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Kogarashi: New Alpine Route on Northeast Face of Rockies’ Storm Mountain

Yamada Toshiyuki and Takeshi Tani have spent that last month alpine climbing in the Canadian Rockies and finished things off with a new route on Storm Mountain 3,191 metres.

Toshiyuki looks up at the northeast face of Storm Mountain. His and Tani’s route takes the right-hand line and the 1988 route goes up the major route left of centre.  Photo Takeshi Tani

Toshiyuki and Tani climbed their new route up the northeast face of Storm Mountain this past weekend. They named it Kogarashi, which means a little storm in Japanese, and graded it WI4 5.6 350 metres.

“We took six hours from the base to the top,” said Tani. “It wasn’t too hard; the easiest looking line on the wall.”

Toshiyuki and Tani climbed Mount Chephren’s The Wild Thing  M7 WI5 1,300 metres near the end of April and the Greenwood/Lock M6 1,200 metres on Mount Temple two weeks ago.

“We’ve completes our climbing project within one month,” said Tani. “We had good times on Chephren and Temple and climbed a new route on Storm. I am very proud of our effort.”

Storm Mountain
Storm Mountain Routes: East Ridge (yellow), Thomas/Wallator (black), Kogarashi (red), North Ridge (green) Photo Tani

The first route up the northeast face of Storm Mountain was climbed in 1988 by Ken Wallator and Tom Thomas at a grade of 5.9 A3. The pair spent four days on the face and had three bivies of which the last one was partially hanging. The middle section involved six pitches of hard climbing up to A3 and finished up thin mixed climbing.

The Thomas/Wallator route has never been repeated and in 2011, Wallator issued a reward for anyone who made the second ascent. “Hey, message from Ken here. If anybody repeats my and Tom Thomas’ route on the northeast face of Storm Mountain, I will personally buy you a new rope of your choice.” Check it out here.

There is no history of anyone climbing the line Kogarashi follows. The only other known attempt on the northeast face was by Raphael Slawinski and partner. This is likely because the approach is quite long, even by Rockies’ standards. There have been a number of pure waterfall ice and winter mixed routes climbed on the walls that lead to the north ridge and there is a scramble up the southwest slopes.

Storm Mountain is on the continental divide in the Bow River Valley across from Castle Mountain. Its summit is on the border of Kootenay and Banff National Parks and therefore Alberta-British Columbia. The mountain was named by George Dawson in 1884 after witnessing a number of storm clouds on its summit.

Photos from Kogarashi by Takeshi Tani:

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