High pressure, stable snow, and low winds over the past few days have made for perfect conditions to get after some bigger lines. With this in mind, we made plans to go for Hakuba Yarigatake yesterday. Usually, lines like this are reserved for spring when snow and weather conditions become more predictable, so getting a chance at it yesterday was a real treat. Climbing and Skiing Yarigatake | Hakuba, Japan | Jan 19 | Unofficial Networks

Climbing and Skiing Yarigatake | Hakuba, Japan | Jan 19

Climbing and Skiing Yarigatake | Hakuba, Japan | Jan 19

ALL

Climbing and Skiing Yarigatake | Hakuba, Japan | Jan 19

By

High pressure, stable snow, and low winds over the past few days have made for perfect conditions to get after some bigger lines. With this in mind, we made plans to go for Hakuba Yarigatake yesterday. Usually, lines like this are reserved for spring when snow and weather conditions become more predictable, so getting a chance at it yesterday was a real treat.

Hakuba's Big Three. Photo from Damian Banwell, SteepDeepJapan.com

Hakuba's Big Three. Photo from Damian Banwell, SteepDeepJapan.com

Hakuba Yari is one of Hakuba’s “Big 3” peaks, along side Shakushi and Shirouma. It is 2903 meters (9522 feet), rising 7000 feet from the valley floor. This much vertical plus a fair few miles of approach makes this climb quite a slog.

Yari, up close. Zach Paley photo.

Yari, up close. Zach Paley photo.

The line in question. Off the summit, straight down the guts.

Sunrise over Hakuba valley. Zach Paley photo.

Sunrise over Hakuba valley. Zach Paley photo.

Waking up early sucks, sunrises do not.

On the approach. Zach Paley photo.

On the approach. Zach Paley photo.

It took about 8 hours to go from the car to the summit. But with views like this, time passed quickly. We were able to skin within about 100 feet of the top.

Still on the approach. Zach Paley photo.

Still on the approach. Zach Paley photo.

We crossed out of the Daisekkei, and skinned up the snow field between Yari and Shakushi. Shakushi is incredible up close – steep, rocky spines at the top, large glide cracks beneath. It is definitely reminiscent of the Cordillera Blanca.

Last skinning shot, I promise. Zach Paley photo.

Last skinning shot, I promise. Zach Paley photo.

As we approached the summit, winds increased and a high cloud ceiling began to form.

Dropping in off the summit. Zach Paley photo.

Dropping in off the summit. Zach Paley photo.

On the summit, winds were howling and the clouds had moved in. We wasted no time in dropping in.

Turns in the middle of the face. Zach Paley photo.

Turns in the middle of the face. Zach Paley photo.

Although it was a bit disappointing that the light failed just as we reached the summit, we skied various forms of powder for the full length of the run. Our line down Yari provided nearly 5000 feet of sustained pitch. Not bad.

Still a ways to go. Zach Paley photo.

Still a ways to go. Zach Paley photo.

Overall, a fun and tiring and successful day. It was the first significant summit for both Zach and I in Japan, which made this one extra sweet. Its snowing again now, so time to get back to Japow!

More Unofficial Networks