Stories, pictures and video from the mountains of Hokkaido

Asahidake

First Snowfall of the 2014/15 Season!

Asahidake, September 16th 2014

Asahidake’s webcam this afternoon

I think this is the earliest first snowfall we’ve had in the past 5 years that I’ve been in Hokkaido. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, winter is still a looooong way off. Yesterday, less than 40km from the summit of Asahidake, the Ezopow crew were enjoying the sunshine and jumping into a mountain lake!

Not quite winter yet! Photo by Gin Saito

But its definitely cool to see the peaks covered in a little dusting of snow. In around two months time, we’ll hopefully be getting our first turns of the winter.

Asahidake and Daisetsuzan from Asahikawa.
Photo by Andy Seward

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Hiking Asahidake

February 15th 2014

The summit of Asahidake from the base of the ropeway

Asahidake, an active volcano, is the tallest mountain in Hokkaido at 2290m. There is a single ropeway which ascends to about 1500m, from which you can access a ton of different lines, from pillows in the trees, to alpine style chutes. On Saturday morning the sky was clear, the wind was low and the ropeway was busy, so we made the call to hike for the summit. From the top station, there is a mellow skintrack to a hut at the base of the crater, followed by a steep hike up the ridgeline around the crater to the top.

Heading up the skintrack

The volcano still pumps out smoke, and stinks of sulphur

Fumeroles billowing steam

The wind had been strong during the week, so the ridgeline was windblown and very icy. We abandoned our skins once we got higher up and bootpacked the rest of the way to the summit.

Bootpacking up the south ridge

Lone climber taking ‘route one’, going straight up the middle of the crater

Final push for the top

The wind really picked up by the time we got to the summit and the sky had turned overcast. We didn’t stick around, just enough time for a couple of quick photos before clipping into our skis and heading down the backside of the mountain. The wind scoured snow was pretty unpleasant skiing, with only a few pockets of powder in the gullys. It was worth the effort though to bag the summit of Hokkaido’s highest mountain in mid-winter.

On top of Hokkaido. 2290m.

Hiking buddy and Team Daiso member, Ross Nixon

Stoked summit photo