Day 5 - Mount Asahidake hike

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Mount Asahidake is the highest mountain in Hokkaido at 2290 metres, and four of us planned to go on the hike up this mountain. Only three made it to the top as I opted to wait at about 2000 metres as I didn’t feel fit enough to continue and then get back down again. So, Lawrence, Derek and Paule reached the top with the help of an excellent guide Michiko Aoki. The weather was appalling with cold rain, hail, and clouds which masked the view.

The Japanese love climbing their mountains, and apparently there are 100 mountains in Japan which people aim to conquor. Even if you don’t want to hike all the way top the top of this one, you still get good views from the upper station of the ropeway at 1600 metres. At the bottom of the mountain there were plenty of alpine flowers and patches of snow, but these quickly disappeared as the terrain changed to a gravel pit. So, here are some views from the bottom to the top of Mount Asahidake.

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The photo below is from where I waited while the rest continued to the top. It poured with rain most of the time here, so I could not sit down but had to keep walking around in circles to stay warm enough. For scale, you should be able to see the yellow rucksack of the climber on the right hand side of the photo.

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And here are the climbers at the top of Mount Asahidake. Aoki-san had carried to huge rucksack so they could have hot noodles at the summit, but the weather did not warrant a long pause. They did have a hot drink though. She also carried supplies in case we needed to stay on the mountain overnight.

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Coming back down the mountain proved to be quite hard work as the rain had made everything quite slippery. Unfortunately, I did slip and hurt my left hand trying to stop my fall and avoid a big sharp boulder. Aoki-san came to the rescue with a splint from her cavernous rucksack and we finally got to the bottom. When we got back to the hotel, she exchanged the strapping on my wrist for an ice pack from her car, and her prompt treatment definitely helped. We were all very impressed by her calm professionalism, and her patience with us.

It was a good thing I am right-handed and eating Japanese food only requires chopsticks and not a knife and fork! It did mean no more driving for me though.



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© Helen Gray 2019