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 ADVANCED
Mount Robson
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Emperor Ridge T 
Kain Face 
Patterson Couloir T 
South Face/Schwartz Ledges T 

Kain Face 

YDS: Easy 5th French: 1+ Ewbanks: 3 UIAA: I ZA: 5 British: M 1c AI3 Steep Snow

   
Type:  Ice, Snow, Alpine, 20 pitches, 9000'
Consensus:  YDS: Easy 5th French: 1+ Ewbanks: 3 UIAA: I ZA: 5 British: M 1c AI3 [details]
FA: Conrad Kain & clients McCarthy & Foster, 1913
Season: August-September
Page Views: 2,809
Submitted By: Michael S. Catlett on Dec 29, 2010

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BETA PHOTO: Crossing the ice fall at the Robson/Resplendent Co...

Description 

The Kain Route is the original way up Mount Robson. There once was a huge serac that loomed over part of the face, but glacial wasting has now removed the threat. Currently, this is probably the safest way to climb Robson.

Remote climbing with low odds for success given the weather, snow conditions and logistics. Still once you get your shot, moderate to steep snow and ice climbing up the Kain Face and then moderate climbing up snow and ice faces and around gargoyles of ice leads to a large summit with a small summit bump.

If you think getting up is tough, getting down can be a job once the Kain Face softens and becomes very hazardous to downclimb. Be prepared to sit it out till the sun goes down and the freeze comes to stabilize the face. Do not underestimate the decent.

It is all worth it!


Approach 

You can approach on foot all the way from Berg Lake to the Dome, or fly into the Extinguisher (this is easily arranged with companies out of Valemont, BC) and then travel over glacier to the Kain Face camp at the Dome. The approach hike is on a good trail. Mountain bikes are even allowed as far as the first ten kilometers, to the shelter past Kinney Lake.

Take the time to climb Mount Resplendent before taking on the ice fall of the Resplendent/Robson glacier. This can be bypassed by climbing the ridge above the ice fall and working your way back to the glacier once you overcome the ice fall. It worked well coming down, with 4th and 5th class scrambling and a few raps, so I am sure it will work going up though there likely will be 5th class climbing for short sections.

The Patterson Couloir is another way to reach the Kain Face. The CAJ has reports of teams doing the couloir, but none summited. If avalanche hazard and bushy approach are not too bad, then this could be the fastest way up the mountain, sans choppers.

Protection 

Besides your personal favorite rack of screws, pickets, and V-thread kit (for Roof and Kain Face). A thermometer would be a good idea. Warm nights and morning avalanches are a problem at high latitudes.


Photos of Kain Face Slideshow Add Photo
Climbers approaching the summit from the ridge and slopes above the Kane Face.
BETA PHOTO: Climbers approaching the summit from the ridge and...
Kain Face View- Camp before the saddle- 1950's
Kain Face View- Camp before the saddle- 1950's
Mt Robson from Mt Resplendent August 1990. <br />note how ice bulge on Kain Face has fallen off but SE face is more broken than Ed Cooper photo. The SE face was much more broken in 2008 <a href='http://www.pbase.com/nolock/image/97234433/large' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >pbase.com/nolock/image/9723443...</a>
BETA PHOTO: Mt Robson from Mt Resplendent August 1990.
note ho...
Near the ice fall at the Robson/Resplendent col.
BETA PHOTO: Near the ice fall at the Robson/Resplendent col.
The Kain Face from camp at the saddle between "The Dome" and Robson.
BETA PHOTO: The Kain Face from camp at the saddle between "The...
Snow and rock along the ridge decent from the Kain Face climb to bypass the ice fall.  Easy going snow and ice and loose 4th and 5th class rock are typical.
BETA PHOTO: Snow and rock along the ridge decent from the Kain...
Resplendent from Robson-Resplendent ridge. rock was mostly class 3 with occasional class 4 moves
BETA PHOTO: Resplendent from Robson-Resplendent ridge. rock wa...
The upper slopes of Robson
BETA PHOTO: The upper slopes of Robson
Gargoyles-a-plenty.  Down climbing slopes below the summit.  These slopes are not on the route proper!
BETA PHOTO: Gargoyles-a-plenty. Down climbing slopes below th...
SE ridge of Robson August 1990
SE ridge of Robson August 1990
Robson and the Kain Face in the distance.  The ridge to the left was descended to avoid the ice fall.
Robson and the Kain Face in the distance. The rid...
Camp near the Extinguisher, the location the chopper dropped us off and picked us up.  I have heard the climb up from Berg Lake is a killer and while Suspected Alpine Climbs of the Rockies says it one day from Berg Lake to the Dome, guides tell me it is one long and hard day from Berg Lake to here.
BETA PHOTO: Camp near the Extinguisher, the location the chopp...
Looking down a well baked Kain Face at the camp on the saddle.  Beware of unstable snow in the afternoon and be prepared to wait till dark for stable snow.
BETA PHOTO: Looking down a well baked Kain Face at the camp on...
Crossing the summit plateau on the way to the true summit.
Crossing the summit plateau on the way to the true...
Ed Cooper's Photo <br />Canadian Alpine Journal, 1973 <br /> <br />Cooper was a pioneering climber and photographer.  It is probable that the route suggestion was drawn in by the CAJ editor. <br /> <br />A good title might be: <br />"The Safest Way To Climb Robson". <br /> <br />Note the absence of any suggestion of climbing the icefall via the "Mousetrap".
BETA PHOTO: Ed Cooper's Photo
Canadian Alpine Journal, 1973

C...
Kain Face Map <br />contour interval: 100 feet <br />one kilometer grid <br /> <br />Light Blue - Berg Lake Trail <br />Yellow - Robson Glacier/Kain Face <br />Red - Mousetrap Variation <br /> <br />
BETA PHOTO: Kain Face Map
contour interval: 100 feet
one kilom...
The rising sun from the slopes above the Kain Face.
BETA PHOTO: The rising sun from the slopes above the Kain Face...

Comments on Kain Face Add Comment
Show which comments
By John Peterson
Aug 31, 2008

Very nice photos.
By stan wagon
Aug 26, 2010

Conrad Kain -- great early climber.
By Ken Trout
From: Golden, CO
Dec 29, 2010

LINKS

Debra M McCarthy's photograph shows the Kain
Face of the 1950's
.

Mrs McCarthy's team photo gives a view back in time to the serac above the Schwartz Ledges. It appears just as overhung and dangerous then as it is today. Maybe not as much loose ice.

By reading all the mountain condition reports at Association of Canadian Mountain Guides , you'll notice that the upper part of this route is getting harder. Lots of rappels to descend what used to be an easy ridge romp.
By Joe Catellani
From: Seattle, wa
Oct 8, 2013

more photos from a 1994 ascent lamountaineers.org/NAC/browser...