Asahidake (旭岳, 2291m) is a reasonably popular mountain for new hikers in Hokkaido, due to its ease of access, short(ish) climb, and stunning views from the summit. Kurodake (黒岳, 1984 m) tends to attract the same sort of person: nature-lovers looking for a taste of the big alpine. In between the two are the vast rolling massifs of the Daisetsuzan, the huge mountain range that can be seen from almost anywhere in Hokkaido, given a clear enough day. And for a great sense of what the Daisetsuzan as a whole has to offer, the hike around the massive crater of Ohachi-daira is without equal. Continue reading “Ohachi-daira Loop お鉢平往復”
August 5, 2016
Nipesotsu-yama (ニペソツ山, 2013 m) enjoys weirdly little name-recognition within the English-language hiking community. I say ‘weirdly’ because Nipesotsu features all the multi-peak vistas of the Rausu-Iozan traverse in Shiretoko matched with the mountain-goat volcanic-ejecta-boulder-hopping of the approach to Tomuraushi—and can be completed in one day. So like, why is it only this year that I’ve started seeing foreigners climbing it? And why did it take me this long to climb it myself? Continue reading “Nipesotsu-yama ニペソツ山”
July 23, 2016
Niseikaushuppe-yama (ニセイカウシュッペ山, 1879 m) is a huge lump of a mountain sitting just north of Sounkyo and, like Kamihorokamettoku-yama and Kamuiekuuchikaushi-yama, bears a name you will have to repeat a couple of times before you get it. It’s one of those Ainu names that actually stands in place of a whole noun phrase: here, “the thing that sits above the gorge,” with reference to Sounkyo. It’s an old mountain as far as hiking goes, and as such is littered with abandoned trails. Continue reading “Niseikaushuppe-yama ニセイカウシュッペ山”
July 3, 2016
The number of days I have left to climb Hokkaido’s mountains is rapidly dwindling. So despite a very unfriendly weather forecast, I tucked my chin and decided to charge headfirst up Nagayama-dake (永山岳, 1978 m) with Sam the other weekend. The trail is known for being particularly quiet–and indeed, we didn’t see a single other soul on the mountain. We did, however, get very cold and very wet. Which might have explained the scarcity of other climbers.
June 19, 2016
A couple of weekends ago I headed out with Sam to maybe my favorite mountain in Hokkaido: Midori-dake (緑岳, 2019.9 m). It sits above maybe my favorite onsen in Hokkaido–Daisetsu Kogen Onsen, known for its milky white waters, its huge bubbling fumaroles, and the fact that it is open for precisely 123 days. In fact, their website lists the number of days they will be open left in the season–and not much else.
May 29, 2016
When most hikers in Hokkaido hear ‘Sounkyo’, most think of Kuro-dake (黒岳, 1984 m), the jagged peak over the back of which the huge playground of the Daisetsuzan sprawls. The southern face of the Sounyko gorge is steep, but aided by a gondola ropeway and a chairlift, the trek to Kuro-dake’s summit isn’t particularly difficult. The north face of the gorge, however, has no such convenience.
Panorama-dai (パノラマ台, 1010 m) is an outcrop overlooking the Sounkyo Onsen village on the north side of the gorge. I’d seen it on maps but I hadn’t heard much about it other than that, so I decided to go check it out with some friends when we had a free afternoon.
May 5, 2016
I had the family in Hokkaido a couple of weeks ago so I decided to tackle a smaller hill nearer to home: Horoiwa-yama (幌岩山, 376 m). It’s not a particularly high mountain, nor is it well-known outside of the area, but the easy climb and its vantage over Lake Saroma make it pretty popular with anyone wanting to get outside in the Okhotsk at basically any time of year.