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near Motojuku, Tōkyō (Japan)
Sawanobori (沢登り）シンナソー stream in Okutama range, Tokyo prefecture.
Access: From Musashi itsukaichi station, ride the bus to Fujikura terminal.
Topo reference: 東京起点沢登りルート120 pp32-33
It was my first experience of Sawanobori as leader (from organizing the trip and handling all the rope work) so I chose what seemed to be the easiest stream available.
The topo said that all waterfalls could be climbed including one at 10 meters and the prominent 15-meter fall, short but dense in waterfalls and with easy access and onsen on the way back it was the perfect stream given the context.
With a multicultural group of 4 people and 4 nationalities we set up the stream and effortlessly climbed the first series of small falls before hitting the 10-meter waterfall. It presented no difficulty but since we had time I wanted to practice rope work and with no guarantee to find a better spot later on I started to explain about rappelling technique and I followed on with lead climbing with setting slings, quick-draws and how to handle the rope. Like any-type of mountain training it took more time than expected and though I didn't check I'm sure we spent close to 2 hours on it.
At a small 3-meter fall, I had trouble managing a move and when I thought I was done with it, I lost my footing and before I knew it slid down the rock all the way down(only 2 meters below). I felt surprised and the rope on the side seemed to indicate it could be bypassed but a second attempt and I could settle the scores with the fall.
Upon reaching the bottom of the 15-meter fall I attached the rope to my harness and tried to find protections, yet there were none to be seen and I then tried several rocks to warp a sling around to no avail. The waterfall itself was easy to climb with no difficult moves and easy holds all the way but the fact to climb it unprotected adds a bit of adrenaline and so I would have appreciated at least one solid anchor on the way to the third and last section of the fall. The second section was a crack and most interesting to climb, clearly the highlight of the day.
Before getting all the way to the top of the stream, and following advice found in trip reports I decided to go straight uphill towards the ridge. It seemed easier than going straight all the way and pass unstable terrain. Yet the ground was unstable at some points and loose rocks omnipresent. We made our way up by pulling on roots and grasping on trees. We got to the ridge around 14:30 and we were at the onsen around 16:20. The trail in between is not really worth mentioning.
Overall a great day, beautiful small waterfalls and no rain but high water level.
More pictures here: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B8dPS_LBwxeLfnE3V1ZzSGx4OVU2ZkktLV9lNWt6bVJ2czhxc1BFNWFsOEFUWENGQ3BweWM&usp=sharing