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Posted: April 12, 2023

April 28 Conrad Kain Slide Show precedes book reprint

Conrad Kain

The name of mountain guide Conrad Kain is no stranger to those living in the Columbia/Kootenay valleys, and to much of the mountaineering community across Canada.

Thanks in part to the efforts of the Conrad Kain Society (based in Wilmer), and the fourth edition printing in 2009 of his biographical book ‘Where The Clouds Can Go,’ Kain’s legacy of exploration in the local Purcell and Rocky mountain ranges has provided an insightful glimpse into the past not commonly found in other sources about our region.

Kain’s book sold out a few years ago, and in May of this year its publisher Rocky Mountain Books will issue a reprint.

Four Points Books, the store in Invermere that carries tomes about nature and outdoor adventure in addition to a range of other subjects, will be stocking the book once available. Owner Grant Hofer said, “Books like this from local authors help us to learn more about the beautiful place that we live in – both the history and how to enjoy it (and care for it) today.”

To help promote the reprint, at 7 p.m. April 28 at Edgewater Community Hall, Pat Morrow (chair of the Kain Society) will be giving a revised version of the AV show he has shared over the years with audiences in Invermere. He has also given the show to teenagers in high schools from Creston through Golden during recruitment for the Bugaboos Teens climbing program offered through the Society.

Kain married Henriquita (“Hetta”) Ferrara (née Granito, 1884-1933) in June 1917. She was then in the employ of the MacCarthys and had lived in Wilmer since 1913. Originally from Georgetown, Guyana, she was educated in a Roman Catholic convent, where she learned to speak English, and, at graduation, married J. Ferrara. They had one daughter, Beatrice. After her husband died, Henriquita followed her brothers, John and Anthony Granito, to Canada. She travelled with her mother, her sister, Ursula, and her daughter. Henriquita and Kain continued to live at the MacCarthys ranch for three years after their marriage.

Admittance will be by donation, and proceeds will be shared by the community hall (Edgewater Recreation Society) and Edgewater Seniors.

A nice local tie-in is that the organizers of the slide show, Barb Neraasen and her sisters, are grand-nieces of Kain’s wife Hetta. And Barb served as secretary to the Kain Society since its inception.

Physical reminders of Kain’s contribution to the geographical knowledge of our mountains can be found in stylish interpretive panels at overlooks near Brisco, Radium, Invermere, in the Wilmer Community Hall, at the Conrad Kain Climbing Wall at J.A. Laird Elementary School, and inside the Conrad Kain Hut in the Bugaboos (with thanks to Brian Patton for the text); a permanent display of artifacts and photos housed in Invermere’s Windermere Valley Museum; geocaches in Wilmer, Invermere, Radium, the Bugaboos, Banff and Canmore (several thousand visits to date); and on the website

Lead image: Since its inception in 2009, the Conrad Kain Bugaboos Teens climbing program has introduced roughly 130 local teens to the world famous Bugaboo granite. Pat Morrow Photo/Photos submitted

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