Kain Face, IV

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 53.11670°N / 119.15°W
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Time Required: A few days
Additional Information Difficulty: Alpine IV
Sign the Climber's Log


The registration to climb Mount Robson is voluntary. The registration box was at the Berg Lake trailhead back in 1998. If you use it, make sure you sign out as well. From the Robson Provincial Park Visitor Center drive 2 km north to the Berg Lake trailhead. There was no fee for overnight parking here in 2003. There are six official campsites en route to the start of your climb, unless of course you are using a helicopter, in which case you really are not in need of this beta. It takes 4 km to reach Kinney Lake (campsite), a rather uneventful section except for Knowlton Falls. The trail continues across a gravel bar, where you have several water crossing options depending on the flow, up to Valley of a Thousand Falls including White Falls (campsite-nice!) and Emperor Falls (campsite). Now the route gets quite scenic as the Mist Glacier starts to come into view. Continue through some gravel flats to the southwest shores of Berg Lake (campsite). Travel along the west shore of Berg Lake to Campsite 5 which has a day shelter to store food and other items you do not need to take on the climb. This is an ideal first camp spot with spectacular views of the Berg Glacier breaking off into Berg Lake, thus the name.

Route Description

Continue on to Campsite 6 where you leave the trail and make way for the tongue of the Robson Glacier. Bypass a small tarn on the left hand side as you travel southeast up the moraine. We hopped on this exposed glacier (meaning the crevasses are quite exposed during the late summer months) fairly early, quickly fixed our crampons and went unroped up the Robson Glacier until progress was slowed by crevasses. We then moved back onto the east moraine to a bivy site on a small rock cropping below a massive rock tower called Extinguisher. Extinguisher Tower has a lot of rock fall and reminds you all night of where you are. We used this as our 2nd camp.

Get an early start as you attack the deeper snow further up the Robson Glacier en route to some nasty seracs called the Mousetrap Icefall, in the Robson Cirque. Although the Mousetrap Icefall is not recommended in at least one guidebook, I found this section to be the most interesting and difficult climbing of the whole trip, and pondered what those who helicopter to the Dome were really accomplishing in terms of climbing. It is also the most direct route but requires solid ice climbing skills to move horizontally through these leaning ice obstacles. Avalanches were plentiful through this upper area and we noticed many of our old tracks wiped out on our return down the southeast ridge. Proceed to the Dome below the Kain Face and make camp. Wind and cold can be brutal at this bivy site (and it was for us). Get an early start and ice climb your way above the bergschrund and up the northeast face comprised of over 1000’ of vertical ice. Then follow the southeast ridge, containing a few technical spots, to the summit. On the descent back to the top of the Kain face, we had one fall. You must be confident in self arrest as this slope does drop almost to the valley floor on the southeast side.

On descent from the Dome the next day, we took the southeast ridge down to the Resplendent col for some variation in the route. We set up several rappels along the ridge. It took us over 20 hours to make it back to the parking lot from the Dome. Most of the photos I have added to this site are from a 2003 snowshoe up to Robson Glacier. Better route photos will be forthcoming from more recent trips, I am sure.

Essential Gear

Alpine, Ice and Camping Gear for an Alpine IV Climb including Pickets and Screws and One Alpine Ax and a Tool or 2 Tools.



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