Just north of Brisco, placed on a viewpoint pullout to the west, The Conrad Kain Centennial Society has planted the Conrad Kain interpretive sign to celebrate Canada’s premiere historic mountain guide. This time, mountaineer Conrad Kain, who was based in Wilmer until his death in 1934, shares the stage with a Catholic nun.
Sister Ethelbert (nee Marie-Madeleine Newlen) was a member of the Order of the Sisters of Providence who visited the upper Columbia in 1894 on behalf of the Saint Mary’s Hospital in New Westminster. Her mission, as with many previous in other parts of B.C., was to raise money for the support of the hospital. She traveled up the river from Golden on Captain Armstrong’s sternwheeler and died in New Westminster soon after the arduous journey. Captain Armstrong subsequently named the prominent 3176-m mountain within sight of the Columbia river and Highway 95 in her honor. Conrad Kain led a party on the first ascent of the mountain in 1915.
Next time you’re headed up the valley, keep an eye out for the Conrad Kain interpretive sign. Right at that spot, through a gap in the trees, Mt Ethelbert and other peaks can be identified with the help of a panoramic photo on the sign. CKCS member and author Brian Patton wrote the text, Frank Purschwitz created the design, and Hermann Mauthner built the sign superstructure from locally sourced wood. While you’re there, you can also read the interpretive text on an existing Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners sign.
For more information, contact chairman of Conrad Kain Centennial Society, Pat Morrow, at firstname.lastname@example.org.