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 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.
The line in question. Off the summit, straight down the guts.
Waking up early sucks, sunrises do not.
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.
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.
As we approached the summit, winds increased and a high cloud ceiling began to form.
On the summit, winds were howling and the clouds had moved in. We wasted no time in dropping in.
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.
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!