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Mt. Robson Kain face


Original Post
Gavin Walton · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 20

Looking to get up to Mt. Robson some time in August. What is everyone's experience with the Kain face? seeing as how it has a 10% success rate, what are some tips to succeeding on it?

Thanks

Mike Grainger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

The main cause of failure on the Kain face is bad weather, so if you can figure out how to control the weather, you're golden!

With few and short weather windows, you need to move fast to take advantage of them.  When I was there in 2002 and 2003, we helicoptered in to Rearguard Meadow at the foot of the Robson glacier. In 2002 it took 2 days to get to the Dome camp below the Kain face; in 2003 we did it in one day.  In 2002 we got hit with almost 2 feet of snow and graupel overnight at the Dome camp and that was that. In 2003 we had a bluebird day and got the summit.  You want good visibility on the heavily corniced summit ridge.

I hear these days some groups are helicoptering straight into the Dome.  It seems a shame to miss the excitement of making your way through the Mousetrap ice fall, but if you want the maximum chance of success, that would certainly be a way to improve your odds.

Other than that, obviously you need good glacier travel skills.  The fitter you are, the better as summit day is long and you will use up a good amount of energy on the Kain face.

Good luck!

jon jugenheimer · · Madison, WI · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 2,139

Not to change the subject too much, but On Robson the route starts at the trailhead. Yes, if you want to guarantee a summit take a heli as high as you want to go, but for the experience start at the trailhead. 

Below is a snap of a really good read read in the 2011 CAJ. It's the last two paragraphs. 

Mike Grainger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

This is certainly a valid point of view.  Starting from the parking lot could certainly be seen as a "purer" style, but given the unpredictable and generally lousy weather on Robson, it is not surprising that many parties decide to skip two days of hiking and get right to the main event.  Each to his own, I guess...

Dow Williams · · St. George, Utah; Canmore, AB · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 240

They not only heli to the base of the Kain Face regularly now, they get helied off the top of the Kain face as well, no emergency, just if they don't want to go down it.  I suppose I am one of those rare climbers who still does all disciplines.  I realize that is no doubt a dying breed in today's climbing realm, but alpine climbing has always been about two things to me, endurance and nature.  Once those two things have been taken out of the equation, I have a hard time figuring out the purpose or desire of using a machine to tag mountains, particularly one like Robson where the physical endurance required, wildlife and beauty of the approach are key components of the experience.  

ie...driving half of the Boston Marathon.

To answer your question, as before mentioned, weather is the number one determining factor.  A close 2nd is the speed in which your party can move thus taking advantage of a weather window.  So being fit and practicing efficient style for that terrain would be the best thing you could do to prepare.  Many times in the alpine, particularly the Canadian Rockies, speed=safety.  When folks do not feel safe, they bail or turn back.

Good luck with your trip. I expect to be on the Wishbone Arete this summer myself.  It is a majestic mountain.

Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10
jon jugenheimer wrote:

Not to change the subject too much, but On Robson the route starts at the trailhead. Yes, if you want to guarantee a summit take a heli as high as you want to go, but for the experience start at the trailhead. 

Below is a snap of a really good read read in the 2011 CAJ. It's the last two paragraphs. 

Good luck!

Great Read.  Thanks for sharing...

Gavin Walton · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 20

Thanks for the replies! I was surprised to see how many people choose to heli to The Dome or RR Col. Seems like cheating to me and makes me wonder why someone would want to take away from the experience so much but to each their own. This will be our first time climbing in the Canadian Rockies so I'm pretty stoked. Going to train hard and warm up on Rainier and Baker :)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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