TD11 Grand Depart Permitted Detours

Friday 6/3/2011

The final scouting reports are in from the Route. Special thanks to all those who hiked, biked, skied, ORV'd, flew planes, and generally risked life and limb to obtain the most up-to-date conditions for the Grand Departs. Assistance came from all kinds: private residents, Forest Service road engineers, local bike shop owners, CDT thru-hikers, you name it. We are indebted to them all.

Extra special thanks to Rob Leipheimer of the Outdoorsman in Butte, MT for his valiant efforts in scouting the (new) Comet, MT detour. His pick-up became stuck in mud on a steep pass, eventually requiring extraction (a day later) by logging truck! Still, he raved about the new route through this ghost town. Be sure to thank him for his time when you pass by his shop on route in Butte. The Outdoorsman have put many a broken Divide racer back together in the past, and will be crucial again this year with so many Tour rookies taking the start.

Our (working) 'suggested detour' list of three weeks ago has been winnowed down considerably, however, there are still several in play for the Grand Departs. We hate to suggest Sobo folks miss the amazing Flathead, but projected flooding and extended hike-a-bikes in this area by race time are all but guaranteed to make conditions unsafe. If TD needs anything in 2011, it's a safe Tour. The detour list doesn't mean grand depart challengers cannot try to tackle the full GDMBR, only that culprit passes are not required--or suggested without winter travel gear.

So...with apologies to the old-timers who argue Divide racing detours should only be reserved for official government road closures, here are TD's heretical grand depart detour terms, fit for a truly remarkable Spring snow year:

In addition to the three GDMBR alternates permitted / required for TD as per Rule #3, all six detours below are fair game for the 6/10 Banff (southbound) Grand Depart, and detour #6 (only) is permitted for the northbound (AW) Grand Depart.


  • All challengers travel these detours at their own risk--just as one does in following the main GDMBR.
  • As with Rule #3 alternates, there is no GC time bonus for taking the snowy main route when a permitted alternate may be (considerably) faster. The terms remain the same as always for Grand Departs: First rider to reach the opposite terminus is declared top dog regardless of permitted alternates used.
  • Grab the latest GPS files here: There is a separate full route file for each Grand Depart. There is also a separate snow detours file. Noticeably absent from the southbound file is the Gold Dust Trail north of Como, CO. It will wait for 2012.

  1. Fernie, BC Alternate: This is an official ACA alternate. It bypasses the Canadian Flathead): It uses the Canada Map side B official 'Fernie Alternate'. See Route Map.
  2. Fortine / Stryker, MT Detour  (a.k.a Whitefish Divide bypass): This is a detour away from GDMBR Section 1-A. See Route map / see cues in miles / cues in km
  3. MT Hwy 83 Detour (a.k.a Richmond Peak / Morrell Bypass): Also a detour away from GDMBR Section 1-A; See Route map; see cues in miles; cues in km
  4. MT Hwy 200 Detour (a.k.a Huckleberry Pass bypass): This is a detour away from GDMBR Section 1-B. See Route map; see cues in miles; cues in km
  5. Lincoln-Helen / Clancy-Basin, MT Detour: Two separate detours (displayed on the map together) away from GDMBR Section 1-B: See Route map ; see Pt. 1 cues in miles; Pt. 1 cues in km; see Pt. 2 cues in mi; Pt. 2 cues in km
  6. Wyoming High Country: One giant detour around 3 segments of snow. Lots of new rail trail across the valley. See route map; see cues in miles; cues in km