The Kain Route on Bugaboo Spire is one of Canada’s most iconic alpine climbs. The route begins at the Bugaboo/Snowpatch Col and climbs mostly easy fifth-class up a ridge until the crux. A steep wall of rock, known as a gendarme, creates a technical climbing crux on an otherwise scrambley line.

Kain Route is left ridge on Bugaboo Spire.
Kain Route is left ridge on Bugaboo Spire. Photo Matt Brooks

In 1916, Conrad Kain led Albert MacCarthy, Bess MacCarthy and John Vincent past the gendarme and to the summit. Kain became a legendary climber for accessing remote alpine climbs throughout western Canada. In total, he made over 50 major first ascents, many of which have become trade routes. The Kain Route on Bugaboo Spire sees hundreds of ascents every season and has been soloed by a number of climbers.

Now, 100 years after Bugaboo Spire was first climbed, the Bugaboo Spire Centennial Climb Project is planning to reenact the 1916 climb. Bryan Thompson will lead five climbers up the route using the same clothing, camping gear and equipment, including hobnail boots and hemp rope. The documentary will be called Hobnails and Hemp Rope. 

– Follow the climb on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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