Tomyhoi via Yellow Aster Butte, WA

May 3, 2018
Long Video
Short Video

A few weeks ago my wife and I did a day hike in this area (Trip Report) and we were blown away by it's beauty - even during the poor weather. Since then we've been haunted by the thoughts of returning to the area, with the idea of going as high as we can go, and pitching a tent. Everything fell in place when we wanted to get out but needed to be within cell service for Lacey's work related stuff. Our last trip we so happened to make note that above the tree line there we got 4G full bars (not wilderness grrr), but this opened a great opportunity to camp with jaw dropping views without being disconnected from work.

The weather has been unusually cooperative recently and normally the cascades start to get hammered right around now, but a weird heat wave is keeping the mountains at a nice 60-66 degrees and sunny for a week and a half now. So I used up the last of my vacation days left over from the summer and we set out for a Tuesday - Wed trip. What was normally a packed trail was vacant. We loved it.

The first few miles are under the thick washington canopy and pretty uneventful. Once you break the tree line though the visual feast just keeps escalating.

Fall Colors lit up the area.

The Lakes Basin.

American Border Peak and the first lake you cross in the Lakes Basin from dropping off Yellow Aster Butte Trail.

American Border Peak was the star of the show IMO.

The objective was to get up as high as we could on Tomyhoi and set up camp.

It was super tiring under an out of season 70 degree sun, our bodies had lost acclimation to the heat. After the initial 3-4 miles and ~2400ft gain we had another 3500 feet of walking at another 1000-1100 feet of elevation gain before we found this amazing camping spot.

Bottom center is where we popped out into the lakes basin.

Mount Challenger. Someday I'll get there!

No trails to these bad boys. Just bushwackin' and routes. All pretty miserable. Someday as well!

Sunset over Church Mountain, the first hike I ever did in this state. Church mountain is a breeding ground for biting flies and yellow jackets.

Lights from Sedro Woolley, Lacey's hometown. The Puget Sound and Olympic MOuntains

Oddly the wind just DIED OFF once the sun went away and it stayed in the mid 40's. It was perfect temps! Lacey and I stayed out, drinking beer and watching the hordes of tourists leave Heather Meadows. MY TRIP REPORT OF THAT TOURIST TRAP HERE. It was like watching ants switchback down a mountain.

Due to light pollution from all the big cities nearby (Sedro,Burlington,Bellingham, Vancouver) and there being a half moon in the sky... Star gazing was alright. Couldn't really see the milky way, but still tons of stars.

Off toward the interior of the North Cascades. Much MUCH darker.

Straight above our heads.

As I posted in the gear forum. Big Tandem Blue (our airpad) died in Glacier Peak Wilderness. Due to financial reasons and testing reasons. The two most recommended air pads were the NeoAir XL Lite and the BigAgnes Ultra Air Tube? I think those were the names (cbf to look). Both did amazing. We both slept better then we ever have in the backcountry. Blowing up the NeoAir was easier but putting away the BigAgnes was easier. Lacey used the Big Agnes and I used the Neo Air. Next trip we're gonna switch. I only woke up once to use the bathroom.



Wonderful trip. Loved the area and loved how vacant it was during the week. Beats racing the weekend crowds for sure!
Last edited:


Aug 18, 2018
Another awesome TR - amazing photos. Now I know where the good weather went this Fall, because it's not here on the east coast! Glad you could get out mid-week, it makes such a difference. Great video too.
Dec 27, 2015
Nice! And a belated welcome (you joined BCP since I was here last, roughly a year ago). Nice to see more PNW posters. The N.Cascs are probably my favorite range anywhere.
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