1267 maal bekeken, 13 maal gedownload
nabij Kokkai, Yamanashi (Japan)
3 hours on the road and we got to Michinoeki Kobuchizawa. We pitched a tent, my tent: lightweight 3-season tent for 3 persons with mesh fabric, in other words anything but suitable for winter. It was somewhere near -5 and -10 degrees. I realized my preparation was light when I saw Y-san's sleeping bag, it must have been 3 times bigger than mine. Anyway with tent shoes, 2 pairs of socks, down jacket etc. I thought I was going to be fine. It turns out I was cold and didn't really sleep. I realized later that my sleeping bag is a summer model capable to handle+5 degrees as a limit.
We woke up at 4:00 AM and drove to the end of the road near 天女山, there is almost no snow there but the last 2km to the parking lot is closed. I saw a trail a few meters away from the car so without much thinking started to follow it, when it got too wide my brain finally kicked in and I remembered one had to pass the gate to find the right trail. A few minutes later we were on the right track and since it was still dark when we got to 天女山 we went on to a clearing slightly above to take pictures of the irridescent sky shortly before sunrise. I hadn't checked the time of the sunrise so I didn't wait for it and we kept going a while, fortunately we soon reached another clearing and had a nice view just a few moments after the sun appeared above lower mountains. The sky was mostly gray and the timing was good for sunrise because a few minutes later we couldn't have seen it.
Shortly it started snowing but there was absolutely no wind and it felt warmer than -10 degrees. During the first half, a moderate slope passes trough big trees with progressively more snow covering them. We followed dear tracks conveniently indicating the trail. From 5 cm of piled snow at the bottom it progressively increased to 20 cm of light and dry powder, barely affecting the pace. The last section toward 前三ッ頭 is steeper and the snow deeper Y-san started to lag behind so I decreased the pace. The sky turned to blue while it was still snowing and I was glad to take pictures at that time.
Once getting to 前三ッ頭 we were surprised there was still no wind at all, on the ridge the shape of the packed snow on trees had an almost horizontal direction. That indicates strong winds, yet we will have to come back another day to feel that strong wind. The snow stopped but the skies very totally cleared. Before leaving we met a Kamoshika, barely 20 meters from us. We reached 三ッ頭 shortly later, passing through clusters of trees and few exposed stretches. At the summit we got sight of our objective of the say: Gongendake. Akadake could be seen partly through the clouds in the background (I would go there 2 days later: http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=8420026 ). We stored the poles in exchange for the ice axe, otherwise it would really have been just a stroll in the woods. The ice axe was not necessary until the last few hundred meters. The snow was deep, it got above knee level. We met another Kamoshika, this time I got so close it wouldn't fit entirely in the frame with 7.5x zoom, I had to ask him explicitly to let us pass...
Unfortunately when it started to get interesting the weather became thicker and about the same time Y-san signalled to me to keep going alone. I expected to find the small traverse we passed in January but I could never find it, this time it was a very easy slope and ropes could be excavated as parts were still not entirely burrowed. The last 50 meters finally were partly iced in and I was glad to put on my crampons, although there was then nothing to see due to thick clouds I safely made it to the summit, almost sweating due to this wind-free weather.
We went down the same trail and it kept on snowing lightly the whole way.
Overall it was a relatively easy climb, with just the top part requiring crampons and ice axe and some snow brushing with both arms to clear the way.
More pictures here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/if2obh84kzf63j0/AACfmR5yTzCnggGmUgOkQl1xa?dl=0