Wilmer, sandwiched between the Rockies on left and Purcells on right, was once home to Conrad Kain.

Conrad Kain Park Opening and Cairn Ceremony

July  11, 2009  Park Gate and Cairn Unveiling Ceremony

We’ve got a fun-filled afternoon and evening of community-minded events in motion for this, our consummate centennial celebration.

Arrival of "Conrad Kain" on Horse Back 3 p.m. CKCS member and guide/outfitter Bill Dubois will lead a string of horses through the streets of Wilmer. Actor Phillip Nugent, depicting Conrad Kain, and Laurie Schwartz, depicting Elizabeth Parker (Parker was one of the founding members of the Alpine Club of Canada) will be astride the horses.

The ceremony begins with CKCS chair Hermann Mauthner officiating at the opening of the new gate (designed and built by Roko Koell) to Conrad Kain Park, along with Wilmer Community Club rep Tom Hoyne and Regional District of East Kootenay rep Gerry Wilkie, and will shift a few meters to the site of the memorial cairn just as Bill and the pack string arrive. “Conrad ” and “Elizabeth” will dismount and unveil the cairn behind the walls of a canvas tent.

Cairn Unveiling 3:15 p.m. emcee Bill Cropper will introduce dignitaries from alpine clubs and guiding associations that contributed plaques to the monument. The rocks for the cairn were collected from the summits of some of the peaks that Kain made first ascents of, in Europe, New Zealand and Canada.

Historic One Act Play 4 p.m. the play, "As far as I can take you - the life of Conrad Kain”, will take place on a stage in Conrad Kain park. The play traces the journey of the Alpine Club of Canada's first professional mountain guide from his humble beginnings in the Austrian Alps through to the historic first ascent of Mt. Robson.

Community Barbeque 5 p.m. under the auspices of the Wilmer Community Club and the CKCS, refreshments, barbecued bratwurst sausages and salad will be available. Donations will be gratefully accepted to help cover food costs. Also, locals please bring lawn chairs, picnic blankets, etc. and we'll sit outside to eat and listen to the music (weather permitting).

Live Music 5:00 p.m. performed by Bill Cropper, Kurt Reichel, Franz Grassegger and Pat Hess. These local musicians will be playing some of their own mountain-oriented music, in keeping with the theme of the day. Recording artist Mark Koenig will perform his newly written song, Where the Clouds Can Go, which he named after the title of Kain's autobiography.

Raffle Draw 6:30 p.m. The remaining raffle tickets for Pat Bavin’s painting Local Ascent, Conrad Kainwill be up for grabs before the evening comes to a close.

Where the Clouds Can Go, the Centennial Edition of Kain’s newly reprinted autobiography, will be available for sale.

Location/Directions: Wilmer is a hamlet just 5 kms and a 10 minute drive from downtown Invermere. From Invermere, turn off onto the Panorama road (Borden St) and drive north. In just over 1 km, the road crosses Toby Creek, and there is an immediate turn to the right on the West Side Road, with a signpost marked “Wilmer”. Drive 2 kms on the West Side Road and you come into the hamlet. Turn right on Main Ave, and a block after you pass historic Delphine Lodge turn left onto Park St. The Community Hall and Conrad Kain Park are a couple blocks along Park (west, toward the Purcells). Parking is available on the street surrounding the park. 

A note to invitees: Many of the invited guests who travel here for the ceremony are mountaineers and hikers. The CKCS will endeavour to billet you on the eve of July 11 with locals who have spare bedrooms (and, there’s lots of tent space in our yards here in Wilmer if you bring your own sleeping gear). We’ll also help facilitate those who wish to carry on from Wilmer into the Bugaboos or surrounding mountains for climbs and hikes.