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Ikiru is New Mixed Climb on Storm Creek Headwall

New 2018 Storm Creek route: Ikiru M7+ WI5+ 160m Photo Niall Hamill

It’s been a long and cold winter in the Canadian Rockies and climbers are still taking advantage of the great ice and mixed conditions.

Niall Hamill, Jeremy Regato and Paul Taylor have established the new Ikiru, a 160-metre M7+ WI5+ on the Storm Creek Headwall on the Radium Highway south of the Trans Canada east of Lake Louise.

“Ikiru is a Japanese verb which means ‘to live,'” said Hamill. It was opened on Feb. 22 by Hamill and Regato and climbed to the top three days later on the 25th by Hamill and Taylor.

“The area hosts some quality mixed lines, reminiscent of routes on it’s more well-travelled neighbour, the Stanley Headwall,” said Hamill.

“The line is not visible from the road and requires a two- to three-hour ski.”

The first ascent required “screws, 12 alpine draws including one or two double-shoulder-length (extend all pro on pitch-three), two to three peckers and a single rack of cams from 0.2-#3 (optional #4) and a #1 and #2 can be omitted, as well as wires, although medium to large offsets may be useful for some odd constrictions.”

Paul Taylor on the first ascent Photo Niall Hamill

The pitches are broken down to a 50-metre WI3R, a 30-mere WI5, a a 25-metre M7+, a 15-metre M7 and a final 40-metre WI5+.

The crux third-pitch is described as: “Traverse right from the anchor and up the obvious groove on rotten orange rock to a high first bolt at 20 feet. Optional #4 cam at 10 feet.

“Tension yourself up the groove/chimney with insecure points and scratchy hooks in the kitty litter of the groove, while clipping bolts on the left.

“Make a tricky exit move from the chimney, clip a double-length runner which protects the cryptic rightward slab traverse that guards the thin seam leading through the roof. Belay at a small stance above the roof on bolts.”

Click to play clip from Hamill on the top of an “M5” pitch.

To access Storm Creek Headwall, park at the Stanley Glacier parking area and then walk back up the road to the open dead-fall slope. Cross the creek and hike/ski up to a wide path.

Follow it to the creek and to the creek/drainage and eventually the Headwall. There are a number of pure ice routes and big mixed climbs.

If you’re looking for some motivation to get on on the route, Hamill said, “I’m offering beers at Georgetown to the first individual or party who can onsight the crux pitch.”

There are never any lines at the base of the routes.