Border Peaks

When I first saw these peaks from Elk Ridge I had to get a closer look. My maps showed a FSR that swung around their south flank, almost. It was a hidden valley named after a creek that flowed through it. Tamihi Creek came across the border and arced north west between Mount McGuire and Church Mountain draining into the Chilliwack River forming the Tamihi Valley.

I have been drawn to this country several times and enjoy this area immensely. Unfortunately there has been extensive logging in the area but that has only added to the vastness in appearance simular to the Rockies, Northern BC and the Yukon.
It reminded me of my times in those other areas watching for hours Caribou, Goats, Sheep, Elk, Wolves and Grizzly Bears and some times in the distance other animals such as Moose, Deer and Black Bears.
There are no huge timber stands hiding the big game in the mountains of those other areas as there is on the Costal Mountains. Watching big game animals used to be my favourite pass time when in the wilderness at those other places and this valley has some of that same open vastness and perhaps that is why I am drawn to it.

This is also the area I spent most of the time hiking with my youngest son which I cherished dearly and show with so many pictures of him on these trips. Some of my best hiking friends have also joined me for hikes into the area.

To get into this place take the Chilliwack River Road and where it crosses over the Chilliwack River just after the bridge turn right on the dirt road toward the Tamihi Campground. Continue past the campground and take the next left turn. Follow it up taking a right turn at the triple fork. It eventually crosses over the creek and follows the other side.
Recently the road has been washed out and is not accessible after a short distance up it. The road belongs to Tamihi Logging and perhaps when they decide to log in there in the future they may fix it up.
It was driveable approxiamately ten kilometers before to a gate blocking another bridge where it crossed over the creek again and when they were logging you could drive about another six kilometers past the bridge but now it would be a very long hike to get into there.

When going in the first prominent feature is Mount McGuire.

Next thing you see is a small bridge with a small waterfall but now that has all changed.
This was it before.

Now this is what it looks like, the bridge is gone and so is the road washed out.

This was the first trip my son and I made going into this valley. I drove as far as I could go at that time and the last kilometer sign I saw said 10K. Just after that kilometer sign we drove to the gate in front of the bridge that crosses the creek again.
The gate was locked so we got out and continued hiking up the road. After a few kilometers we saw the Border Peaks and Mount Larrabee. It was early in the morning and the sun was just starting to shine on their peaks

Farther up the road it forked. The left fork went up to a fresh logging slash. The right fork was a older road and along it we first saw the west aspect of Mount Tomyhoi and then the road climbed and we could see most of the north side of it. We did not know what it was called at the time and that it was across the border on the American side.

As we climbed higher the view started getting better and then we stopped for refreshments to take in Tomyhoi.

Soon after we continued more sights of the area started to open up.

Then we saw the first closer views of the Border Peaks.
Canadian Border Peak left and American Border Peak right.
                                          

Now we are much higher on the road and able to see more of the summit of Tomyhoi and the Tamihi Valley.
Even part of Tamyhoi Lake is starting to come into view.

Heading directly to the peaks and surprised to see a small peak below and in between the two peaks.
From farther away it looked like part of the mountain cliff face.

Looking back westerly and the way we came.
In the first picture left below, Mount McGuire is peeking above Spencer Peak. Spencer Peak is a small bump on a very long five mile ridge that runs between Mount McGuire and the Canadian Border Peak. Left of them is the largest bump on the ridge which does not have a name. The cliff face in the distance left is Church Peak and the small bump to it's right is Windy Knob. The pointy peak to the left of Church's cliff face peak is called Old Baldy.
In the middle picture below is Church Mountain in the back with the criss crossed logging roads all over it. The peak that the border line runs through to the left is called Liumchen Peak.
The picture below on the right is a look at the Border Line and the hills in the States.

Just before we leave the end of the logging spur into the logged out hill side we see some Butterflies sucking up some moisture from a puddle on the road.

Off we go heading above the trees and along the bottom of the cliffs to the saddle between the two peaks.

We pause for a short rest and take in a view of Mount Shuksan after travelling across the loose scree and gravelly gullies not visible until you are right on top of them.

Then the final push for the col and Nick lays back well he waits for me to catch up and pass him.

Closer view of American Border Peak. We are right on the Border now.

When we get to the col we decide to drop down into a snow pack covered pocket.

On the snow pack there is water running every where dropping into snow holes and into the bowels of the earth.

Nick posing with Canadian Border Peak behind and closer view of it.

I went to the other side of the pocket to see if it drained out that side of the mountain and it did not. Perhaps farther down the mountain it comes out from the rocks.
In the below picture left side the small peak is Winchester Peak. The white mountain in the back is Mount Baker. The round hill on the right behind Tomyhoi's eastern ridge is Yellow Aster Butte.

It was starting to get late and time to leave so we started heading back.

