876 maal bekeken, 21 maal gedownload
nabij Nakasaki, Gifu (Japan)
A night spent under the tent with moderately strong winds and rain, the weather had considerably improved as we rose at 2:30 AM.
Around us the many tents were bustling with activity as we departed with light backpack shortly before sunrise. A handful of climbers preceded us in the ascent towards Hotaka hut, and a crowd followed in our tracks.
Clouds obstructed the sky and blocked sunrise, the snow was almost as hard as soft ice and good traction easily obtained with the crampons while it was hard to drive the ice axe more than a couple of centimeters at best in the hard medium.
The slope increased almost exponentially to a degree requiring front pointing for security as flat footing became impractical. It leveled down to a more reasonable slope in the final 50 meters.
A fresh breeze blew on the ridge and I donned my jacket while waiting for the rest of our group I had passed in the ascent.
The ridge was partly free of snow but loose rocks being a hazard we had to go up 2 very steep snow/ice sections. The wind meter read 6 m/s sustained and gusts around 10 to 12 m/s while the weather cleared and progressively dark blue conquered the sky bit by bit until clouds were just remote and tiny in the distance.
We took turns with other group to take pictures in front of Oku Hotaka summit, after a rather long rest with warm weather and even the luxury to listen to a couple playing musicc for a few minutes we started to go back the same way surrounded with lighter landscapes.
We negotiated the snow walls and secured T-san with the rope while the rest of us unclimbed unprotected.
When we returned to the hut there had been an accident and 2 climbers had slid to their death on the snow face between the camp field and Hotaka hut.
I gave up the idea to slide down, partly because the mountain police was advising for caution after the accident, partly because the sheer slope was all too impressive.
Under a blazing sun the snow had considerably softened, making each step more slippery. I unclimbed my way down a good 150 vertical meter showing the ice axe shaft 50 cm deep every other step for security.
Back at the tent we packed out gear and had as much of it dried under the strong sun and started the slow descent to Yokoo with snow first that progressively turned to slosh, water puddles and dry dirt.
From Yokoo to Kamikochi bridge 3h05 map time, we walked separately. I only paused for a few pictures and got to Kappabashi bridge in 1h48, passing many hikers and more tourists on my way. I-san reached me 30 minuted later and the last two 55 minutes after me, too late for the Kamikochi ice cream, which was excellent.
Overall a great day, the final of a series of 4 days of mountaineering in the Kita Alps.
More pictures here: