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Climbing Mt. Hotaka from Kawaba Skijo; an unexpected adventure

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I had no intention of climbing a mountain when I set off for Kawaba on the beautiful midweek national holiday we had last Tuesday. In my mind I imagined myself maybe snowshoeing up from the top of the quad lift to get a nice fresh line but that was about it. Things changed when I came to the ticket counter to buy my six pack of one lift tickets.

The girl at the desk noticed the snowshoes on my back and said “ハイキングするつもりですね。そこに行ってハイキングの申込書を書いてください。 (Your going hiking aren’t you. Please go over there and fill out the form for hiking). Having been to Kawaba countless times with snowshoes and never having filled out a form I was caught off guard. “ハイキングしません。スノーシューと滑ることは練習だけです。” (I was trying to say I am just practicing riding while carrying snowshoes but I said it a bit strangely). “ちょっと待ってください”(Please wait a sec). 

Enter the girl potentially hired for her English abilities. “What course are you planning on hiking” This was actually said a bit strangely but I got the gist. “I’m not planning on hiking I’m just carrying the snowshoes to practice riding with them.” That blank look people have when they have no idea what you just said. “You have snowshoes, you are hiking right? Where are you going?” Something gives in in my brain and I decide to just go with the flow. “Yes I’m hiking. I want to climb the mountain.” She helps me fill out the form and I am given a ticket to be returned later. Nice to know they look after the hikers!

Riding the lift towards the top of the mountain I was feeling a bit Schizophrenic. “Why did I come here again? I guess I’m climbing a mountain today. This should be interesting.” At the top of the quad lift I put on my snowshoes and set out on my journey. Plowing through the deep snow after 100 meters I was already feeling it, but the powerful rock wall to my left served as my energy source.


The route up the mountain is on the left side of this beast.


I love trees!


The skies this day where some of the clearest I have ever seen. In the distance you could see the Yatsugatake and the South Alps!


Mt.Asama in the forground was also stunning. You can also see some hikers who benifited from me going first coming up behind me



They returned the favor shortly after. I loved this guys snowshoes!


This last pic doesn't show how steep it was. This next one does. I was "fully prepared".... to walk up an easy hill and snowboard down. I only almost fell once

:lol: Everyone else had crampoons and ice axes, I had snowshoes and a snowboard. If I do it again, I will come better prepared.


Climbing up I was loving the trees!


These ones weren't to shabby either.


Tree spirits!


Mt. Sukai


Mt. Nikko Shirane above Marunuma Kogen seen between some peaks of Mt. Hotaka


After climbing the rock face you come to a small sharp peak.


After climbing the peak and seeeing the rest of the mountain in front of me I decided I probably shouldn't go any farther with my lack of gear. Here are the more prepared climbers heading for the peak.


And one with the whole mountain in the background. One of the hikers said I had already done the hardest stuff, but also wanting to snowboarding and being satisfied with the hike, I decided to turn around.


The views from my little peak where pretty good! Here is Tanigawa and Naeba.


And another shot of Shirane


This line of the peak was looking amazing. You can't really make out the mandatory 5 meter air. The only problem is it leads to nowhereland.


After a long time taking in the beauty of the mountains I head back for the skijo. Going down I did a little boarding to avoid climbing down the steep stuff. Instead of going straight back I climbed a mini peak from which you can see my climb and my descend. The main line is the hiking line and the less visibly track is my snowboarding line.



After climbing the peak I rode down and climbed the next peak over to do what I had originally intended to do. Here are my ultra cool lines coming off the two mini peaks the far left line by its self is mine along with the far right.


Did I mention I love trees! This is from a nice little grove on the approach to the far left peak I rode down in the previous pic.


I just like this shot


A skier heading off into the valley next to the skijo for some BC. A beautiful valley it is!


My whole adventure summed up in one photo! The highest peak I climbed in the background with the the first mini peak and my line in front taken from the second mini peak I climbed. My legs were starting to feel like jelly



Another great day at Kawaba Skijo with an unexpected new twist!

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Thank you for the magic Pete! I was getting discouraged. I had already had it erased by the computer I was writing it on and then rewritten it a couple days later only to have it turn into code! Thanks for bringing it back. I was about to give up.

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Beautiful, GunmaBoarder. I love this picture of the clouds dripping down over the mountain peaks:



As for Nikko Shiranesan, on a clear day I can sometimes see the opposite side. Always makes me think of Marunuma Kogen; as Carole King puts it, so close and yet so far away:


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