Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Beta on South Face Spur - Kain route variation

With lots of emails coming in about this route it sparked me to make a KMZ file and I will do my best to give some beta in a blog post. Updated file -   Click for KMZ  - email me if link is broken.
Elevation Gain: 2041 meters
Distance: 7.2km
Time: 1 day (for slower parties it can be broken into 2 with second bivi on the Dome) (plenty of good bivi sites)

-Shortest approach route.
-Least amount of objective hazards. (nice break as there will be plenty the second day)
-No gear needed at most 4th class. 

-Bushwhacking (1.8km)
-Easy to be sandbagged going off route.

*note: the Patterson might be faster to get to the Dome when doing it in two days as its more direct via the yellow bands but even with good conditions your still dealing with more objective hazards for small time savings.  Because of its aspect and lower elevation its best to hit the couloir very early so doing the patterson couloir in a day isn't very feasible. 


Trail portion: Head up towards Kinney lake cross the main bridge from here you will head East up the valley towards Mt. Resplendent.  I have found it easiest to start bush whacking from the top of the first set of switch backs on the trail.

Bush portion:  From the top of the switch backs climb about 150 meters just to the left of an avi shoot.  From here cross the shoot start traversing in and try to hit a bit of a bench that will have some animal trails on it.  There will be openings and thinker sections, it seems easiest to trend up and hit the massive run out a little high at 1365 meters.  The 1.8km of bush offers a great place to practice some man yoga and stretch out before the big climb.

Congrats the bush whacking is pretty much done.

Gravel flats:  From the bush to the base of the climb is a very pleasant walk on flat ground and a nice break after the bushwhacking.  Following the opening on the run out you make your way to the main river and then head up the gravel on the first creek.  This creek brings you to the base of the main climb where you have to cross two more creeks to hit the critical entry point.  If the water is high instead of following the creek to the base of the climb you can head through the timber for an easier crossing on the second creek (largest). 

Base of climb - critical entry point:

Once you have crossed the 3rd creek you want to head along the face for about 100 meters and then start heading up the shrub covered weakness.  This is probably the most important section to get right. see below,

    There will be some thick but short lived bushwhacking at the start and then you come out onto a goat trail that will bring you up the left side of the drainage.  From the opening climb about 80 meters and then trend left and then up to the base of the cliff band.  There will be a weakness in the rock band shooting up left follow this to a patch of trees where you will see another weakness hooking hard right.  Follow this weakness to the drainage.  Once at the drainage you will see a hole carved out in the rock head up.  Its steep but with good grip you can smear your way up the rock or climb if need be.  You will come to a slot with a ridge trending left.  Gain this ridge and then you are pretty much in the clear as there are more options up high and its more of a general path.
 This has probably some of the more technical scrambling but you head up following weakness left and right until you get on top of the flats.  Follow the flats on the right and side of the creek until you get to where it starts climbing again.  From here head up right of the big rock outcrop for about 20 meters and then hook hard left following a beautiful smooth rock bench that brings you towards the final and biggest bench.
 Follow this bench all the way across to a moraine below the buttress.  Gain the moraine follow it up and then hook around to the left side of the buttress.  Its a steady scramble all the way up the spur above the buttress but nothing that exposed or difficult.

Once you gain the ridge there will be ample room left or right for a bivi.  Check between the snow and rocks for pools of water to avoid melting snow.  Now's time to feast the eyes for the day ahead.


  1. Wow. Great beta here. Thanks for all the work you did to put this together!

  2. Went up (and down) this way Sept 12-14 and it was great. Thanks for posting the helpful info here!

  3. Awesome! Happy to see the beta got you up and down. We just came back through that way and could see your tracks. Thanks for the cairns, I updated the kmz file but still need to go through there with a gps to get the detail need for the animal trail.

  4. Despite your excellent beta I was glad I had those cairns on the way the way down! It was probably either that or end up rapping off of trees at some point or other

    Is the animal trail you mentioned through the bush section? On the way out I was definitely on an animal trail for much of the bush and it was way easier than the trip in, seemed like it hovered between 1,300-1,360 or so elev. On the way in it was downright nasty without that trail.

  5. Awesome yah its in the bush section and its hard to hit, glad you hooked onto it. I have also been through there a number of times missing the trail. Been meaning to run a gps through there and leave a few ribbons or even better taking a chain saw and cleaning it up abit.

  6. thanks for the great info. would you mind emailing me the KMZ file? (

    really appreciate it

  7. Cool! Would be nice to have working link to KMZ file ( It's broken now. Thanks!

  8. wondering if you can send me the kmz file??



  9. hi Reiner, thanks for the great beta and work to clear and mark the trail!! We just returned from Robson area and are grateful for the work you've done back there.

    Have you tried the Patterson Couloir option from 2200m to 3000m to access the Dome? How much rockfall is there? Have you descended that way and did you have to rap, or is plunge-stepping possible?

    A few notes for others that might be interested;
    1) My partner and I are fit, but not skimo competition fit, plus we were coming from Calgary (6hr drive) so we broke the approach into 2 days to get to the Dome. This works well with a low bivi at about 2200m elevation. There are multiple spots to choose from along the big bench or in the moraines.
    2) No need to bivi on the Robson-Resplendent ridge (~3000m) if you are only intending to do Mt Resplendent. Mt Resplendent can be climbed comfortably in a day from the low bivi (~10hrs return).
    3) This approach route is probably more dangerous than Berg approach when on retreat/descent in wet or snowy weather. There are several scrambling sections that would have high consequence fall/run-out when wet and very few options for rapping due to compact rock with limited pro options or areas to sling rock. I suppose a few bolted rap stations would improve safety, but also destroy the more remote/adventurous feel of that valley.
    4) The 1st bushwhacking section from Kinney lake to about 1300m elevation is very well cleared and marked. However, the 2nd section up the headwall is much steeper and still quite thick/bushy. Its like swimming upstream to get through, so if anyone goes in there it would be great to bring a small hand saw and help clear a bit of the bush.