このブログを検索

2016-07-16

2016年7月24日~27日 日本北アルプス表銀座縦走 Trekking across peaks of Japan Northern Alps

Mt. Yarigatake, momentarily revealing its triangular peak @ Nishidake
去年の夏、北アルプス表銀座ルートを、燕岳から槍ヶ岳へ縦走した40年ぶりの再訪は感動的であった。今回は、ほぼ同じルートを台湾の山仲間と訪れた。今年の梅雨明けは遅く、天候は雨の日もあったが全員無事に予定のコースを終了した。ルートそのものは前回と同じなので、英語で記述します。

=====================================

At the summit of Mt. Yarigatake
Mt. Yarigatake (槍ヶ岳), the 5th highest peak of Japan and with its pointing pinnacle, is one of the mountains that no Japanese hikers and climbers have not heard of. It is located near Kamikouchi (上高地), where all Japanese alpinism started more than a century and a half ago. One of the main water streams originating from Mt. Yarigatake, Yarisawa (槍澤) and its lower section called Azusagawa (梓川) flows through Kamikouchi, which presents a tranquil and beautiful scenery of its kind.

At the trail head on the first day
I visited Mt. Yarigatake all the way from Mt. Tsubakuro (燕岳), hiking over peaks of so called Omoteginza (表銀座) route last year. My hiker friends hoped to go over Mt. Yarigatake and I visited again almost by the identical route with them this time. Nine of us including me spent four days to cover the entire course.

The route of four-day trekking
Elevation profile of the four-day entire course
We stayed at the foot of Mt. Tsubakuro on the day before our trekking. On the first day, we went up via Gassenone (合戰屋根) route, ascending 1300 meters, to Enzansou (燕山莊) lodge on the main ridge of Mt. Tsubakuro and made a round trip to its peak. We then follow the ridge Omoteginza route, passing over a few peaks, to Daitensou (大天莊) lodge and stayed a first night. We kept on the Omoteginza route on the second day and via. Higashikamaone (東鎌屋根) went up to Yarigatakesannsou (槍岳山莊) lodge. On the third day we first made a round trip up to the summit of Mt. Yarigatake and then descended all the way to Myoujinike (明神池) at the tip of Kamikouchi and stayed at Kamonjigoya (嘉門次小屋) lodge for the third night. We walked all through Kamikouchi, enjoying the last day of light rambling, and went back to Tokyo.

----------------------------------------------
July 25, the 1st day

Walk from Ariakesou to Daitensou
Elevation profile
It is a little after 5:00 in the morning. We are just at the gate of Ariakesou (有明莊) hot spring lodge, which is located at the foot of Mt. Tubakuro, and about to commence our four-day trekking over to Mt. Yarigatake with quiet excitement and a bit of worry for the long way ahead.

Ariakesou lodge
We came over to this lodge yesterday afternoon. Three out of the nine members for this trip just arrived very early in the morning from Taipei by a midnight flight to Narita and came all the way to here with me. Some members were already in Japan, two of whom joined the trip to Northern Yatugatake (北八ヶ岳) immediately before this trip and joined us on our way up here. We spent a night in Japanese traditional rooms and had good bathing in a hot spring of the lodge. The dinner was excellent and enjoyable last evening. We got up at 4:00 this morning and ate breakfast packed in a box that was prepared by the lodge for early birds like us.

A room in Ariakesou
Dinner at Ariakesou
Breakfast
The sky above us between the narrow valley is clear, which we hope to last long. We first step on the paved road which leads to the trail head at Nakabusa Onsen (中房溫泉). The winding road takes us to the trail head in a matter of 10 minutes. It is still before 5:30 and there are a few hikers besides us. The elevation is 1462m here and we will ascend 1300 meters to get to the Enzansou lodge on the main ridge.

Resting at the first bench
Constant climb in the woods
We place a first step on the Gassenone trail at 5:30. The trail is wide and easy to walk on. Though this is counted as one of the three steepest trail in the Northern Alps area, it is a popular route and we come across many hikers on the way. Resting places called bench areas are built along the way, almost at a half-hour walk apart. We struggle the first half hour and come to the first bench, which is at one kilometer from the trail head and another four and half kilometers to go. There is an only water supply point on this route here.

