Hiking Mt. hotaka

29-31 August 2010

Since August 30th I can say that I clibed the 5 highest mountains of Japan! Here is the list:

in meters
Blog Post
1富士山FujisanMount Fuji3,77624 (up & down)
2北岳KitadakeMount Kita3,19340
3奥穂高岳OkuhotakadakeMount Okuhotaka3,19042 (this post)
4間ノ岳AinodakeMount Aino3,18940
5槍ヶ岳YarigadakeMount Yari3,18025 (pt. 1 & pt. 2)

Here is a list of Japan's mountains by height [Wiki]., in the Japanese version there are even pictures of the mountains! According to the list, nr. 6 is 悪沢岳(荒川東岳) Mt. Warusawa (Arakawahigashidake), with a still respectable height of 3,141m. However, I was told that this mountain is relatively difficult to access, so maybe I climb some others first.

Because of full mountain huts in the August weekends and because night trains and buses are not my favorite place to sleep, we left Tōkyō with the earliest express train for Matsumoto. After changing trains in Matsumoto and finally taking a bus into the national park, we arrived in Kamikōchi around noon. After I helped a foreigner reserving a bus to Takayama and after we finished our lunch, we went on our way.

Kamikōchi is a tourist spot in the national park, with lots of tour buses and huge crowds at the most sceneic spots in the highlands along the river (such as on the kappabashi here)

And yeah, the view from the bridge is nice, and only at a 5-10min, level walk from the carpark.

When you enter the hiking route, suddenly all those crowds are gone... magic!

This is a place along the route called 天然クーラー (tennen ku-ra- = natural cooler). Cool wind blows from between the rocks here. It is the outlet of a cave network, and somewhere on the other side of the mountain wind blows in. When we were there, it was about 12°C according to the thermometer installed there, against at least double that temperature at the rest of the track.

[HDR] About 1.5 hour later we arrived at the mountain hut at 2150m. Although it had been only 2.5 hours hiking, we were pretty tired. It was steep, and above all, very hot. Actually, this summer is said to be the hottest in the records of the Japanese meteorological agency, and we had so called "nice weather".

The "dakesawa hütte"

[HDR] Sunrise over the Kamikōchi valley. Day 2 was another steep climb, further to the top, and then a steep descent. Luckily we climbed the south-west side of the mountain, so we were mostly in the shade during our way up.

This is the start of a short hiking course (about 30min up, 20min down) to the top of "Maehotakadake", which is another peak in the hotaka range. We wanted to go on quickly, because the weather was still good, but clouds and rain were expected, and we wouldn't like them to spoil our view from the top of the Okuhodaka peak.

Karasawa valley with two mountain huts (red roofs), we would sleep in the right one (Karasawa hütte) that night, although we hadn't decided that yet at the time I took this picture.

The climb contained several parts where ladders or chains were installed on the steepest parts to help you climb up.

The top of Mt. Okuhotaka! The 3rd highest mountain of Japan!

Yarigadake, which I climbed before, but never saw... (it was really bad weather then, with dense fog.)

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