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I started to consider climbing up a mountain in south Alps in Japan, right after I climbed Mt. Yari in 2018. I could not accumplish that in 2019, due to my broken bone in my left arm. In 2020, the whole South Alps was closed due to Covid-19. This was the long-awaited chance to climb up Mt. Kita.


芦安駐車場  (Ashiyasu Parking lot)

In the previous day of the climbing day, I drove to parking lot in Ashiyasu. Driving to this parking lot was scary because it is a drive alone in the narrow and dark mountain path. However, in the parking lot, there were many climbers already parking there in 10:30 pm. A morter cyclinst was even sleeping on the ground with sleeping bag. Oh, that looks cold.

I wrapped into a blanket, slept while listening a ukrere sound, strum, strum, and strum. 




It was not that cold before midnight, but it started to be really cold. Awake, and searched for some heat pad, but too sleepy to search for my sleeping bag. I managed to sleep a bit more, and stayed in car a while after feeling for bathroom visit. Finally I got up and went 3:30 am. Surprisingly the other neighboring climbers were already up.




As soon as I started wondering around the parking lot, callers of taxi cab started to get their passengers before they goes to the public transportation. I asked them the price and it was just 1,300 yen. I decided to get on their taxi. To my annoyance, they asked me if I am alone several times. I see so many female solo climbers out there, and appalled people here are so outdated.


The odd thing I saw was a couple of bus stop on the road. The road, The South Alps highway around the climbing spot is restricted to drive, and only allowed public transportation or registered taxi to can go through. However, I saw some bus stops where climbers bus does not stop. I wonder if there are residents along side of the South Alps super highway.

広河原 (Hirogawara entrance)



I reached at the Hirogawara Climbing spot around 6 AM. The bus was full even though it was weekday. Many climbers decided to act this day since the weather forcast said the day was clear, but would be stormy in the following weekend.

The path to Shirane-Oike was steep hill with a couple of cliffs. My climbing stick was not so helpful in rocky area. I probably needed pick axes instead.

白根大池 (Shirane-Oike)


Even after Shirane-Oike was steep. The long route goes zig-zag and rough. I think the hardest in my climbing history. But the view from the route was excellent!



I was not only person who felt the path was tough. I saw a group of people gathering around the Kotaro branch to take a rest. I had some small talks with them briefly. It was first time for me to talk with other people like this while I am climing.


Right before reaching to the Kata no Koya, there was a huge cliff with rope. I dropped my climbing stick. One of the person followed me picked my stick in the below. I thanked him and start wondering if I should join in some local climbing group, even though I like solo climbing usually. 

肩の小屋 (11:00AM)


I reached Kata-no Koya, used up all energy. I ate a sweet bean bread. I love eating this in places with high altitude.  



While I was taking a rest, the other people who I had just talked caught up to me. I seemed to be a bit faster than them. I might have good muscle on my legs, since I run with my dog regularly, so but no strength on my arms.

北岳山頂 (12:30 AM)

肩の小屋から北岳山頂は、岩・岩・岩!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      腕を使って岩にしがみつくところはあるし、下が崖の狭い足場もあるし危険。正直どっちに行ったらいいのか分からない。上りも下りも、目印のマーキングが北アに比べて少ないです。

After the Kata no koya to the peak of Mt. Kita was filled with rocks after rocks! I had to grab and lift using my upper body strength (=no strength) where no way to grab and no place to put my foot on. Compare to North Alps mountains, peaks in South Alps don't have so many marking to guide climbers between rocks.

頂上の後, 北岳山荘まで も、岩ばかり!北岳山荘はたまに見えるのですが、結構きついザレた下りと登りを繰り返します。
The path beyond the peak on the way to the Kitadake hut was also filled with rocks and degraded rocks. I could see the destination Kitadake hut between rocks, but I barely found places to set my feet.





It was so sunny day that I could see Mt. Hakusan along side of Japan Sea 


北岳山荘 (14:30 AM)

Chacked in!


Last year, the whole South Alps was closed due to Covid-19. They opened in this year under new rules and conditions awkwardly. In the check-in counter they asked to show QR code linked from the confirmation email, where they don't have stable internet connection. They asked patrons to if they printed out the QR code beforehand... Well, I think no one should operate inns needing internet connection for check-in, where no internet connection available.
The awkwardness went slipper issue as well. They rent their slipper out for each patrons, asking not to use others slipper, due to Covid-19 awareness. In-house slipper would not be absolute necessity anyway. I think they were adding unnecessary rules under the name of Covid-19 and ruining mountain experience. 


They offer matless, but no bed due to again, Covid-19. So patrons had to bring sleeping bags. The matless was wrapped with vinyl layer. Thee vinyl layer made big noise when the sleeper twisted and turned. I could not sleep well because of the noise, and the matless was hard like stone. I would advice anyone who will stay Kitadake hut also bring air-matless for camping.

Dinner at 17:00



消灯は20:00 夜になって強風になりました。すごい嵐の音が外でしていた。

All lights turned off at 20:00. It was windy night and I heard whoosh, whoosh, clank clank sounds of wind passing from western Japan to the east.

朝はご来光を拝みました。Sunrise from the ridge.


Though I originally thought about going Ai no dake, but I decided to go back to the base of the mountain right after seeing the sunrise. My legs were quite exhausted and I took precedence on safely going back home.
I asked the staff in Kitadake Hut to see if Happonba route was easier. However, that route was harder with ladders and ropes, and lots of fallen rocks from the wall cliff.
I decided to go back the same path as the one I came. 

北岳山頂 (The peak)


The weather changed a lot from the previous day. I had to go through rocky area in fogs and gusty wind. I had to grab rocks tighter than the last day trying not to be flown away, fallen into the deep valley. The Kitadake hut exists lower altitude than  Kitadake peak, so I had to climb up again to go back home. I could not breath well in the strong wind, and lack of oxygen in the high altitude.

肩の小屋 (Kata no Koya)


I took a rest at Kata no Koya again since the fog made everything outside wet.

白根大池 (Shirane-Oike)


I met many climbers coming up on the way of my descending. Some people carried so small back packs wearing summer clothes, seemingly not quite prepared for Kita. I don't recommend exposing your skin when you are climbing at all.


I fell down right before Shirane-Oike and bleed a bit on my knee, but I didn't damage Archtrex pants. Archtrex fabric is durable...!

It was the day of delivery  I could see a helicopter back and forth between the base and huts. 

広河原(Hirogawara entrance)


I reached Hirogawara entrance around 13:00. The next public bus leaving from the entrance to Kofu station was 14:00. I sweated a lot so I changed to some dry cloths in the bathroom. 
The public transportation bus did not let the passengers use the trank storage at the bottom of the bus, AND they did not allow to put the luggage on the seat. But the aisles are too tiny to put big back packs. The rule has no sense. If you brought bigger back pack than 40 liter, I would recommend using taxi bus than public one.

芦安駐車場 (Ashiyasu parking lot)


As soon as I reached car, I took a bath right next to Ashiyasu parking lot. They rent out slipper for me and asked me not to use other slipper. Again, just give up in-house slipper. Or, I wonder if Ashiyasu area have some culture to lend slipper to guest.



I sent message to my husband requesting meat for dinner, and left the parking lot around 16:00. But due to the traffic jam caused by accident on Chuo-highway, it took 4 hours and half an hour to get home. 


I used up all my muscles and exhausted, but I am glad I finally climbed Mt. Kita since planning for 3 years, before getting into my 50s.

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