Storm Mountain (Banff), not to be confused with a mountain of the same name in Kananaskis, is an objective that can be scrambled or skied from the southwest, climbed up the east ridge (Alpine III 5.6) or climbed via one of the consistently challenging mixed routes in Banff National Park, the North-East Face (Alpine V 5.9 A3).
Storm Mountain is located on the continental divide in the Bow River Valley opposite Castle Mountain. Its summit lies on the border of Kootenay and Banff National Parks and thus Alberta-British Columbia. It was named in 1884 and first ascended in 1889 by Drewry and Wilson. There are two Storm Mountains within 100 km of each other named by the same man for the same reason! Storm Mountain is normally covered in clouds as storms move across the Divide. They are also practically the same height, however, this Storm Mountain definitely serves as a better postcard. I have been to both summits. I warn you now, I have few photos as I was under objectionable hazard pressure for most of my summit day.
Banff National Park is one of four connecting National Parks in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. The Trans-Canada Highway dissects Banff National Park east to west as you come in from Calgary. Bypass the Banff town exits and proceed to the Castle Junction Exit on Highway 93. Head southwest through the unmanned gates (this road is subject to periodic closures). Dependant on which route you do, will determine where you park off of Highway 93.
You will be required to purchase a national park pass as you enter the park. This pass is good for all four national parks. If you plan many visits to Canadian National Parks within one year, you should purchase an annual pass. There are no permit requirements to climb in Banff or Kootenay National Parks, but all camping is regulated. There is also a backcountry permit required if you plan on spending a night in the backcountry versus the town campsites. This can be obtained via the parks website which is included in the camping section below. National Park headquarters are located in Banff and you will drive through the manned kiosks as you enter the park.
This is active grizzly country, therefore, you should always have bear spray on your person. I have crossed paths with a black bear sow and her cub on Vermillion just west of Storm.
When To Climb
Due to the mixed climbing option and skiing option, you can ascend Storm Mountain any time of the year. Keep in mind its name however. I skied to the summit in April. All three books contained on this page have published route information for Storm.
You can go on line at Banff National Park
to pick your camp site and obtain your camping permit. The closest camping is back at Castle Junction at Castle Meadows. There is also the Castle Mountain Hostel
at that junction.
Mountain ConditionsBanff National Park’s website
has weather, wildlife reports, trail closures, etc. Outside of the parks web site, Canadian Avalanche Association
is also useful, particularly for winter travel.
East Ridge III 5.6
The most prominent line on the mountain, and apart from the stagger up the talus slopes on the N ridge, it is the most popular route on the mountain. There may be snow on the upper parts of the climb and an ice axe and crampons may be necessary.
North-East Face V 5.9 A3
This was a fine first ascent of a difficult route in winter by two young alpinists over four days. Between the E ridge and the N ridge of the mountain lies the NE face with a prominent gully running up the lower half of it. The route follows the gully, then negotiates the rock band above via some difficult climbing.
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