Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:31 am Posts: 92 Location: Tokyo/Japan
It may be May already and most of the resorts in Japan are closed, but that is no reason to hang it up if you're willing to hike a bit. This year we decided to make another trip to Yarigatake in the Kamikochi National Park in Nagano, but this time with our splitboards. Weather was a bit iffy, there was a cold-front on Monday nite/Tuesday, but it looked manageable. It was our first time carrying that much weight so weren't sure about the pace, plan was to stop at Yarisawa lodge (around 14km) if the going was slow, or go for the summit if our legs were feeling good for another 4-5 hours.
May 10, Day 1: Hike up to Yarigatake
Tuesday morning 6:43, monkee at the gate
About 11 km in. From here we can either go to the Karasawa Valley or continue on the Yarisawa, which is about a 3 hour-hike up from here. Later we heard from a skier on the way back that it snowed 30cm last night, and there was some pretty nice lines to be had there. The Karasawa valley is another great classic area for BC riding, we will definitely make a visit there next season.
First sighting of Yari, that small triangle in the middle.
After passing Yarisawa Lodge, finally made it to old campsite and was able to use our skins in ski-mode.
Snow here was pretty variable, much of it mushy with some pockets of ice.
After slipping and falling about 5x decide to boot it up
After dinner, hanging out for the last shot of the day..
Continued: May 11, Day 2 and Descent
Wed morning 7:26.
After an early breakfast most everyone else at the hut went on their way, but the snow was still pretty icy so had some time to kill. Perfect time to climb Hosaki, the actual peak of Yari.
At the peak after about 30 minutes. 3180 meters. Really incredible views all around.
Scoping out some possible lines with the lodge staff. Hiking up this neighboring peak opens up lots of options - there is a really nice line, steep and long taking you to Haimatsu, or you can traverse a bit and ride all the way past Karasawa. The face on this side also looks sweet, but there were several cracks already starting to appear mid-way. Or, you could ride the Hidasawa-route on the backside of Yarigatake, eventually reaching Shin-Hodaka.
In the end we decide on the most standard route, since it's our first time here. We would drop in just below the hut.
Obligatory stand-with-the-board shot and strapping in
10:40 - 11:03
Snow was variable but fun. This is what we had dreamed about for all those years...
Total vert we rode was probably around 1000m or so.
Time to catch our breath, pack up and hike out 16km or so. I think next time it would be ideal to bring along some lighter-weight boards, our current splits are nice but this time we spent most of the time carrying them on our backs. Also, it is probably best to make this trip right before the Golden Week holidays in early May - there is more snow and the lines are longer. Anyway, all in all we had a great time.
SWEET! I love the photo with the monkey in it too. Looks like many great lines to be had and a wonderful trip. How is the stay in the hut? Love to see our brothers and sisters tearin' it worldwide! Amazing.