2013-11-09 赤岳


Trail photos

Photo of2013-11-09 赤岳 Photo of2013-11-09 赤岳 Photo of2013-11-09 赤岳


Trail stats

10.79 mi
Elevation gain
6,621 ft
Technical difficulty
Elevation loss
6,621 ft
Max elevation
9,489 ft
Min elevation
4,740 ft
Trail type
8 hours 46 minutes
November 10, 2013
November 2013
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near Kokkai, Yamanashi (Japan)

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Trail photos

Photo of2013-11-09 赤岳 Photo of2013-11-09 赤岳 Photo of2013-11-09 赤岳

Itinerary description

Day hike to Akadake with a bit of snow and many chains.

Access: From Kobuchizawa station take road 11 and 520 all the way to 天女山 car park. The road is very wide and well maintained, the car park is equally clean and accessible.

After a very short (2 hours) and very cold (below freezing point) night spend under a perfectly clear sky lit by thousands of stars we started the hike around 3:00 AM.
After a few minutes we got to 天ノ河原 a flat spot with what seemed to be a nice view, an ideal place to pitch a tent for another time.

The first half of the trail towards 前三ツ頭 has a very soft slope to the extent one can wonder if it's really going up. After about 300m of elevation the trail becomes steeper but nothing poses any difficulty even in the dark. The most intriguing thing of the trail is the presence of a few boards with encouraging messages on it. It reads something like "here is the toughest part, hang on you're almost there". I have never seen such things before and don't really understand why such messages are placed on such an easy trail.

It was still before first lights when we got to 前三ツ頭 and from there the trail was exposed to the wind, although not strong was making us much colder. I changed the down jacket to the hard shell at that point to realize later than the down jacket had frozen. We started to notice the first reddish tints in the sky after passing 三ツ頭and stopped for a picture some time later when we found a spot sheltered from the wind. To get a picture reflecting the beauty of the moment 30s of exposure are needed as there is still very little light, so I flipped the tripod only to notice it had frozen. After some fumbling to put the tripod together I finally managed to get some shots. It was still before sunrise when we got to Gongen-dake (権現岳), the view towards the East was getting clearer and the cloud of sea appeared much below us. Still in the dark to the South the shape of Fuji-san emerged as did the main peaks of the South Alps. We skipped the last meters leading to the summit of Gongen as it is too narrow for 2 persons to stand and exposed to the wind. After a series of pictures taken a few meters further we went town the long ladder North of Gongen. Last time I took it in the complete dark but this time there was enough light to pack the headlight and it was much less impressive.

When the sun finally rose above Kinpu-san and the wind abated we finally started to feel more comfortable, the colors in the sky were getting better as we progressed towards the Kiretto hut. Akadake was already visible from 三ツ頭 and from 権現岳we knew it was covered in snow, from the hut it appeared more impressive and white, making me wonder how much ice we were going to face. The visibility was incredible and we had a crystal clear view of all the surrounding mountains from the Chuo Alps, Ontake, the North Alps to the West, Fuji and the South Alps to the South and all the smaller mountains not yet covered in snow to the East. All the mountains to the East and South we already covered in snow, more so than Akadake.

The first part of the ascend was free of snow and we made fast progress. There is no proper trail here and white markings on the rocks along with a few chains indicate the way. The second part was covered with snow and ice especially where we walk on the West of the ridge. As we got passed 2800m of elevation we had a clear view of the South Alps towering over Gongen (2715m).
There are many chains towards the very end of the ascend. There do not appear necessary when there is no snow but this time time there was already a lot of ice, some of it covering the chains over up to 1 meter. The layer of snow and ice was enough to make it impossible to take the chains of the ice, we hadn't put the crampons on at that time and a small traverse going down and quite exposed to the West was slightly delicate. With a bit more snow and ice and most of the chains would disappear making it much more dangerous.

We finally reached Akadake summit a few minutes after 8:00 AM. It was much calmer than last time in the summer when crowds were packed at the summit just after 6:30 AM:
From Akadake the view expanded to the North and the ridge to Iodake with a bit of snow on the summits.

We finally put on the crampons and packed the cameras to go down about 100m back to the intersection. We then went East along the 真教寺 ridge which is indicated as a place with numerous accidents. There is a long succession of chains which made it possible to go down the very steep rocks. As it is facing East most of the path was clear of snow but the few parts in the shadow were treacherous and required caution. A few parts were also prone to rock falls but fortunately we didn't meet anybody on the part of the trail. The whole time caution is required so unfortunately none of us dared take any pictures of this portion of the hike. As we reached a normal trail again we met a small group of hikers going up, they didn't have hiking boots nor crampons so they probably didn't make it to the summit.

After a while we reached the forest and the weather turned bad, the trail then was very clear to follow and entirely in the forest all the way down to 1600m of elevation. Except for a few very soft uphill slopes it goes down with slopes never too steep. After the wonderful sights of the early morning nothing was worth taking a picture anymore and we did the rest of the hike with the prospect of reaching the car. We were back in the car at 11:45 AM.

Overall it was a wonderful hike undoubtedly worth it the 3:00 AM start, technical towards the summit.

Total time: 8:45 vs. 13:10 map time, less than 2/3 which is nice considering the stretch with snow and ice.

More pictures here:


PictographCar park Altitude -32,805 ft
Photo of天女山駐車場



PictographSummit Altitude -32,805 ft
Photo of三ツ頭 Photo of三ツ頭



PictographSummit Altitude -32,805 ft
Photo of権現岳 Photo of権現岳 Photo of権現岳



PictographSummit Altitude -32,805 ft
Photo of旭岳 Photo of旭岳 Photo of旭岳



PictographSummit Altitude -32,805 ft
Photo ofツルネ Photo ofツルネ Photo ofツルネ



PictographMountain hut Altitude -32,805 ft
Photo ofキレット小屋 Photo ofキレット小屋 Photo ofキレット小屋



PictographWaypoint Altitude -32,805 ft
Photo ofキレット Photo ofキレット Photo ofキレット



PictographSummit Altitude -32,805 ft
Photo of赤岳 Photo of赤岳 Photo of赤岳



PictographWaypoint Altitude -32,805 ft
Photo of牛首山 Photo of牛首山




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