Kain Chronology

History Overview

The chronology is a year-by-year timeline of Conrad Kain’s life. Dates and events are extracted from the most reliable sources, including Where the Clouds Can Go, primary-source alpine journal articles, archival records and, in a few cases, personal reminiscences. It provides a condensed outline of his life, including significant personal events, trips and expeditions with his dearest friends and clients.

  • August 10: Conrad Kain born in Nasswald, Austria. His father a miner, his mother the daughter of a woodcutter.
  • Enrolled at the Protestant private school in Nasswald at age 7.
  • Father dies.
  • Leaves school at age 14 and herds goats on the Raxalpe.
  • Employed at a stone quarry in Veitsch.
  • Works intermittently through 1904 as a quarryman at Hirschwang
  • April: Leads his first paying clients as a guide on the Raxalpe near Nasswald.
  • May: Dr. Erich Pistor of Vienna hires Conrad as his guide—the start of a long client-guide friendship.
  • Guiding and solo exploring in the Austrian Ennsthal, Tyrol and Dolomites. Primary clients Dr. Erich Pistor and his fiancée.
  • October-November: Mandatory training with the Austrian army.
  • Takes various labor jobs during the winter.
  • Spring: Guiding in the Dachstein district.
  • June-July: Guiding and travelling with Dr. Erich Pistor and his new wife on their honeymoon trip to the Dolomites, Milan, Courmayeur, Chamonix (Mont Blanc, Aiguille de Grépon), Zermatt (Matterhorn, Monte Rosa) and Interlaken.
  • August-September: Guiding in the Dolomites and Dachstein district.
  • April-May: Guiding in Rax district near Nasswald.
  • May-June: Travels to Corsica with client Albert Gerngross. Guides the first ascent of Capo Tafonato.
  • July-September: Guiding in the Dachstein district, Switzerland’s Saasthal, Zermatt, Courmayeur (Aiguille du Géant), Chamonix, and Tyrol.
  • October 10: Receives FührerBuch, official recognition as a professional guide.
  • November: Guiding in Dachstein district.
  • June: Guiding in Rax and Dachstein districts.
  • July: Guiding at Dachstein and Dolomites (with Dr. & Mrs. Pistor), the Silvretta (Gross Litzner), Chamonix and Zermatt.
  • August: Guiding in Dolomites (Guglia di Brenta) and Dauphiné Alps (Barre des Écrins, Meije).
  • September-October: Guiding in Dachstein and Rax districts.
  • January-May: With the assistance of Dr. Erich Pistor and former clients, Conrad moves to Vienna to study English with Mrs. Pistor.
  • May-July: Guiding in Rax and Dachstein districts.
  • July-August: Guiding in the Maritime and Dauphiné Alps.
  • August: Guiding in Dolomites (Marmolata south wall), Zermatt (Monte Rosa, Matterhorn), and Chamonix (Mont Blanc).
  • September-October: Guiding in Dachstein district.
  • Dr. Erich Pistor contacts CPR and Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) on Conrad's behalf, seeking employment for him as a guide. ACC offers employment for the summer. He secures a loan from a client to cover travel costs to Canada.
  • May 29: Departs Vienna en route to Canada.
  • June: Sails from Liverpool to Quebec and travels by train to Banff.
  • July: Serves as the first professional guide employed by the Alpine Club of Canada at Lake O’Hara Camp.
  • September-October: Works for A.O. Wheeler on surveys in the British Columbia interior.
  • Winters near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, working primarily as a carpenter and farm hand.
  • July: Serves as guide at the ACC’s annual camp in Consolation Valley.
  • September: Travels with A.O. Wheeler, T.G. Longstaff, Byron Harmon and others as a member of the Smithsonian-ACC Expedition exploring the Bugaboo region of the Purcell Range.
  • Winters in Banff while working on survey. Organizes a ski club for local youth.
  • March: Organizes a winter sports festival in Banff and encourages the CPR to promote winter sports and tourism.
  • May: Makes a solo trip into the Bugaboo region and completes an ascent of “Mt. Cornice” in the Septet group.
  • July-August: Accompanies Smithsonian-ACC Expedition surveying the Yellowhead Pass and Mount Robson region. Completes first ascent of Mt. Resplendent with Byron Harmon and a solo first ascent of Mt. Whitehorn.
  • September: Assisting A.O. Wheeler with survey at Maligne Lake. Horse party, outfitted by Curly Phillips and attended by Rev. George Kinney, Byron Harmon and Conrad, travels south through the mountains from Maligne Lake to Banff.
  • Returns to the Jasper area with Curly Phillips and spends the winter trapping on the headwaters of the Moose and Smoky Rivers.
  • June-August: Travels with Smithsonian’s Ned Hollister to Siberia’s Altai Mountains, assisting in the collection of mammal specimens for the institution.
  • September-November: Visits with his mother in Austria. It is the last time he sees his mother and the Alps.
  • November-January: Sails from England to Wellington, New Zealand.
  • January-May: Seeks guiding work in New Zealand but ends up working on a brush-clearing crew in the eastern foothills.
  • July: Working on A.O. Wheeler’s Alberta-B.C. boundary survey between Vermilion and Kicking Horse Passes.
  • July-August: Guides at the ACC’s Mount Robson camp.
  • July 31: Completes the first ascent of Mount Robson with Alpine Club of Canada members W.W. Foster and Albert H. MacCarthy.