A peak in the distance,  Mt. Daitenshoudake
Third bench area, a halway point to Enzansou lodge
We resume our walk and keep going up. The trail is a constant uphill and sometime goes zigzag. At 6:32 we reach at the second bench and have some rest. On such an ascending trail, it is a good practice to have a periodic break every thirty minutes or so. Just before the third bench we go by an open section where we can see a peak on the main ridge in a far distance. It is really encouraging and makes us forget this hardship of climb for a while.

Granite rocks show up
While we are resting, a family with a girl of five or six years old passes us. Thre are many family hikers around in Japan. We reach the forth bench called Fujimi (富士見)  bench at 7:43. The higher we go the more descending hikers we come across. As we get closer to Gassengoya (合戰小屋) hut, we see more white granite rocks on the trail and around, which is unique to Mt. Tsubakuro. At 8:18 we reach the hut and we have a long rest. They sell water melons at the hut, which is a well-know refreshment here. Some members are already enjoying sweet melons. There a commodity ropeway up to here and water melons are carried up by it.

At Gassengoya hut
Last section  of the trail to Enzansou lodge
After twenty minutes of rest, we start up again to make the final ascent of 1.7km. We soon come out of the forest limit and bushes around are now much lower. At 8:56 we pass the triangular maker of Mt. Gassensawanokashira (合戰), and keep on the trail of the sub ridge from Enzansou. Fog sets in now and we can no longer have a view. We finally see the Enzansou lodge up in mist at 9:33. When we come on to the ridge, the other side of it is, to our happy surprise, still clear and we can see peaks across the deep valley. On further left of the peaks, we can barely make out our main destination, Mt. Yarigatake, of which pointing pinnacle is almost covered with cloud.

Other side is still clear and peaks are visible across the valley
Mt. Yarigatake, with its top in cloud
Meganeiwa (Rock of spectacles) 
We leave our heavy backpack at Enzansou lodge and head for the peak of Mt. Tsubakuro at 10:00. The round shaped peak of Mt. Tsubakuro is now in thick mist and disappointingly invisible. We walk on white sand, which come from granite rocks of this mountain as a result of constant erosion. We soon go into mist and the visibility gets very low. Shakunage (石楠花) is still in bloom and we can see its white flowers by the trail. We pass by Maganeiwa (眼鏡岩), a huge chunk of rock with two holes on its center and reach the summit (elevation 2763m) at 10:27. A few minutes of rest, we return to Enzansou lodge. On the way back, we notice pink flowers of Komakusa (駒草), the queen of high altitude vegetation, here and there on the white sand by the trail.

At the peak of Mt. Tsubakurodake
Sakunage
Komakusa
Raichou
We have an early lunch by Enzansou lodge and start for Daitensou lodge, the destination of today, at 11:30. The trail goes on the main ridge. If the sky were clear, we could watch Mt. Yarigatake in the distance while rambling on it. We come across a Raichou bird (雷鳥, grouse), which is very cautious and comes out only in such a foggy day as today. They are a rear and endangered species and live only in this area and a few other areas of high mountains in Japan. At 12:30 we pass between the twin rock towers (Kaeruiwa 蛙岩), which marks the end of Mt. Tsubakuro area.

Kaeruiwa, the rock
Going down Ohkudari (big descent)
Climb down the ladder to Kiridoushi
After a short rest by the rock towers we continue on the ridge and come to Ohkudari no Kashira (大下の頭), where a long descent begins. In about 15 minutes we hit the bottom and a short uphill sets in. At 14:10 a wooden ladder shows up before a gap and we climb down on it. A relief image of Kobayashi Kisaku (小林喜作) who opened the Omoteginza trail in 1920s is placed on the surface of a huge rock besides the trail. This place is called Kiridoushi (切通し), the lowest point before ascending to Mt. Ohtenshoudake (大天井岳).

Kisaku relief plate on the big rock








A final ascent to Daitensou lodge
We begin our final and long ascent today to Daitensou lodge. At 14:21 we pass by the junction where a trail bypassing the peak of Mt. Ohtenshoudake to Mt. Yarigatake direction diverges We slowly go up in drizzle. As the number of distance to the lodge shown in a sign by the trail gets smaller, we become happier and happier. At 15:30 we finally reach the lodge. We enter the lodge and go up to the second floor after registration. It is warm inside and makes us comfortable while the thermometer shows 12 degree outdoor. We have a dinner at 17:30 and go to bed at 20:00. We have walked for 10 hours and a half covering approximately 11.4km. We ascended 1700m in total today.
Daitgensou lodge
 
Dinner at Daitensou lodge
--------------------------------------------
 July 26, the 2nd day

From Daitensou to Yarigatake sansou
Elevation profile
At the top of Mt. Ohtenshoudake
Our little hope is wiped out when we see thick fog outside. We have a breakfast at 5:00 and start out for the summit of Mt. Ohtenshoudake (elevation 2,922m) at 6:16, which is just a few minutes walk from the lodge. We easily reach the summit at 6:24. In such thick fog, of course there is no view to enjoy. We return on the same route down to the lodge.

