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Item #: OP4204-4206
CONRAD KAIN: LETTERS FROM A WANDERING MOUNTAIN GUIDE 1906-1933 Zac Robinson 2014 1st ed New Multiple copies available
By Kain, Conrad. Edited by Zac Robinson
Price: $34.95


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Edmonton, 2014, 1st edition. 468 pp, photos. Newly published collection of the letters of  Conrad Kain. Thick hardcover, New. (Only edition)

Conrad Kain is a titan among climbers in Canada and is well-known in mountaineering circles all over the world. His letters to Amelie Malek, a life long friend, offer a candid view into the deepest thoughts of the Austrian mountain guide, and are a perfect complement to his autobiography, Where the Clouds Can Go

The 144 letters provide a unique and personal view of what it meant to immigrate to Canada in the early part of the twentieth century. Kain's letters are ordered chronologically with annotations, keeping the sections in English untouched, while those in German have been carefully translated. Historians and mountain culture enthusiasts worldwide will appreciate Kain's genius for description, his passion for nature, his opinions, and his musings about his life. 

Conrad Kain (10 August 1883, Nasswald – 2 February 1934) was an Austrian mountain guide who guided extensively in Europe, Canada, and New Zealand, and was responsible for the first ascents of more than 60 routes in British Columbia. He is particularly known for pioneering climbs in the Purcell Mountains and the first ascents of Mount Robson in 1913, Mount Louis in 1916 and Bugaboo Spire also in 1916.

Conrad Kain is credited with 69 first ascents in Canada alone, including Resplendent Mountain and Whitehorn Mountain (1911), Nasswald Peak (named after his hometown) and Mount Robson (1913), Mount Farnham (1915), Mount Louis, Howser Spire and Bugaboo Spire (1916), North Twin Peak and Mount Saskatchewan (1923), Mount Hooker and Mount Fraser (1924) and Peyto Peak and Trapper Peak (1933). Between 1914 and 1916 he made about 30 first ascents in New Zealand as well.

While he considered his climb of Bugaboo Spire the most challenging, and it was considered the most difficult alpine climb in Canada until the 1940s, his most notable first ascent was that of Mount Robson in July 1913. He guided Albert MacCarthy and William Wasbrough Foster over the northeast face by hacking hundreds of steps and famously told his clients at the top "Gentlemen, that's so far as I can take you." 

During the ascent, Kain was under the assumption that Mount Robson had been climbed in 1909 by George Kinney and Curly Phillips, but on their return to the campsite at Robson Pass, Phillips, who was outfitter of the expedition, revealed that he and Kinney had actually fallen short of reaching the summit in their heroic effort over the west face four years before.

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