  • August-September: Works on Wheeler’s boundary survey between Vermilion Pass and Mount Assiniboine.
  • October-November: Travels to New Zealand with Canadian climber Herbert Otto Frind.
  • January-March: Completes numerous climbs in New Zealand’s Southern Alps with Frind and others, including 16 first ascents and numerous new traverses and routes.
  • June-July: Assists A.O. Wheeler on the boundary survey between Elk and Crowsnest Passes.
  • July: Serves as guide at the ACC’s Upper Yoho Valley camp.
  • August: Completes the first ascent of Mount Farnham, the highest summit of the Purcell Range, and Farnham Tower with Mr and Mrs A.H. MacCarthy.
  • September-April (1915): Serves as assistant guide at the Hermitage in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Completes 8 first ascents.
  • Returns from New Zealand in the spring to employment at A.H. MacCarthy’s Karmax Ranch near Wilmer, B.C.
  • August: Explores the Purcell Range’s Horsethief and Big Salmon Valleys with Mr. & Mrs. A.H. MacCarthy and Dr. W.E. Stone. First ascents of Mts. Ethelbert, Jumbo and Birthday Peak.
  • December-March (1916): Works as a private guide in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Primary clients Mr. & Mrs. H.N.P. Sloman and Mrs. Jane Thomson.
  • January 31: Completes the second traverse of Mt. Cook’s three summits with Mrs. Jane Thomson.
  • July 19: Completes the first ascent of Banff’s Mt. Louis with A.H. MacCarthy.
  • August: Climbs and explores the headwaters of Toby Creek in the Purcell Range with Mr. and Mrs. A.H. MacCarthy and Dr. W.E. Stone.
  • August 29: Completes first ascent of Bugaboo Spire with Mr. & Mrs. A.H. MacCarthy.
  • October-May (1917): Trapping on the headwaters of the Simpson River.
  • June: Marries Henriquita “Hetta” Ferrara. They live at MacCarthy's Karmax Ranch.
  • July: Attends the ACC’s Cataract Creek camp and climbs with the MacCarthys.
  • Initiates an annual routine of outfitting hunting trips in fall-spring and trapping in winter.
  • March 5: Completes a solo ascent of the Purcell Range’s Jumbo Mtn on snowshoes. Credited as the first winter ascent of an 11,000-ft peak in Canada.
  • June-September: Works for A.O. Wheeler on the Alberta-B.C. boundary survey between Thompson Pass (Castleguard Meadows) and Fortress Lake.
  • Spends winter (until February 1920) trapping on Alexandra and Castleguard Rivers.
  • Purchases an 8.3-acre piece of land on the western edge of Wilmer and builds a house.
  • August 5-9: Joins with A.H. MacCarthy, Edward Feuz, and Rudolph Aemmer to recover the body of Dr. W.E. Stone from Mt. Eon.
  • September: Travels with Byron  Harmon party to guide and shoot motion picture footage at Lake of the Hanging Glacier. Followed by a trip to Mt. Assiniboine with clients.
  • March-April: Works for Hollywood motion picture company filming “Unseeing Eyes” in the Paradise Basin west of Invermere. Serves as stunt double and location scout.
  • June-July: Accompanies J. Monroe Thorington and W.S. Ladd on a Jimmy Simpson-outfitted expedition to Columbia Icefield. Guides first ascents of North Twin and Mt. Saskatchewan.
  • Completes the third ascent of Mt. Louis with W.S. Ladd.
  • June-July: Travels to Athabasca Pass and Tonquin Valley with J. Monroe Thorington, M.M. Strumia and A.J. Ostheimer. Party completes several first ascents, including Mt. Hooker.
  • July: Attends ACC Mt. Robson camp and guides several parties to the summit of Mt. Robson, including Phyllis Munday—the first woman to climb Robson.
  • August-September: Travels with a party to headwaters of Athabasca River and completes first ascent of Mt. King Edward.
  • September: Accompanies bear-hunting expedition to southwest Alaska.
  • Working on Wilmer farm and outfitting hunting and fishing parties into the Rockies and Purcells 1925-1927.
  • July: Outfits an expedition to Toby and Jumbo Creek headwaters for J. Monroe Thorington, and O.E. Cromwell. First ascent of Mt. Earl Grey and traverse of Mt. Jumbo to Lake of the Hanging Glacier and ACC’s Horsethief Creek camp.
  • July-August: Outfits Thorington, Eaton Cromwell and Peter Kaufmann to the headwaters of Dutch Creek (first ascent of Mt. Findlay) and into the Bugaboos.
  • Outfits J. Monroe Thorington, Eaton Cromwell and Edward Feuz on a mapping expedition to the headwaters of Findlay Creek in the Purcell Range.
  • February 7: Henriquita “Hetta” Kain dies in hospital at Cranbrook, B.C. and is buried in the Roman Catholic section of the Cranbrook Cemetery .
  • June: Accompanies Mr. & Mrs. J. Monroe Thorington to the Bugaboos and completes several ascents, including Crescent Spire.
  • July: Accompanies J. Monroe Thorington, H.S. Kingman  and outfitter Jimmy Simpson to Bow Summit and Peyto Lake. Completes several ascents and traverses Waputik Icefield to Yoho Valley.
  • August 10: Completes an ascent of Mt. Louis on his 50th birthday with H.S. Kingman.
  • September: Accompanies Dr. and Mrs. I.A. Richards to the Bugaboos and guides an ascent of Pigeon Spire and the first ascent of the highest peak in the Bobbie Burns Group—his final climb and later named in Mt. Conrad in his honour.
  • October: Conrad falls ill in Wilmer.
  • February 2: Conrad Kain dies in the hospital at Cranbrook, B.C. and is buried in the General section of the Cranbrook Cemetery.