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Ichinen is New Early-Seaon WI5+R M4 in Rockies

The route formed in the late 1990s, but hasn't formed this fat in decades

Photo by: Toshiyuki Yamada

Ichinen WI5+R M4 is a new three-pitch 130-metre mixed route on the Storm Creek Headwall on Highway 93 South in the Canadian Rockies. It was climbed by Takeshi Tani and Toshiyuki Yamada on Oct. 25.

The thin route is one of those ice/mixed climbs that has slightly formed in the past to varying thicknesses. Many climbers have scoped it in the past, including Canmore guide Sean Isaac and the late David Thomson in 1998.

Canmore locals Dylan Cunningham and Jim Elzinga ran into Tani and Yamada in the parking area before heading in to climb Buddha Nature on the Storm Creek Headwall proper. The area has been getting a lot of attention this week with a number of potential new routes being climbed this week.

Approach to Ichinen is the same as Storm Creek Headwall from the parking lot. Keep following the fire-break slope until a grey rock-band. Traverse climber’s right and up the next slope to get base of wall. It takes around 90 minutes in fall snow conditions.

The first pitch is a WI5+R climbed in 25 metres. “Climb delicate and very thin ice that is worse than it looks,” said Yamada. “Used mostly stubbies.”

The second pitch is a 60-metre WI4 that traverses left and up a corner. The third pitch follows a 45-metre M4 corner. They rappelled from boulders and threads.

Ichinen mean’s “with a determined purpose” and is the name of a Japanese restaurant in Calgary, which Yamada says has the best ramen noodles in the area.

Ichinen Photo Toshiyuki Yamada
Lead photo: Toshiyuki Yamada