In the Footsteps of Kain
By Pat Morrow
Bookended by a drenching hike to the alpine hut, and a heart-stopping dip in a snow-rimmed tarn, the 11th annual Bugaboos Teens climbing camp turned out to be one of the best.
So much so that Jona Craig (from Golden) was moved to write, “Thank you so much for this amazing trip! The guides were great and I met some really cool people. I learned a lot and had a great time in the mountains.”
This year, six of the 10 participants (grades 10 – 12) hailed from Kimberley, one from Cranbrook, three from Golden, and alas, none from Invermere where the program originates.
Local ACMG guides Jen Olson, Tim McAllister and Kyle Chartrand along with guide-in-training Roslyn Johnson and Jordan Austin, BC Parks supervisor of Student Rangers, led three ropes of young climbers across glaciers and up the large-crystal granite made world famous by Conrad Kain, to the superb vantage points atop Hounds Tooth and East Post spires.
Snow conditions on the glaciers were near perfect for foot travel, and the rockfall that normally threatens the approach to the Bugaboo – Snowpatch col at this time of year was minimal due to the prolonged cool/wet period earlier.
In April a massive avalanche blew out the micro hydro installation at the hut and it may remain out of operation into autumn. Despite the lack of baseboard heaters for cooking and drying clothing and gear, the team was able to use the existing propane stoves for food prep.
With the sport of mountaineering and mountain hiking becoming ever more popular, BC Parks is kept busy maintaining trails and camping spaces. This year, we were greeted by a Bugaboos Teens alumni who is on the BC Parks Student Rangers crew which operates all over the province in summertime.
We rendezvoused with Rae Busse, BC Parks A/Area Supervisor for East Kootenay North, who is a fan of the CKCS camp having accompanied our team on two ascents 10 years ago while a junior in the Parks service: “I can’t think of a more amazing program than sharing your passion and knowledge with local teens to get them excited about parks and recreation.“
The climbing camp costs roughly $600 per teen to run, and the CKCS would like to thank the Alpine Club of Canada, Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, BC Parks, Canadian Mountain Holidays, Columbia Valley Community Foundation, Regional District of East Kootenay/Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives, and the teachers and parents of the participants for the continued financial and in-kind support.
The Conrad Kain Centennial Society was established by volunteers in 2007 to promote the legacy of Conrad Kain, the ACC’s first mountain guide. And what better way to remember Conrad than by offering a free of charge three-day camp based out of the hut named for him in Bugaboo Provincial Park.
Teens wishing to participate in next year’s program are invited to apply through the website conradkain.com, and while on the site, discover the rich mountaineering history of our region.
Lead image: Rory Smith, Tim McAllister, Hounds Tooth Spire, Conrad Kain Centennial Society Bugaboos Teens Climbing Camp 2019, Conrad Kain hut, Bugaboo Provincial Park, British Columbia. Photos courtesy Pat Morrow
Pat Morrow is chair of Conrad Kain Centennial Society