• The Bugaboo Spire climb team in early 1900s dress

    The Bugaboo Spire Centennial Climb team dressed in the latest outdoor fashions from 1916 and loaded with provisions. Left to right: Rob LeBlanc, Natalia Danalachi, Garry Reiss and Bryan Thompson. (Photo: Ivan Petrov/Hobnails and Hemp Rope)

  • A glimpse of the Hound's Tooth through the trees

    The team gets their first glimpse of the Hound's Tooth, ­one of many strikingly beautiful granite spires that make up the mountain group known as the Bugaboos. It is from the base of this valley that on August 29, 1916 Conrad Kain, accompanied by Albert and Beth MacCarthy and John Vincent, started his legendary first ascent of Bugaboo Spire. (Photo: Ivan Petrov/Hobnails and Hemp Rope)

  • The unforgettable setting of the Applebee campground, perched high above the Alpine Club of Canada's Conrad Kain Hut, served as the base camp for our ascent of Bugaboo Spire

    The unforgettable setting of the Applebee campground, perched high above the Alpine Club of Canada's Conrad Kain Hut, served as the base camp for our ascent of Bugaboo Spire and is a popular starting point for many climbs in the area. It is a hidden but relatively accessible alpine paradise for anyone willing to attempt a moderately challenging three- to five-hour hike, depending on your level of fitness and the weight of your load. (Photo: Ivan Petrov/Hobnails and Hemp Rope)

  • Watching a pot of goat stew from the comfort of the canvass tent

    As evening sets in, Bryan Thompson peeks out from the spartan comfort of the canvas tent to keep an eye on a century­-old kerosene stove and a pot of highly-anticipated goat stew. The goal of the Bugaboo Spire Centennial Climb Project was to come as close as possible to experiencing what it was like to mount an alpine expedition 100 years ago. That included cooking the same food that would have been available at that time. (Photo: Ivan Petrov/Hobnails and Hemp Rope)

  • Rob LeBlanc, Garry Reiss and Natalia Danalachi settle down for a cold night before their first summit attempt

    One of the most tense and challenging moments of the expedition: Rob LeBlanc (left), Garry Reiss and Natalia Danalachi settle down for a cold night before their first summit attempt. The circumstances of the recreated century­-old camp forced the team to eat a cold dinner and to put up with the rain seeping underneath their wool blankets. Overcoming the many challenges of the expedition forged a much deeper bond between us. (Photo: Ivan Petrov/Hobnails and Hemp Rope)

  • The team on the day of the first summit attempt

    On the day of the first summit attempt the team had to wake up at 3:30 a.m. to allow extra time for unexpected delays associated with the novelty of using century­-old mountaineering axes and hobnail boots, as well as to accommodate the process of thoroughly documenting the adventure on film and in photographs. (Photo: Ivan Petrov/Hobnails and Hemp Rope)

  • Garry Reiss as Conrad Kain

    Assuming the role of Conrad Kain, Garry Reiss leads the team on its first of two summit bids on Bugaboo Spire on July 10. Blessed with a picture­-perfect day, the climbers got to fully appreciate the magnitude of the mountain landscape that surrounded them. To minimize the risks involved in this expedition, the team included a professional mountain guide who was very familiar with the terrain and the unpredictable weather patterns of the Bugaboos. (Photo: Ivan Petrov/Hobnails and Hemp Rope)

  • A closeup of the replica hobnail boots used by the mountaineers

    Expedition leader Bryan Thompson pauses during his ascent of Bugaboo Spire to enjoy the view of the Kootenay Rockies to the east. Four replica pairs of hobnail boots with tricouni edge nails similar to those used by Conrad Kain in 1916 were custom made in New Zealand for the 2016 expedition team. (Photo: Ivan Petrov/Hobnails and Hemp Rope)

  • Garry Reiss leads a more technical pitch of the first ascent route that follows the south ridge of Bugaboo Spire

    One of the defining moments when the team came the closest to experiencing what it was actually like to climb with nothing but a pair of hobnail boots and a hemp rope tied around their waist. Garry Reiss leads a more technical pitch of the first ascent route that follows the south ridge of Bugaboo Spire. Modern ropes, helmets and protective gear had to be used above this point to ensure the safety of all climbers. (Photo: Ivan Petrov/Hobnails and Hemp Rope)

  • A bouquet of glacier lilies stands gracefully against the striking backdrop of the Hound's Tooth rising high from the Bugaboo Glacier

    A bouquet of yellow columbines stands gracefully against the striking backdrop of the Hound's Tooth rising high from the Bugaboo Glacier. Conrad Kain, like many mountaineers, had a special appreciation not only for the high summits but also for all the little things in nature that form the fragile alpine environment. (Photo: Ivan Petrov/Hobnails and Hemp Rope)

  • Natalia Danalachi and Rob LeBlanc attain the summit of Bugaboo Spire

    Natalia Danalachi and Rob LeBlanc attain the summit of Bugaboo Spire on July 14 at approximately 12:50 p.m. It is somewhat symbolic that the pair were cast in the roles of Bess and Albert MacCarthy, two equally strong mountaineers in Conrad Kain's first ascent party who went on to scale many more peaks together as life­long friends. (Photo: Ivan Petrov/Hobnails and Hemp Rope)

  • Expedition leader Bryan Thompson takes a break to enjoy the view during the second summit bid

    Expedition leader Bryan Thompson takes a break to enjoy the view during the second summit bid. The pure pleasure of being one with the mountain is an unforgettable experience that transcends time and is the essence of what mountaineers live for. (Photo: Ivan Petrov/Hobnails and Hemp Rope)

  • Garry Reiss uses an old­-fashioned waist belay technique

    Garry Reiss uses an old­-fashioned waist belay technique after the team decides it's time to turn around due to signs of thunderstorm clouds in the distance. On a mountain expedition, the descent is just as important as the initial ascent. Despite being left out of many eloquent tales of alpine adventures, it is the descent that often poses the greatest risks: forgetfulness and poor judgement associated with fatigue, risk of afternoon thunderstorms and high winds, and inability to set or execute a realistic turaround time ­can all place climbers in grave peril. (Photo: Ivan Petrov/Hobnails and Hemp Rope)

To celebrate and honour Conrad Kain, one of Canada's most prominent mountain explorers and guides, a group of mountaineers from the Toronto chapter of the Alpine Club of Canada set out to re-enact Kain's legendary 1916 ascent of the Bugaboo Spire in British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains.

Bryan Thompson, Natalia Danalachi, Garry Reiss and Rob LeBlanc spent over a week in the Bugaboos this summer and experienced first-hand what it was like to climb, camp, dress, and even eat like Kain's climbing party did a century ago. Sponsored by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and supported by a logistics team that included myself, the expedition was thoroughly documented in photographs and on film. A 25-minute documentary titled Hobnails and Hemp Rope is expected to premiere later this fall, followed by a photography exhibition opening November 23 at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alta.

Check out a preview of the exhibition above and follow the Hobnails and Hemp Rope project on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for future updates.