Aug 6, 2016
Tomyhoi Peak was highly recommended to me and I finally got a chance to visit it. The glowing reviews were justified!
Stats (from Twin Lakes Rd trailhead)
Distance: 20km return
Elevation gain (cumulative): 1,600m
The trail is excellent, with a consistent grade and only a very short amount of time in the forest. There are many trail junctions (2.8km: Tomyhoi Lake, 5.8km: Yellow Aster Butte), but most lead to viewpoints.
Starting early meant I got to see all the marmots scurrying about, one of whom hid under a rock on the trail as I passed by.
The trail leads to a prominent overlook above a gorgeous group of tarns. The route to Yellow Aster Butte heads uphill, while the downhill trail gets you to the tarns and the route to Tomyhoi.
Looking left and across the tarns:
To the right, the route to Tomyhoi:
I felt like I was walking through an outdoors magazine catalogue. So picturesque.
For campers, this was clearly paradise. I experienced zero insect encounters (except for many bumblebees and butterflies, and those made me happy).
The route loses elevation a few times, but the scenery keeps your spirits up.
The terrain gradually becomes more rugged.
I reached the snowfield and swapped my poles for ice axe. It's a short, easy crossing. A slip would not be particularly dangerous, as there are no rocks below, just more snow. But it would mean a long walk back up, and probably a few good snow rashes.
I was curious about what it would look like to avoid the snow and scramble the rock instead. Forget it. My nose wrinkled in distaste at the loose exposed crap and awkward gullies. The snow is the way to go.
One final drop of elevation and then up the steep part. As others have pointed out, the scramble is much easier than it looks. Up a left trending groove, then a right trending groove, with one final move over a small block. Easy climbing with almost no exposure.
The exposed section is a short easy walk alongside a gabled ridge
. I suppose with snow on it, it would be a very different experience (ie. dangerous), thus the "a cheval" technique shown in the link.
The remainder of the scramble is mostly a walk to the top, with one step onto an overhanging ledge from a flat area where the worn in trail continues to the small summit.
I enjoyed the beauty of the setting for a short time, then began my descent. Within about 30 seconds, I got distracted by pretty flowers.
No problem, flower picture taken, I crossed the snow, put away the axe, and prepared myself for a quick return to the car. Except that I kept getting distracted. Flowers, butterflies, and incredible scenery kept stopping me in my tracks, turning my easy trot into a series of head cranks and skidding stops. Happy camera.