Map of our route from the Yellow Aster Butte trail to the summit of Tomyhoi (click to enlarge).
My favorite part about early autumn where I live is hiking in the North Cascades. So when September 24 looked like it would be a sunny and warm day, it was no surprise that I found myself planning a hike/climb with my cousin Lisa. The plan was to hike 3 miles into the Yellow Aster Butte area and continue up to Tomyhoi Peak, a Class 3 scramble about 3 miles from Yellow Aster Butte, near the American-Canadian Border. My Mother Sue, Aunt Barb, Uncle Scott, and Cousin’s Friend Kristen came along with Lisa and I to spend the day on the lower arm of Tomyhoi while Lisa and I climbed. We planned on a 9 hour round trip from the road for the climb, which turned out to be pretty accurate. Here is a brief timeline of our climb:
Below are some photos from the hike/climb. The autumn colors were beautiful.
About 2 hours from the car (2,960 ft), we arrived at the lake basin (5,200 ft) near Yellow Aster Butte. From here we could see the summit and the route up Tomyhoi Arm. It took us 3 hours to get to the summit (7,435 ft) from here (5 hours from the car to summit). Most of the climb was on a trail along the ridge, with a final Class 3 scramble up the summit block.
After following the trail up Tomyhoi Arm, we had to traverse around the north (right) side of the ridge and climb up to a notch in the ridge before the false summit. The hard snow around the small berschrund on this traverse was probably the crux of the route, but it was relatively straightforward nonetheless (ice axe but no crampons).
Lisa climbing the glacier-polished rock to the notch after coming up the hard snow of the small berschrund. (On the way down we discovered that the hard snow around the berschrund could be bypassed by traversing 100-200 ft lower and climbing up the rock finger to the notch. At least this was the case in late September 2006.)
From the false summit shortly after the notch, we could see the summit block. We had to descend about 100ft, and then do a fun Class 3 scramble up the left-center of the block; it took about 20 minutes to get to the summit from where the photo was taken. Notice the 4 climbers coming down. CORRECTION to route line in photo: In 2012, timmy_t from CascadeClimbers.com pointed out: "...in the photo where you have the 4 climbers circled (descending the class 3 rock rib), your red route line above them is incorrect. There is a chasm separating the rock above the top climber, so once you reach the top of the rib you go (viewer's) left, over to the shoulder, then up a step, then behind the rock... NOT straight up."
Lisa on the exposed class 3 scramble to the summit, Canadian and American Border Peaks and Tomyhoi Glacier in the background. This photo makes it look more exposed than it actually felt. This scramble to the summit was my favorite part of the route.
Is that a cantaloupe on the summit?
Summit view to northeast (Canadian Border Peak, American Border Peak, Challenger, Pickets, Ruth).
Autumn colors and Mt. Shuksan from trail between the car and Yellow Aster Butte. Such a beautiful area.