At Daitenshou lodge about to leave, every member in rain ware
Going by a rocky section
At 6:50 we put our backpack on and are off to the long hike today. We begin a descent off the Mt. Ohtenshoudake, which includes some dangerous rocky sections. In about thirty minutes of downhill walk, the trail merges with aonther trail coming along the side of the mountain, which we saw yesterday on the way up. We soon arrive at Ohtenshou lodge (大天井ヒュッテ) and have a first break.

Ohtenshou Lodge
Bikkiri daira
We go along the side of the main ridge leading to Mt. Nishidake (西岳) in bushes and low trees, which protect us from getting wet from drizzle. There are many kinds of high mountain flowers in bloom by the trail, which momentarily make us forget the bad weather. At 8:18 we get on Bikkuri daira (ビックリ平, platform of happy surprise) where we hop on the top of the ridge. Cloud hangs over the valley and the peaks beyond the valley are not visible. If the weather were fine, this would be the best point to have a nice view of Mt. Yarigatake after a long walk on the hillside, thus it would be a pleasant surprise and named this way.

Heading for Nishidake Hut on the ridge
Climbing over peaks in rain
At Nishidake Hut
We are now on the ridge and exposed to rain. Fortunately it is not that hard and cloud breaks out to reveal surrounding peaks from time to time. We pass Mt. Akaiwadake (赤岩岳) at 9:08 leaving 1.7km to Nishidake hut (西岳ヒュッテ). At 10:25 we finally come to the hut expecting to have a rest inside the hut as the temperature is just 13 degree, which however does not happen because the hut does not give passerby hikers to go inside.

Going down a steep descent




With disappointment we come out onto the high ground behind the hut and take a group picture. We are lucky enough to see a complete view of Mt. Yarigatake and its eastword sub-ridge Higashikamaone where we will go up later. A very steep descent begins. As we go down, wooden steps and steel ladders show up. We carefully climb down. Quite a few steel chains are attached to the rock wall to help us passing. We reach the bottom called Mizumata Nokkosi (水股乗越) at 11:48. We have spent an hour and ten minutes to come down this dangerous section.

Passing over the narrow ridge
Minamatanokkoshi, the lowest point
Lunch box of Daitensou lodge
Climbing down the vertical face by ladder
From this lowest point we have to climb back to Yarigatakesansou lodge covering 4.5km in distance and 600m in elevation. Rain still keeps falling while we begin ascent at 11:51. We are on the ridge without high trees and exposed to wind and rain. We come to a place by a tall rock wall where we have lunch. This is a lunch that Daitensou lodge prepared for us. After lunch we resume the ascent and soon come on to the narrow ridge, where both sides are sharp cliff. We come to a big gap where you have to climb down by steel ladder affixed onto a vertical wall. It is still raining and makes it slippery. This is the most dangerous point in our course today. Each member goes down carefully and passes it. We still have steep ascents and steep steps ahead of us, but I feel relaxed as we have passed the most dangerous spot.

Hut Ohyari
Going up the last leg to Yarigatakesansou lodge
We keep ascent in thick mist and rain for another 10 or so minutes and reach Hut Ohyari (ヒュッテ大槍) at 14:01. We go inside the lodge and have hot drinks. Unlike Hut Nishidake, this lodge welcomes passerby hikers. I stayed overnight here last year and remember that their food was excellent. After a good break we head off for the last leg of today’s route. The sign of distance to Mt. Yarigatake by the track goes smaller and smaller like 600m, 400m and so on, which encourages us. We finally reach Yarigatakesansou lodge at 15:20, ending the eight and a half hour hike over the Omoteginza route. We covered 8.5km today.

