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Canadian Rockies: 100th Anniversary of Mount Louis’ First Ascent

The first ascent of Mount Louis in Banff National Park was on July 19, 1916, by Conrad Kain and A.H. MacCarthy.

Over the past 100 years, there have been over 20 ways climbed to the summit, but the Kain Route remains the most popular.

Happy birthday to the Kain Route and here’s to 100 more years of Mount Louis being the scene of cutting-edge routes. For a run-down of most of the lines up the spire-like mountain see here.

Mount Louis from the approach trail.  Photo Brandon Pullan
Mount Louis from the approach trail. Photo Brandon Pullan

After their climb, MacCarthy wrote the following in the Canadian Alpine Journal, “At six o’clock we reached the base of the red slab on the east face, and, picking up our ice axes at the north end of the ledge, made rapid progress directly down the east couloir, reaching the high snow patches at 6.40 and the scree slopes below at 7.45 p.m.

“Our party lost sight of us when the descent began and, late in the afternoon, were filled with apprehension when they noticed on the big snow-patch below the east couloir two dark spots that were not there in the morning; but Conrad’s mountain yell from the scree slope belied the suggestion of disaster and we made off in a straight line for the meadows where the ponies had been taken.

“Upon reaching the edge of the timber east of Mt. Edith, we stopped and looked back at our mountain, which towered up magnificently in the dusk, and Conrad spoke volumes when he said, ‘Ye gods, Mr. MacCarthy, just look at that; they never will believe we climbed it.'” For the complete story see here.