Time  8 hours 15 minutes

Coordinates 5568

Uploaded March 26, 2014

Recorded March 2014

6,054 f
2,704 f
15.11 mi

Viewed 649 times, downloaded 6 times

near Miyozawa, Gunma (Japan)

Day hike to Akagi
It's been a very long time I'm familiar with the shape of Akagi for it's visible from my in-law's. The strange thing is that I waited so long before going there.

This time my plan was faulty as I failed to research access to get to Torii pass, located near the lake around the top part of the mountain. Seeing several reports from the past weekend I assumed that both roads leading to the pass from the South would be shoveled. We took the East road (road 16) and at the bifurcation with Akagi Onsen we gaped in awe at the sight of a large barrier spanning the width of the road and reading 通行止め "traffic impossible". In a split second there went the idea to see the sunrise. Checking the gps we realized we were about 11 km from the pass, a change of plan was needed. It was no longer question to loop around the lake linking all small summits. Instead we would walk on the road up to the lake, hike up Kurobi, follow up to Komagatake and then return to the car. It would be easier but relatively long.

With less motivation than 1 hour earlier we set off walking on the snow-covered road. The slope was gentle all the way and we feared it would be boring but there was enough snow to keep us motivated.
As we saw the sky get colored through the forest we came to the conclusion it would have been crappy even from the pass had things gone according to plan, this somehow helped keep up the morale.
Midway it started to snow lightly and the temperature dropped a few degrees while the wind strengthened. At that time it augured nothing good. We then met cornices exceeding 1m high on the road and it added a bit of fun.

After passing the top of the road a short downhill lead us to an intersection with a trail going to Kono (小沼) the smaller lake. Around there we meet a snow shoveling truck. We had no problem with the snow, conversely removing the snow layer exposed the ice and complicated things for hikers on foot, yet crampons were unnecessary. If we didn't yield to the truck the driver would have removed us from the road like a vulgar pile of snow...

A while passed and we got to the intersection with road 4, we noticed consumer cars proving the snow had been removed efficiently by hard working staff... also reminding me of my error in planning.
The weather had been clearing, clouds receding from Jizodake however Kurobi was still occluded but all pointed to optimistic development. We made our way to the trailhead walking on the slippery shoveled road, observing fishing tents pitched on the ice layer of the bigger lake Ono (大沼)of the two.
A few hikers were starting on the trail as we put on the crampons. At that time the skies above us were still white but we noticed that the snow storm of the previous day combined with the subzero temperatures had the expected effect: all trees were entirely covered in a layer of white snow. As we progressed on the steep slope passing a few people the weather cleared completely, the skies were now deep blue offering a striking contrast with the snow-covered trees. The scene was mesmerizing all the more as it appeared suddenly and expectedly (a few hours or minutes earlier we were
reflecting that it could never be halfway as good as Akadake last November http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=5601103 & 

Things got better after each meter with occasional view points towards the lake and mountains on its other side and cornices bordering the ridge line. At a nice spot I flipped the tripod for a group (just the 2 of us but still a group) and due to the excitation of the moment and the fact it was frozen I broke it, but still managed to use it and pack it after use. Several dozen of shots later we reached the summit. The view to the North was comparatively poorer due to clouds up there. Going South towards the next summit temperature rose due to direct sun exposure which also made the snow softer. The snow also started to vanish from the trees as we got close to noon. After passing by impressive cornices and with a bit of path finding on this trail with less traces, we made it to Komagatake.

The final dowhill was steep but had a meandering trail. As I have switched to the ice axe to bang on the crampons in order to shake the wet snow away, I decided to make it straight downhill while my partner decided to run on the trail. At the end I was just 10 seconds late when we got back to the road.
We expected a very boring 12 km back to the car but managed to make it fun by cutting when possible at turns. The most interesting was to go through a cornice towering over a slight slope nearby the road side.
Towards the end most of the snow had melted and if it wasn't for a few landmarks and our tracks we couldn't have recognized the path we took in the morning.

Overall it started quite bad, many things indicating it would be a bad day but it turned out to be a wonderful hike with fantastic views of the snow-covered trees contrasting crisply with the blue skies.
As for physical exertion I needed twice as much but that will be for another time.

More pictures here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a8pz0k62m0lshm0/jgujxPZkh3












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