Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Tomyhoi Peak/Southeast Route

A real treat on top of Tomyhoi peak - rare silky phacelia. Please take care and protect them!

  • Road rough but passable

I am usually hard to stop from poking my face as close as possible when there are wildflowers around. This time, however, most of my mental energy was spent by keeping my fear of heights in check during the last exposed gully scramble. So when Petr pointed out a beautiful fluffy purple flower with silver leaves all I could do was to murmur that it looks related to waterleafs. He took a picture nevertheless, planning to ask me for identification later when my mental health is restored. After 12 hours of sleep I am really glad he did! The beauty turned out to be silky phacelia (Phacelia sericea var. sericea) that is rare! Please take care and protect them! The picture also shows Lyall's goldenweeed (Tonestus lyallii) - yellow, and Tolmie's saxifrage (Saxifraga tolmei) - green mat with tiny white flowers that is uncommon.

One thing to note is that the advertised elevation gain in the climb description (3800 ft) is a very optimistic reading of a map. Once you get to the Yellow Aster Butter base you have to drop into the tarn basin. TH to summit is actually 4400 ft. Plus additional 800 ft on the way back, making it 5200 ft total.

We used a route description and a GPS track from Summit post, both of them pretty accurate and complete. The glacier section is very short with a relatively safe run-out. We still used crampons as we started hiking pretty early (6 am) and the snow was somewhat firm. There is not much opportunity to put crampons on/off on the snow (too steep), so you have to balance on uneven rocks and then get over a moat. A little awkward but fine.

As far as exposure goes, well, it is exposed. Depending on your level of comfort, you'd rate it class 3 or 4. The last gully/chimney to the summit is definitely long, shallow and steep. If you fall there and you are lucky, you'll stay inside but you'll tumble all the way down. I would consider 30 feet of tumbling class 4 but you know, I am a bit scared of heights. None of the climbing there is difficult, but there are loose holds and gravel (that is true about most of the scrambling parts), so you want to be careful. I would personally not climb without the knowledge of having a handline as an option. We did not use it in the end, but the way down is always a bit harder. Anyway, I was really glad for plenty of technique practice in a climbing gym that helped me to feel solid during the scramble. I know that quite a lot people would not need it, but not everybody is tall, strong without exercise and fearless :-).

Overall, there might have been two easy low 5 moves on the whole scramble. One between two ledges - with a lot of ground behind you and the only direction to fall easy to spot - so it felt very safe. The other one in the final gully near the top - a steep slabish area with little holds. No issue had it been near ground, some of you might even be able to reach over it, but you have to climb it both up and down.