Hiking the South Alps
(Kitadake + Ainodake)

5-7 September 2009

When it comes to climbing mountains in the Japanese Alps, I seem to be "tyfū-otoko". Rather than "ame-otoko"(rain-boy) or "hare-otoko"(shine-boy), I appear to attrackt tyfoons... The first year we ended up at Mt. Yari-ga-dake in the fog, and we had to short-cut our return route because of dangerous weather (Photo Post 25, part 1 & part 2). Since then, every time I go hiking in the Japanese Alps with Naruoka-kun, we have to cancel or postpone our plans due to a tyfoon, or there is a tyfoon nearby (causing a rain front) or one day before or after our hike. I have to say that I never had such problems in the Swiss Alps, neither did Naruoka-kun have it before I joined...

Also this year, we had to postpone our plans, so we finally went early september. Perfect weather. Not too hot. somewhat foggy at the top, so not much of a view, but nice for hiking. The day after we got safely back to Tōkyō the tyfoon came over the South Alps :-)

This year's hike was to Kitadake ("North Peak", of the South Alps, that is...). This is Japan's second highest mountain (3193m) after Mt. Fuji (3776m), and actually not many Japanese people know this. The route we hiked also went over Japan's 4th highest peak, Mt. Ai-no-dake (3189m). List of Japan's mountains by height [Wiki].

At the top of Kita-dake. I got some trouble, probably due to a combination of hard work/stress during the previous weeks, little sleep as we took a night train and "slept" a few hours at the station, and altitude sickness.

[HDR] Nice sunrise from the mountain lodge. At one moment we could even see a glimpse of Mt. Fuji in the distance.

Waking up the next morning I felt better, but after 30min walking I didn't feel that confident anymore as problems seemd to come back. Luckily, everything was ok after walking 2 hours or so.

This is Japan's 4th highest peak "Ai-no-Dake", conveniently located along the trail. In the back is Mt. Kitadake (as the arrow points out)

Sunrise with Mt. Fuji on the third hiking day.

Several improvised wooden bridges formed a challenge on the last part of the hike (end of the 2nd day and 3rd day). Especially with tired, somewhat unstable legs and heavy backpacks, it required focussing and consentration.

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