski along the ridge. I don't have much problem with that, but I also don't see how you'd be within the Sugar Bowl jurisdiction at any point on that route.
                Pretty sure they're actually thinking you stay farther west and are in their boundary earlier like teledad said below.

                Originally posted by teledad
                Has anyone tried calling SB and asking what they suggest? My impression was that the uphill pass charge was to prevent unpaid use of the resort for workout laps on limited snow, not to keep people from traversing through to more distant backcountry destinations. I talked to a couple of patrollers last year and they said the unofficial policy was "don't be an asshole" and they weren't that interested in hassling people who were staying out of the way of downhill traffic and out of areas under avy closure.
                Teledad, are you agtucker from TTips? Just wondering.

                That was my impression of the uphill pass as well. But they've kept it in place this season before the season has even started, so...?

                Not surprised at what the patrollers said. Still it's not spelled out in writing and that confuses the general public. Such confusion spawned the first post in this thread.

                BTW, on that point, danomike, I think you may be able to overnight park at DSR without getting hassled.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by LightRanger View Post
                  Teledad, are you agtucker from TTips? Just wondering.
                  You outed me Decided to use my TGR name when I signed up here.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LightRanger View Post
                    BTW, on that point, danomike, I think you may be able to overnight park at DSR without getting hassled.
                    Thanks for the additional info on parking and route selection!
                    Tell me where you are skiing and what the conditions are: http://mountainhub.com/
                    Ski with me: https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Hiking-Reno/
                    Stalk me: https://www.facebook.com/danomike

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by teledad View Post
                      You outed me Decided to use my TGR name when I signed up here.
                      Thought so. We skied together at SB a few years back. I switched from Squalpine this season, so I'll be in the neighborhood more.

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                      • #12
                        I got my uphill pass at Sugar Bowl yesterday and noticed some additional language in the agreement regarding PCT/Benson access (I don't remember seeing it in previous seasons). The full document is available from http://www.sugarbowl.com/uphill

                        III. Uphill Travel along the Pacific Crest Trail

                        The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Judah expansion contains language, as a mitigation measure, providing access to the backcountry for travelers desiring to go through the expansion area along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Specifically, the mitigation measure states: "The special use permit will specifically guarantee access through the National Forest System Lands within the project area for the life of the special use permit." In accordance, Sugar Bowl has allowed free, access to backcountry users traveling along the Pacific Crest Trail toward the Benson Hut along the eastern portion of the resort, specifically along the "climbers left" of the Tunnel 41 run and over the top of the Summit Chair lift (the PCT/Summit chair route). The following applies to uphill travelers utilizing this route:

                        a. PCT users must adhere to all conditions, rules, regulations, warnings, etc. contained within the Sugar Bowl Resort Uphill Use Policy. The only exception is that PCT users ARE NOT required to adhere to Section II of this policy specifically pertaining to required passes and release of liability signature.

                        b. PCT users must access the PCT route at the Pine Martin Trailhead. Uphill access will be closed while avalanche mitigation measures are underway. Any such closure will be temporary and will be posted at the Pine Martin Trailhead.

                        c. Users traversing the PCT are required to stay “climbers left” of the Tunnel 41 and White Pine Lift ski trails and must traverse above the Summit Chair lift. These specific locations can be determined by contacting mountain operations.

                        If PCT users leave their vehicles at the Resort in accordance with overnight travel, they must use sanctioned overnight parking lots. Please see attached map for specific overnight parking lot locations.
                        Section II is the requirement to have an uphill pass and have signed a liability release when skinning inbounds.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks A. I have a standard SB unrestricted pass, but I hadn't noticed the new language yet.

                          Glad they followed through on their promise to the FS to include that language.

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