I ran down the rock slide and thought Nick was not far behind me but he was way, way behind.
I later found out that the sides of his runners had burst and his feet were sliding out the sides onto the rocks and he never said a thing to me until we got home and he was taking them off and I saw them.
I thought he was just slow going through rocks slides.
Nick did not complain about anything back then and it was very hard to know what was going on with him at that time.
That was the kind of kid he was back then and he still is not very open about anything but not as bad as when he was younger.

Nick was so long coming down through the rock slide that it was really getting late and the whole valley started glowing from the setting sun. Even the Heather was glowing red.

Pano of the lower cliffs on the south side of Canadian Border Peak.

The sun set really fast and we were caught in the dark without a light and had not made it to the logging road yet.

In the dark our progress slowed down alot. What should have taken minutes was now taking hours to get through. Finally Nick spotted a lighter break in the dark between the trees and we realized it was the opening where the road was made through them. I am embarrassed to say that once we got on the road in the dark we finally got back to the vehicle at 2:30 am. in the morning. It was a very long day that could have been cut down much more if Nick had proper foot wear and I had brought a headlight.
Unfortunately I did not own one at that time and I did not expect to be coming out in the dark. Lessons learned.


Even though that last trip was a long day we wanted to go back and explore more. Tomyhoi Lake was of interest and we also wanted to see what views lay on the north side of the Border Peaks.
We got another early start and this time we planned to gain the long ridge on the west side of Canadian Border Peak.

This time we even started earlier to be sure we got back before dark and the sky was turning from black to gray when we left the vehicle by the gate at the bridge. The first thing we saw when it got light enough was American Boarder Peak and Mount Larrabee and then around another couple of bends in the road all three peaks could be seen.

A half hour later and we were beside Tomyhoi again.

Along the road we spotted a boulder so decided to pose for pictures on it. Nick and I with Tomyhoi as a back drop and Nick with Tomyhoi Falls behind him. Is this what they call bouldering?

From this picture below you can see part of where we came from. The Border Line is on the left, Tamihi Creek is in the middle and the road we were on is right of them.

Church is left, unnamed bump on ridge and Spencer's edge on right. Church is in the other picture on the right back.

Getting better views of Tomyhoi Lake and falls.

This picture below has five mountain peaks in it.
The peak closest to the right of that flat topped cliffy ridge is called Cowap Peak. To it's left is Bearpaw Peak on the right end of that cliffy ridge. On the left side of the cliff ridge is Church Peaks. The next left set of peaks has Excelsior Peak in them and the peak furthest to the left behind Tomyhoi's west ridge is called Damfino Peak.

Liumchen Peak on the border line.

As we get higher and in the open more the Upper Tamihi Valley can be seen.

Church's ridge in the back drop and Liumchen left.

McGuire's Peak over the ridge and immediately to it's bottom left on the ridge is Spencer Peak in the foreground.

Nice picture of Tomyhoi and it's lake and falls.

Nick pointing to the way we took to get on the ridge.

Shuksan way back left. Tomyhoi front and center. Mount Baker way back right.
The road on the left going through the trees is the one we came up on.

We gain the ridge and to the west is the full aspect of McGuire.

Then looking NW is the small peak I call Borden Peak (Unofficial), because that is the creek name on it's westerly side.

When we turn east we can see Canadian Border Peak with it's sharpe looking mini-peaks.

That is the direction we decide to go first.

Nick with Canadian Border and Slesse Peaks back left. In the next picture Nick is under Parks with Slesse right and Crossover left. The last picture on the right Nick is standing high in the sky and part of the Cheam Mountain Range is in the distance right.

Nick poses in front of Canadian Boarder Peak and behind it is American Border Peak and farthest back is pyrimid shaped Larrabee.

Pictures along the ridge heading toward CBP.

I am heading for that first bump to have a closeup look at CBP.

Before I get there, there are some great photo opps. with Nick of course.
Nick with the whole Cheam Range in the distance.
Nick stands above the whole Elk/Thurston Ridge.
Closer view of some of the Cheam Range mountains.
And last picture on the right is Mount MacFarlane, left and going right, Crossover, Parks and last Slesse right.

Nick doesn't want to go up this bump so I leave him and head up there alone. I move back and forth up it looking for the easest route and then I am on top looking at the tower of CBP in front of me.

Wow, fantastic views and photo opps from up there. I take many pictures. Most of what is in the pics I have described and identified in previous pictures so I will not label these.

There is over a thousand feet of cliff exposure on the north side.

There is a survey cairn on this bump and I pose for some self shots.

Looking at the long ridge between CBP and McGuire. This ridge is about 5 miles long between the two peaks so I call it Five Mile Ridge. We are now going to go along it as far as we can toward Mount McGuire until it is time to head home. We get to the low grassy patch on the ridge just before Spencer Peak before we go down and enter the logging slash on the far side and then take the road back.

I meet up with Nick at the bottom of the bump and we start off retracing our steps back the way we came.

There are some great opportunities to take some panos and these are the results.

This is a north west ridge branching off the main ridge. It ends at the small peak which I call Borden Peak and this ridge I call Borden Ridge (Unofficial).

The west side of Borden Ridge with the Cheam Range behind.

The blue spot is on the hill called Spencer Peak. It was hard to beleave this small rounded bump was actually Spencer Peak.

The white towers on Borden.

First pano left is of the Slesse Range and the pointed peak on the left far back is Williams Peak.
Second pano center is Borden Peak right, McGuire Peak left, Borden Creek Valley and Elk, Thurston and Mercer Mountains and ridges distant back.
The third pano is of the whole Borden Peak Ridge with the Mount Mercer Ridge on left back and the Cheam Range behind.

We are getting ready to head back and drop off the ridge. Nick is standing between Tomyhoi and Baker. The second picture shows a closer look at the point of Mount Damfino and Baker behind right of it.

This last pano shows the vastness of the valley and what draws me back to it.

Here they are again in separate pics. Starting from the left.
Canadian Border Peak, center is American Border Peak, right is Mount Larrabee.

At the end of the valley is High Pass left and Low Pass right.

Full view of Tomyhoi Lake shimmering in the shade.

Dropping down into the valley and looking back at the Border Peaks as they disappear from our sight.

Tomyhoi getting some sun set glow.

We leave the valley the way we arrived so many hours before in the morning.
When we started in the morning the same peaks had a pink hue from the rising sun.
Now they have a red hue with a setting sun and this time we made it out just as it got dark.

This was the last trip into the valley from this route with my son but I would be returning again with friends.

Back again and this time with some hiking friends. I have taken so many pictures in this area that I did not take many on this trip. Also some days I can hike fairly well but this day not so good and it always seems to be like that with these people. They are all older people but hike like spring chickens.

We hiked the road pretty fast and I was way far back pulling up the rear as usual with this group. We left the road and cut up to the ridge the way Nick and I had taken and stopped to take a picture.

Karl taking a picture of Stu and his wife Lynn. Dolly is sitting on the log on the left side of the picture.

It wasn't long and we were at the final stretch to the bumps. Starting on the left going right with Lynn and her husband Stu. Then Karl and Dolly farthest right.

We get to the first bump and Dolly leads the way.

Then the rest start up.

We all pose for a group picture on the bump.

Tomyhoi Lake with Yellow Aster Butte above and behind it.

Karl with the Valley behind.

Close up of Mount Baker.

Well like I said this was a fast trip with little time for pics but it was good to get out with some of my best hiking friends.

There was quite a storm and Rick wanted to check this valley out also but when he tried to get in there it was blocked by much debri from the storm.

He gave Karl and myself a call and asked if we would help clear the road. He explained that the gate was open at the bridge and could be driven farther if it was cleared. We decided to clear it with him.

Rick took us in there with his vehicle and I got this picture of McGuire with it's winter cape.

The first obstacle were these big boulders in the middle of the road.

Some more Border Peaks, Larrabee and Tomyhoi pics getting their winter coats on.

The pictures below show some of what we cleaned up. The big boulders were the hardest and we used big branches to roll them over to the side and off the road.

Rick spots something on the road that is going to take more than strong muscle and big branches to move.

Karl brings out the heavy equipment and that is almost not enough to get the job done.

After the road is cleared and great supervising by Rick he gives us a glass of wine to end a day of hard work.
I get this picture of Church Peak on the way out.

With the new snow it was time to take a snowshoe hike into the area.
When Karl and I started it looked like it might be a great weather day.

It did not take long for the mist rising from the creek and the warming snow to turn into a cloudy day.

Close to the ridge we find a snow tire that rolled down the hill onto the road.

Karl poses with the ridge behind and above him. Then he is pointing in the direction to gain the ridge.

Direction we came from to get up on the ridge and on the ridge crest.

Up on the ridge the first thing we see is Borden Peak surrounded by clouds.

We head easterly toward the Bumps and Canadian Border Peak. It is to cloudy for any other pictures other than Karl.

Then we get to a place where the ridge is narrow and through the clouds we can see some interesting snow caves and cornices.

We go a little farther and the ridge gets to narrow and the cornices become to dangerous of breaking away so we turn back.

Heading back and Karl really appears to have enjoyed this trip.

As we leave some last pictures of the Valley and Mountains with their winter coat and cloudy scarf.

One last look back from along the road down by the creek and sure enough the afternoon clouds start to clear and the sun peeks through to shine on Larrabee.

That was the last trip into the valley from this direction but there were other trips to the ridge from the north following up from Borden Creek FSR.

Coming in from this way now from what I heard is only drivable to just after you pass over the first bridge to the west side of Tamihi Creek and then access is blocked within a few kilometers by the first wash out and evidently there is more than one wash out now.