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Raising Kain, the adventurous life of Conrad Kain – Canada’s greatest mountaineer

Kootenay author releases new book

Author Keith G. Powell at the Conrad Kain hut in the Bugaboos with his new book Raising Kain, the adventurous life of Conrad Kain, Canada’s greatest mountaineer. The Bugaboos were one of Conrad Kain’s favourite climbing areas.

“My new book will be officially released in early 2012 and will be available in bookstores throughout Western Canada,” said Keith G. Powell, Kootenay author. “Conrad Kain lived in Wilmer (just north of Invermere) for almost 20 years and he died in Cranbrook’s St. Eugene Hospital in 1934. He one of the most famous people buried in Cranbrook cemetery—so there is strong Kootenay connection to this story.”

In 1909, 25-year-old Conrad Kain—from the tiny Austrian village of Nasswald in the heart of the Rax Mountains—boarded the CPR ship the Empress of Britain, en route to the Canadian Rockies. Never did he imagine the adventurous life that lay before him, as the first official mountain guide of the newly formed Alpine Club of Canada (ACC). This historical novel tells the story of Kain’s 25 years in Canada in a manner that reflects the overall spirit and experience of the early days of alpine adventure in the Canadian Rockies—from his arrival as a young man to his later years in and around Wilmer in the Columbia Valley.

With almost 70 first ascents or new routes on peaks throughout the Canadian Rockies and 59 ascents (29 first ascents) in New Zealand, Kain was recognized as “the prince of Canadian mountain guides” in what can only be called the golden age of mountaineering in Canada.

Kain has an enduring legacy in the Canadian Rockies and he is still fondly remembered for his mountaineering skills and colourful sense of humour.

“It is my hope that this book, Raising Kain, the Adventurous Life of Conrad Kain, captures the rich heritage and legacy that Conrad Kain left behind in his relatively short but extraordinary life in the Canadian Rockies,” said Powell.

Powell is a lifelong resident of the Kootenays and is the publisher at Koocanusa Publications Inc., in Cranbrook, B.C. He has a keen interest in local history and the lives of the many colourful characters who at one time or another called the Canadian Rockies home. Published through his own publishing company, Wild Horse Creek Press, this book is Powell's second historical novel. He is also author of the Kootenay bestseller Living in the Shadow of Fisher Peak, which was recently shortlisted as one of nominees for the One Book, One Kootenay award.

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