By Pat Morrow
Conrad Kain Centennial Society
For the fifth consecutive year, teens from the Columbia and Kootenay valleys have realized the satisfaction of self-propelled sport and discovered the thrill of mountaineering in the world famous Bugaboo Provincial Park. This climbing initiative was begun by the Conrad Kain Centennial Society in 2009 as a tribute to mountain guide Conrad Kain, said CKCS chairman Pat Morrow.
Six students from Cranbrooks excellent high school outdoor program at Mt Baker Secondary School, two from the equally excellent outdoor program at Kimberleys Selkirk Secondary School and two from Invermere participated from July 12th to 14th.
To date, a total of 50 youths, ages 15 through 17 have honed their hiking, climbing and leadership skills in the granite spires. And its all been free of charge thanks to generous donations from local organizations and individuals.
Kimberley student Natasha Norton was pleased with the overall experience: The entire mountain community was extraordinary. Everything from the glaciers and spires to the people and the ambience at the Conrad Kain hut all just fit together! I know the memories will never be forgotten, and I know I’ll be back in the mountains as soon as possible!
Due to exceptionally good weather, this is the first year the program has been able to reach the summit of one of the major peaks in the Bugaboos in the past, foggy and rainy conditions have restricted them to glacier travel and scrambling up minor peaks.
Senior BC Park Ranger Craig Browne joined Wilmer ACMG guides Kirk Mauthner and Tim McAllister, and Canmore guide Jen Olson who led them to the tops of 3156 m Pigeon Spire, and 2728 m Eastpost Spire.
To see more photos, please visit www.conradkain.com, where East Kootenay/Columbia Valley students in grades 10 and 11 are invited to apply to the CKCS to join next years program.
Morrow expressed his appreciation to the sponsors for their investment in the development of environmental awareness and teamwork skills in the regions youths: The CKCS is especially grateful for annual support from the Columbia Basin Community Fund, BC Hydro, Canadian Mountain Holidays, BC Parks, the Alpine Club of Canada, the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, parents of the teens who car pool to the trail head, and a Columbia Basin Trust Youth Grant which helped to make this years trip another great success story.
This year also marks the centennial of the first ascent of Mt Robson, highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. The CKCS is working with the ACC to establish a commemorative camp near Berg Lake in late August, and two graduates of the Bugaboos Teens program from previous years, Graham Kinley from Invermere, and Curtis Hall from Cranbrook have been invited to join the camp. Mountain guide Conrad Kain and Albert MacCarthy, both of whom would settle in the Invermere area, and Bill Foster, a government representative from Victoria, made the first confirmed ascent of the peak during an ACC camp in August, 1913.