At last Yarigatakesansou lodge above in sight
Members at the dinner table
Located at the shoulder of Mt. Yarigatake, Yarigatakesansou lodge is one of the biggest lodge in the Northern Alps accommodating 650 at most. Today it seems two thirds full. The dining hall is big but still needs a few turns to feed all guests. Our dinner starts at 17:00. One of the employees there is a girl from Taiwan. She tells us that she is on a working holiday in Japan. It is pretty good for her to work here and have chances to hike around the area. The lodge has a dryer room where we place our wet clothes and gears.


--------------------------------------------------

Juny 27, the 3rd day

Downhill all the way to Kamikouchi
Elevation profile
Breakfast at Yarigatake sansou lodge
It rained rather hard last night. It is still in thick mist when we get up, but no rain. We have a breakfast at 5:00 and get ready for climb to the summit of Mt. Yarigatake by 6:30. Leaving our heavy backpack at the lodge, we start off to the rocky steep trail. It soon leads us to difficult sections. We come to the bottom of steel ladders and climb them up. At 6:58 I finish the last steel ladder and jump off onto the summit. In that instant, fog clears for a second revealing the surrounding peaks over clouds under blue sky. Unfortunately, however, by the time all members are up on the summit, fog close in and we lose a nice view again. More hikers are coming up and we are about to leave. There are two routes to and from the summit, one for ascend and one for decent to avoid congestion.

Steep rock route to the summit
Carefully climbing up
The summit
All members at the summit, in mist though
Two routes, one for ascent (left) and one for descent
Just about to leave Yarigatake sansou lodge
We come down to the lodge and put our stuff on for a long decent to Kamikouchi. When we are about to leave, the triangle peak of Mt. Yarigatate shows up in clearing mist, just like saying goodbye to us. We start at 8:06. We will follow the Yarisawa trail all the way down to Myoujinike today and it will be a very long walk. We go down zigzag on the mountain side and come across many hikers coming up. In fifteen minutes Sesshou Hut (殺生ヒュッテ) shows up on the left side of the valley. This hut was first built by Kobayashi Kisaku whose bronze relief plate we saw on the first day.

Going down the wide valley
Sesshou lodge and Hut Ohyari on the left shoulder
Banyu Kutsu, the cave
We pass by the junction to Sesshou Hut at 8:50. When I look back, the summit is again in fog and not visible. The lifeless scattered rock section is almost over and we now can see vegetation on both sides of the trail. We are around 2,750 meter in elevation, and already 300 meters down from the lodge. At 9:08 we come to Banryu Kutsu (播隆窟), a cave under a big roof rock, which is said to be the place where a Buddhist monk named Banryu stayed and made this to a base camp to climb to Mt. Yarigatake in the year 1834 for the first time on a record. In a few minutes down then we pass the junction to Hut Ohyari where we made a final rest yesterday.

Coming down near the junction to Hut Ohyari
Going by the Junction to Minamatanokkosi, at Ohmagari
At 10:10 we pass by another junction where a trail to Tenguhara (天狗原) separates. We are now on the left side of Yarisawa valley, and crossing a sub stream. Small patches of remaining snow are by the main stream. A junction to Minamatanokkoshi on the Higashikamaone route shows up at 11:04. This is where the valley changes its direction by 90 degrees to the south and called Ohmagari (大曲). The grade now gets moderate and goes all the way on the left side of the Yarisawa. There was much snow left here last year while there is none this year.

Yarisawa gets wider
Babadaira camp area
We reach Babadaira camp area (ババ平キャンプ場) at 11:27. We have already come down 5 km from Mt. Yarigatake. The construction work which I saw last year has not been completed yet but a new toilet facility is erected and in use. We have a lunch here. A poster is attached to a pile of stones that shows a missing climber who is reported to have not returned from the north ridge of Mt. Yarigatake (Kitakamaone 北鎌尾根), the most difficult route to Mt. Yarigatake.

Lunch of Yarigatake Sansou lodge
Heading for Yarisawa lodge
Yariwawa lodge
At 12:23 we arrive at Yarigatake Lodge, 1 km further down, and have a rest. This lodge is located in the deep valley of Yarisawa creek and water is rushing down deep on the right of the lodge. After 10 minutes of rest, we continue our hike down. At 13:06 we walk by the beautiful stream, which flows parallel to the trail for some length. At 13:13 we pass Ninomata (二の俣) where a sub-stream joins the main stream and we cross the sub-stream over a bridge. After passing Ichinomata (一の俣), the valley broadens and the grade becomes much gradual. We reach Yokoo (横尾) at 14:12. We are making a steady progress.

