Tuesday, September 17, 2013


After a night at the rebuilt Dakezawa hut (not quite as nice as the old one, but that was destroyed by an avalanche) the goal of the next day was Hotakadake. The journey starts with meadows of flowers. It is a while since we have walked in late August, which made for a different array of plant life.

Climbing Hotaka
It was quite difficult to stop James from feasting on these possibly raspberries(?) I told him to leave them for the bears, which seemed to have the desired effect.
There were giant triffids too.
Climbing Hotaka
But we survived them all. As the trail got steeper, the vegetation got less exciting but the views improved. Kamikochi is down there in the valley.
Climbing Hotaka
Usually it is cloudy when we are up there, or we are too busy or something, but this time we decided to take the out and back up MaeHotakadake. Most people abandon their rucksacks at the junction.
Climbing Hotaka
The steeper and rockier it gets the more we destroy the times printed on the maps.
Climbing Hotaka
A hop and a skip later we were on the top. But it was cloudy so didn't stop for long. We retraced our steps, picked up our rucksacks and carried on up to the highest peak, OkuHotakadake. Until it got cloudy again, the views were excellent. This view is "the other side of the mountain", down to Karasawa, not Kamikochi.
Karasawa curl
We were still early so there was time for some hugging of the haimatsu (the creeping pine that is prevalent around 2500-2800m).
The top (about 3190m) was busy as Shinjuku station (well - actually not quite!) and, as usual, it was in cloud, so again we barely paused.
Hotakadake summit
Ten minutes down from the summit is a very busy hut which mostly serves people walking up from Karasawa. The view looks back towards OkuHotaka, although the peak is not visible.
Okuhotaka hut
Curry rice was enjoyed.
Curry rice at Hodaka sanso
After lunch we set off up Karasawa Dake and then on to Kita Hotaka. OkuHotaka peak is a massive wall of rock. It was now behind us but occasionally visible. However it is very camera shy,
Okuhotakadake summit!
but James among the rocky rockness sets the right tone for this part of the day.
James and rocks
Flowers and the gendarmes...
flowers and gendarmes
We got to Kita Ho hut around 2pm and wiled away the afternoon with happy hutting.
Happy hutting
This hut is perched 1 minute walk from the top of Kita Hotaka at about 3100m. It has no water supply apart from rain water and that brought by helicopter. But some how it had half a pig and red wine, which made for a surprisingly pleasant end to the day.
parma ham
Very happy hitting!


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