Type: Ice, Snow, Alpine, 9000 ft, 20 pitches
FA: Conrad Kain & clients McCarthy & Foster, 1913
Page Views: 9,789 total · 98/month
Shared By: Michael S. Catlett on Dec 29, 2010
Admins: Kate Lynn

You & This Route

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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!


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.


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.
Very nice photos. Aug 31, 2008
Conrad Kain -- great early climber. Aug 26, 2010
Ken Trout
Golden, CO
Ken Trout   Golden, CO

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. Dec 29, 2010
Joe Catellani
Seattle, wa
Joe Catellani   Seattle, wa
more photos from a 1994 ascent lamountaineers.org/NAC/brow… Oct 8, 2013
sean o
Northern, NM
  Easy 5th AI2-3 PG13
sean o   Northern, NM
  Easy 5th AI2-3 PG13
The crux these days may be the 'schrunds. When climbing it in mid-July 2017, I almost had to jump one getting from Resplendent-Robson col to the glacier, then had to traverse all the way to the right to get off the glacier and onto the face. Also, the Schwartz Ledges route below the hut was much fainter in 2017 than 2014. Nov 4, 2017
Brett Bilon
Calgary, AB
  4th AI2-3 Steep Snow
Brett Bilon   Calgary, AB
  4th AI2-3 Steep Snow
Video & TR from my ascent July 14-15 can be viewed here: vimeo.com/281029195/ Jul 26, 2018