Beautiful and rapid stream of Yarisawa flowing along the trail
At Yokoo
After a short rest in the wide open area where a majestic Mt. Maehodakadake (穂高岳) is commanding behind a suspension bridge, we start off for the rest of today’s walk. The road is now much wider and cars would be able to pass, though no car is allowed here. We made a good pace from Yokoo to Tokusawa (徳澤), which is the last stop of our way to the destination. Yarisawa creek now becomes a wider river called Azusagawa (梓川) and flows down much slower. We complete our last leg of walk to Kamonjigoya lodge by 16:20.

At myoujin



Kamonjigoya, a small lodge built 130 years ago by Kamonji (嘉門次), a local hunter of Kamikouchi stands by Myoujinike (明神池), a tranquil and sacred pond just below Mt. Myoujindake (明神岳). This is a Shintoism shrine where gods live. Kamonji is well know for his friendship with Welter Weston, an English man who discovered beauty of Kamikouchi and its peaks and brought a concept of sports alpinism to Japan. His contribution to mountaineering in Japan is regarded very highly and there is his bronze relief panel stands in Kamikouchi.

Kamonjigoya lodge
Myoujinike pond, and Mt. Myoujindake on its back
Hodaka Shrine in front of Myoujinike pond
Original section of the lodge
The small Kamonjigoya has since been expanded to the bigger current state, yet it retains the original part with a Irori (囲炉裏), a fire place, in the center of a room. It has a bath and we take bath first time in three days! We have a wonderful dinner with Iwana (岩名, charr), which only live in cold and clear water of mountains. After the dinner some of us go over to the old original room. We have a great time with other hikers and the fourth generation of Kamonji, who now runs this lodge, of course over Sake!

We covered mostly downhill 17 km for 8 hours today.

Dinner at Kamonji lodge
Picture with the fourth generation of Kamonji (One in blue shirt behind)
---------------------------------------------------------

July 28, the fourth and final day

Easy strolling route
Elevation profile
Mist is fading
This is the last day of our trip. I get up around 5:00 and go out for stroll around. Azusa river is still covered with fading mist and peaks above are still in fog. We will have only an easy walk of a few hours, so I feel very relaxed at last. On the way back to the lodge, many macaques, old ones and babies in families, are nursing each other by the river. They are not afraid of human at all.

Myoujin suspension bridge and Mt. Myoujindake
Macaque family by the river
Macaque mother and baby are leading us
We have a breakfast at 6:40 and leave for Kamikouchi bus station at 7:30. The thermometer shows 18 degrees. We walk on a flat and well maintained trail by the river. It goes through mushy and wooden sections. A macaque mother and a baby on her back strolls ahead of us over the wooden trail. Sun ray seeps through tall tree branches and reflects on the trail. I wish that the time would freeze and I could stay here forever!

A good trail going through the natural forest
Small creeks flowing through the forest
Transparent water
Clear water and mountains
Heading for Taishouike lake
We complete a walk in the woods and come out to a famous Kappabashi (河童橋), a major and busy tourist spot in Kamikouchi at 9:00. Many tourists and hikers are all around. We have come to a real world from the dreamy wonderland. We walk to the bus station and deposit our heavy staff at the station building. Now we are off to Taishouike (大正池) in the further south of Kamikouchi.

View of Hodaka peaks
Taishouike lake and Mt. Yakedake (triangle peak)
Kamikouchi Bus terminal
We go along the Azusa river. Peaks of Mt. Hodakadake are majestic just across the river, though the top are unluckily still in clouds. I will come again and climb these peaks someday. We arrive at Taishouike in about 50 minutes from the bus station. Mt. Yakedake (焼岳), a volcano responsible for formation of this lake, stands behind the lake. We return to the bus station, making a visit to Tashiroike (田代池) en route, and have a lunch there. We take a 12:30 bus and leave Kamikouchi behind.



=================================


Mt. Yarigatake is a pinnacle that attracts every hiker, no matter which country he/she comes from. I am very happy to have a chance to visit it for two years in row. It is a pity that fellow hikers were not able to see the view from the summit, though I trust that they enjoyed and appreciated the beauty and wilderness of Japan high mountains. I will probably take my hiking friends again next year to other places of Japanese high mountains.

0 件のコメント:

コメントを投稿