The arch can be seen from the McKale River Valley 1km north of Rainbow Pass. /LLOYD JECK

By Lloyd Jeck

Nestled between the two summits lies a restful flat surface covered by a shallow pool of water. This reflective surface stretches its boundaries to the encroaching mountain slopes, to blanket more than one surface acre. From its southern end trickles a small stream of water, emitting the tinkling sound of water over rocks on a downward journey. This serene setting is Rainbow Pass and marks the beginning of Rainbow Creek. The melodic sound of rushing water amplifies as the track steepens and water volume increases. This is the water source for upper and lower Rainbow Falls at the north-side edge of Robson Valley near McBride. To the north of this Pass the south fork of McKale River, more commonly referred to as Blackwater River, slopes gently away.

The east-side sentinel, at Rainbow Pass, is 2,180 metre (7,150 ft) Mount Teare. When someone names a mountain, using a person’s name, as in this case (the Teare brothers), they would spell the word “Mountain” out, and it would show preceding the person’s name. When someone names a mountain after something other than a person, it could be Mt. preceding the word or Mountain or Peak following the word. Other naming examples in the McBride area are Beaver Mountain, Mount Lucille and Mount Quanstrom. 

On the west side of the Pass, 2,269 metre (7,446 ft) McBride Peak tends to cast the evening shadow on the bubble of water at the head of Rainbow Creek. On the south facing slope of this mountain is where the BC Forest Service built the upper lookout structure. The Forest Service constructed the first shelter in 1930, or a bit earlier. Later, the Forest Service then built the shelter currently on the mountain. Fred Koeneman, the tower attendant in the 1940s, told me the trail up McBride Peak was seven miles long and built at 7% grade. The Forest Service may not yet have built this trail when they constructed the current tower. Jack Long, later in the 1950s, carved the road along the trail alignment. There used to be a horse trail up Mount Teare, east of Rainbow Creek. The Teare trail left the valley floor where Ann Schwartz now has her doggie business. 

There is an interesting escarpment at the top of the ridge extending northward from McBride Peak. To access this rock arch, you would have to follow the ridge top in a way that allows a view down into the valley of the south fork of McKale River. One may access the rock arch from the McKale river valley about one kilometre north of Rainbow Pass. There was an old camping site where the first trees offer shelter and a bit of wood for a campfire. Just downstream from the camping area there is a meadow on the west side of the stream, suitable for horse feed. The rock arch is above that meadow, at the top of the ridge. 

The rock arch photo was taken on a fall trip when my brother and I were on a short hunting trip. We had two pack horses hoping to load them with some fresh meat. On our second night, at the McKale River campsite, it snowed a bunch. A couple hours after daylight the snow was more than knee height on the horses. We broke camp and started out. As the trail would be difficult to follow over the shoulder of McBride Peak, and we were concerned with the horses having difficulty in loose rock, we decided to go through Rainbow Pass and down Mount Teare. A bit of the old trail was visible as we travelled through the White-bark Pine area, but below that no visible trail. No meat to carry so the horses travelled well. 

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A horse pack trip taken by Lloyd around 1950. /LLOYD JECK