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Exploration of the Holmes-Jackpine Divide
Timestamp Free: 2020.08.03 - 03:03:05
Ranges: Western North America / North Rockies / McBride Area / Holmes-Jackpine Divide
  (6 days)
Participants: Betsy Waddington, Robin Tivy
Difficulty: 3: Allow four to five hours of bushwacking and forest travel before emerging in endless alpine.
The area north of Holmes river is an extensive alpine area. This report describes access via Tommy Creek and then climbs of Chalco Mountain and Mount Holmes.
My definition of "Exploration" is that you have to come back with useful information. So here is an exploration of a new access route to an area seldom visited. To really follow the description I have written, you should also bring up a GMap window beside the report. Then you can see the track log and also the newer peak names as you read.

North of the Holmes River near McBride is a long range forming part of the divide between Alberta and BC. It is the divide beween the Pacific and Arctic oceans. It is said to be the toughest part of the Great Divide Trail. It is an area of extensive alpine meadows. See Holmes - Jackpine Divide. The most common way to access this area directly is via the muddy H43.0 Blueberry Trail. Our mission was to explore access via the H19.1 Tommy Creek Road and then traverse eastward to the better known area above the Blueberry trail. The approach via Tommy Creek would cut 24 km of driving off the Holmes River road, plus avoid the horrible mud holes of the Blueberry trail.

In planning the trip, the key thing was the Tommy Creek Road. So I got in touch with Bivouac member Roy Howard who lives in nearby Dunster BC. Roy told me the news that the logging "licensee" was currently working on the road. He wasn't sure exactly how far we would get, but he had been up there 3 years ago on an ATV. So it was probably usable. He also put me in touch with Dave King who had led a party into part of the area years ago, which to his knowledge was the only party to visit the areas. Roy also put me in touch with Chris Shank who had most recently attempted a trip from Blueberry Creek to Kakwa area via the Great Divide trail. This was similar to our 11 day trip down the divide in 2008, see [trip6399-Kakwa Park to Holmes River...

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