A man of many 'firsts'


Nearly every climb or exploratory survey that Conrad Kain guided or accompanied was significant enough to be described in alpine and geographical journals. These articles were written by participant climbers or expedition leaders soon after the event, so they serve as a detailed record of these historical adventures. Articles on the first ascents of Mounts Whitehorn and Robson were authored by Kain himself, as were “Reminiscences” of his early days in Canada, published in 1932.

Following his death, Conrad’s friend and climbing companion J. Monroe Thorington wrote an appreciation that provided a concise but exceptional overview of his life and contributions as a mountaineer and guide. Later, the poet Earle Birney provided his own unique recognition.

A selection of this material can be read below. If you know of any new photos or previously unpublished text, unearthed from an archive or private collection, we would love to get permission to include it here.