Vista 1907 veces, descargada 9 veces
preto de Tarasawa, Saitama (Japan)
I started with a threefold objective: set new personal bests in terms of longest hike (distance and time spent walking) and also largest cumulative uphill gain.
The results are: I managed all three... with a 16-kg backpack!
Total map time 19:00, elapsed time 13:10, total distance 42.17 km, total elevation gain 3,132 m.
Mitsumineguchi station was manned (contrary to the other few stations immediately before) and so I was weary about taking off my sleeping bag in front of station staff. After 2 minutes I reached there they closed the station but there was a roofed area just in front, after 5 minutes the young people hanging out there left and I could start my short night.
I woke up at 1:00 AM, started hiking at 1:21. For the first part I walked for 6 km on road 140. By 2:15 AM when I left the road I had met at least 20 cars, sport cars for the most of them... I didn't expect it to be such a crowded place.
From Oowa bus stop I started on the hiking trail, there was a sign indicating that it was, in spite of the looks of it, a treacherous trail at times... I didn't think it would be problem (there are many places where emphasis is put on the dangerous aspect of hiking... ) and after a few minutes I came across the first bridge. It had collapsed, there was absolutely no way to walk on it, on the on the right was the steep slopes leading to the river more than 100m down below, to the left a massive mass of snow. I thought I was doomed to walk back to the bus stop and think about an alternative plan. However when checking the névé closer I realized there was an opening below the snow large enough for me to crawl through. Actually it was even slightly wider since I managed to pass it without really crawling. After than it was uneventful until I got to the shrine at the end of the trail.
In pitch darkness Mitsumine shrine was nothing exceptional but I got the idea it was a big shrine to stand in the mountains, I kept going. Soon I started to notice the first reddish colors in the sky, indicating I had about 45 minutes before sunrise. Trees were everywhere so I wasn't sure I could get a good spot. As a matter of fact the forest was omnipresent and even at the summit I wouldn't have had a nice view. So I witnessed the rise of the sun through countless branches... quite the anticlimax. Anyway I had to stick to my plan to break my 3 personal records.
Towards the summit snow reappeared, heavily trodden it was almost as hard as ice and covered with dirt. On the way up it was still fine because the sun wasn't melting it yet (I got to the summit at 7:02) but going downhill was a bit more delicate.
I refilled my 2L bottle at the hut, North of Kumotori summit. I was a huge hut, more like a hotel that somehow landed in the mountains. For me the antithesis of "mountains" the whole area was crowded too. I had met people even before 5:00 AM and there were a few tents still standing around 7:30 AM.
Up to Toritani yama the trail was first wild and even covered with grass (quite rare) and then it was just long. A lot of ups and downs but sometimes before I knew it I realized the main trail was circumventing small summits, whenever I noticed I would go straight uphill and downhill again, just to add a bit more difficulty.
Toritani yama was a bit disappointing, nothing of mention. I kept going to Mitsudokke, a place I visited when covered in snow in February 2013 ( it was much better then). It proved to be the only place interesting for the sunrise. Need to remember that.
On the way down my legs hurt but I managed to pass easily the handful of hikers going downhill. Suddenly I realized one of them was getting too close to me, I started running ... he started running too. I could hear him and feel a presence (some 30m in my back) I started accelerating as much as my knees would let me... when I thought I dropped him I suddenly could hear him again. In the end the distance between us never got above 50m all the way to the bus stop. When we spoke I realized he was a 50-ish guy eager to ride the bus in time (the next one was about 90 minutes later).
Times elapsed time map time %
大輪バス停 2:15 0:56 1:40 56%
三峰神社 3:42 1:27 2:20 62%
雲取山 7:02 - 7:18 3:20 5:20 62%
酉谷山 11:09-11:19 3:51 5:40 68%
ミツドッケ 13:11-13:14 1:52 2:10 86%
東日原バス停 14:31 1:17 1:50 61%
Total(with breaks) 13:10 19:00 69%
Overall the landscape was a bit better than I thought, the sunrise was disappointing but I'm glad I improved on 3 personal bests at the same time. At the same time I felt it would have been great to be in the South Alps ... can't be everywhere at the same time.