After hearing about the magnificence of the Yellow Aster Butte area I decided I'd better go have a look. I wanted a nice early start and so got up long before the sun and headed north on I5 to the Mt Baker highway in Bellingham. From the exit it's another 46 miles to the turnoff on the left called Twin Lakes rd. I was disappointed in the condition of this road but gritted my teeth and bounced through the potholes for 4 1/2 miles. I was surprised at how many vehicles were already at the trailhead! This place must be cool. I booted up, threw a light pack on and off I went.
I liked the openness of this trail right off the bat and had great views of the sunrise on Mt Baker. The moderate switchbacks made for easy hiking for about 3 miles until I found myself in the Yellow Aster basin and discovered where the owners of all the vehicles were hiding. I was envious of these overnighters and the sunset they must have had. After losing a few hundred feet of elevation into the basin I made my way through it towards the arm leading to Tomyhoi.
From the basin's nw end I found the climber's path leading steeply up onto the arm. Once onto the ridge the terrain is open meadows and alpine evergreens. The surrounding views continued to impress me, with rocky peaks and glaciers all around. The boot path follows the ridge's ups and downs, traverses and benches until finally arriving at the summit block. This rock looks daunting from a distance, but the way becomes clear. There is some nice class 3 scrambling for about 150 feet on good rock and then a short distance to the actual summit.
I didnt spend much time at the top because of a group of six coming up behind me. Not much room up there for a large group.
Definitely an area I will come back to later. Might have to bring a sleeping bag next time.