There are a
number of ways to access the trailhead for Hollebeke Mountain, but I
believe the following driving route description is probably the shortest.
From Highway 3, turn south onto East Hillcrest Drive about 11 kilometres
west of the junction with Highway 22. Follow East Hillcrest Drive
for 2.4 kilometres to the junction with Adanac Road. This junction
can also be accessed from the west via 232 Street in the town of
Hillcrest (drive southeast past the intersection with 12 Avenue for 1.4
kilometres). Drive south along Adanac Road for 14 kilometres to a
3-way intersection with Carbondale Road and Napay Road. Keep right
and drive west along Carbondale Road (passing Lynx Creek campground which
has vault toilets) for 4.2 kilometres to an intersection with Lost Creek
Road. Turn right and drive west along Lost Creek Road for 2.5
kilometres to another junction. Keep left on a rougher road
(high-clearance vehicle recommended) and drive a bumpy 3.6 kilometres to
the signed North Kootenay Pass trailhead just before a foot bridge.
From the trailhead, we crossed the foot bridge and hiked the road leading to North Kootenay Pass for about 3.1 kilometres until we reached the signed junction with a side road leading to Macdonald Pass. Turning left, we hiked up the side road for about 3.4 kilometres to reach Macdonald Pass. Along the way, we had to ford a tributary of Macdonald Creek and also cross a couple of large and somewhat uncomfortably steep snow patches covering the road. At Macdonald Pass, we left the road and weaved through a bit of bush before climbing up the ridge to the west. Although technically easy, the climb from the pass to the ridge top is brutally steep, and rockfall can be a real hazard if there is a large group ascending here. The top of the ridge is also a bit bushy, but careful route-finding allowed us to continue westward with very little thrashing. Following the crest of the Continental Divide, we dropped into a slight dip before climbing over a higher unnamed bump. While this bump initially looked demoralizing to me, climbing it was much easier than expected, and we were soon dropping down the far side onto a huge plateau just before the final climb to the top of Hollebeke Mountain. This final slope was also fairly easy to ascend, and it was not long before we were all relaxing beside the huge summit cairn. As I had already mentioned, the elevation of Hollebeke Mountain is not particularly high; yet, the views from its summit are surprisingly impressive. We had a lot of fun trying to identify numerous peaks both near and distant in all directions.
On our return trip, we tried to sidehill bash around the unnamed bump, but we ended up climbing nearly over the top anyway. Just before the steep descent back to Macdonald Pass, we stopped for another extended break to snack and exchange more war stories. I think Alda and Marta even contemplated traversing toward Mount McCarty, but the complicated terrain east of Macdonald Pass likely quashed any serious ambitions to do so. Instead, we easily descended to the pass after our break, and except for the added challenge of descending the aforementioned snow patches and fording the tributary, the hike back to the trailhead was long but uneventful.
We drove through several heavy rain
storms on our way back to Calgary, and as such, I am very grateful for
the generally pleasant weather we enjoyed throughout our hike. Even
better was sharing the trail with most excellent company. Hollebeke Mountain finally comes into view from the top
of the unnamed bump. Sonny, Marta, Zosia and Alda gather around the summit
cairn of Hollebeke Mountain (2400 metres). Photo courtesy of
Zosia Zgolak Photo courtesy of
Several bridges like this one simplify
Zosia and Marta ford a tributary of Macdonald Creek.
Marta follows Alda up a lingering snow patch covering the trail to
The climb above Macdonald Pass is brutally steep.
From the top of the ridge west of Macdonald Pass, the route dips slightly
before climbing over this unnamed bump along the Continental Divide.
The eastern slopes of Hollebeke Mountain present no significant
The view to the northwest includes Mount Borsato (left) and Centre
Mountain (second bump from far right).
The most recognizable peak to the north is
(centre in shadow).
Behind the unnamed bump to the east is Mount McCarty. Also visible
at distant right are two of the three peaks of
Notable peaks to the southeast include
St. Eloi Mountain
Mount Haig (left of centre), Tombstone Mountain (right of centre),
and Packhorse Peak (right).
Visible to the southwest are
Mount Doupe (left),
Mount Swope (right), and Overfold Mountain (farther right).
(right of centre) stands out on the western horizon.
Alda contemplates a possible traverse to Mount McCarty.
Sonny follows Alda down one of the snow patches covering the trail below
Sonny gets a shock from the cold water as he begins to re-cross the
tributary of Macdonald Creek.
Distance: 20.0 kilometres
Round-Trip Time: 9 hours 50 minutes
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1383 metres
Hollebeke Mountain finally comes into view from the top of the unnamed bump.
Sonny, Marta, Zosia and Alda gather around the summit cairn of Hollebeke Mountain (2400 metres).
Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak
Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak