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Advice appreciated on hike from Kamikochi, thanks a lot!

by Gerbrich
(Amsterdam)

Dear Gary,

Your website is very useful, it is much more clear now how the routes work. I still have a number of questions though, hopefully you can help me. On October 14, I will go to the Northern Alps. We were planning to do the hike that you did, but then skipping the Daikiretto. This alternative route was already described by Julie in August 2013 (Day 1 - Kamikochi to Mt Yarigatake Sanso (via yokoo sanso, Day 2 - Yarigatake Sanso on to Karasawa hut (again via yokoo sanso, to avoid the Daikiretto), Day 3 - Karasawa hut via Mt Okuhotaka dake back to Kamikochi) You replied, that this three day hike would be too much. Would it be better to do this in four days, taking our time, or is this route still strenuous in 4 days? We are not experienced hikers but we are in shape, as we do a lot of sports.

Furthermore, I was wondering if the peaks of Yari-gata-ke and Mae-hotaka-dake can be skipped, or do you HAVE to climb and descend these in order to follow the route? The Lonely Planet points out that you can leave your packs and climb the peak, so I assume that you do not have to climb it in order to continue the route. Hopefully you know more about this.

And then the last question, what is the best way to go if we start with the ropeway from Shin-Hodaka Onsen up to Nishi-Hodaka-guchi? You described this as winning some time, but how does the route go from Nishi-Hodaka? The website of Japan-Guide says that "the trail beyond Nishi-Hotakadake is dangerous and should only be taken by experienced and well equipped mountain climbers." Do they mean the Daikiretto with this? Or can we still do the route without the Daikiretto, but just saving the 22 km hike which you describe on your website. The maps somehow don't make it very clear for me. Hopefully you can help me.

Thank you very much in advance,

Gerbrich

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Oct 03, 2013
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Take 4 days and enjoy your hike
by: Gary Wolff

Thanks for your kind words, Gerbrich.

If you don't have a lot of mountain climbing experience, I don't believe anyone can guesstimate how many days it will take you to do the route you described. Because you should always factor in the possibility of adverse weather, I would suggest you plan for at least 4 days on the trail. Hiking 22km and gaining 1500 vertical meters all in just one day is a bit too much for many people, even experienced climbers.

Yes, Yari-ga-take and Mae-hotaka-dake can be skipped, but if you take the time to hike all the way back in there, you might as well go ahead & climb up Yari-ga-take, which is without question one of the most spectacular peaks in all of Japan. Going up and down it is a bit scary, but it is just semi-technical, and there are lots of ropes and chains to hold onto.

As for Nishi-Hotaka-dake, I'm not familiar with that route, but I don't know of any way to get from there to Yari-ga-take without going through the Daikiretto. Personally, I wouldn't recommend this route, as you would miss the stunning beauty of Kamikochi and the Azusagawa Valley.

Have a great trip, and be sure to dress warmly, as there's a good chance you could encounter some snow, as what happened to me on October 10, 2009 when I scaled Mt. Kasagatake: http://www.garyjwolff.com/mt-kasagatake.html

Cheers,
Gary

p.s. Before you hit the trail, I'd recommend this map, which you can get at most of the larger Tokyo bookstores (probably too late to ship to the Netherlands before your departure): http://amzn.to/1fN7pNw



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