Conrad Kain: Where the clouds can go

View of the Mount Robson, in BC Canada.

A mountain lover – a book lover

If you visit my blog regularly, you know what it is mainly about: my adventures and struggles outdoors and up the mountains. It is all about the journey, isn’t it? 😉 But besides calling myself a mountain lover, I am also a huge book lover.

Ever since I can read I have never been without a book. I always carry my current read with me in my bag. You can imagine how grateful I am for my e-book reader because I can travel light now even if I am currently into a 800-page-book.

My favourite books are romcoms, thrillers and crime and biographies. As a mountain lover I am also very into books about famous mountaineers and climbers and that’s what I am going to write about in my new category “Inspiring books”. Because inspiring they are. After finishing a new book from or about a mountaineer I feel like I could do it all. I am full-blown motivated and inspired to go for my next adventure. It isn’t about their success but about their attitude. They are all inspiring people who also happen to be famous for their success in the mountains.

I am going to start my new category with the book which was my inspiration for going outdoor and seek my personal adventures in the mountains:

Where the Clouds can go

By Conrad Kain

As you may know, I am very into the life of Conrad Kain. I have already written several posts about him. One of the reasons for my fascination for Conrad is that he was born in my home village, in Nasswald, in 1883. But that’s only how it started.

Conrad Kain – mountain guide

Growing up poor, the only things that made Conrad happy were the mountains. Nasswald is located at the foot of the Rax, a mountain in Lower Austria, and Conrad spent a lot of his time exploring all the ways up the top of said mountain. After a while people started to hire him as a mountain guide in his area and he earned some money.

During the following years he became a legitimate mountain guide and he guided his clients up famous mountains in Europe. In 1909 he emigrated to Canada where he got to work for the Alpine Club of Canada.

Conrad’s first ascents

In 1913 he made the first ascent of the highest mountain of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the Mount Robson (3954 m). After reaching the peak he said to Albert MacCarthy and William Wasbrough Foster who he had followed his lead: “Gentlemen, that’s so far as I can take you.”

Several more first ascents followed and Conrad became one of the most famous mountaineers in Canada. Mount Kain was named after him as was the Mount Conrad and an alpine hut named Conrad Kain Hut. Sadly, he is not as well known in his home country as he is in his chosen home.

In 1934 Conrad died, way too early, of encephalitis in Cranbrook, B.C.

Why read Where the clouds can go?

The book Where the Clouds can go is an autobiography of Conrad Kain, his diary, which gives us an insight into his life, starting with the first years of him growing up poorly in a mountain valley and covering his years as a mountain guide for the Alpine Club of Canada. Conrad’s writing is in rough English (he learned it only a year before he emigrated) but it is authentic and the reader gets a glimpse of Conrad’s inner thoughts and – most of all – you can feel how dedicated he was to the mountains and nature in general. He treasured every moment of his time in the mountains and found his inner peace while enjoying the view off the peaks of the highest mountains in the Canadian Rockies.

This book has been a pure inspiration. Conrad was a man who followed his dreams, even if it meant to leave his home for an unknown future. He aimed for a life in the nature, a life up on high peaks, a life worth living. He was known as “a guide of great spirit” and that’s what you can feel all the way through this book. A must-read for every mountain lover.

Conrad Kain.


„Where the Clouds can go“ by Conrad Kain

2009  Rocky Mountain Books Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary

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