Clockwise vs. Counterclockwise
by Justin Goubeaux
(Kumagaya, Saitama, Japan)
Hey Gary. This is a great site! The link to mountaintop forecasts is a great tool, I've had my head in too many clouds during my climbs in Japan. I'm hoping to do this climb next week.
I came across it in my Lonely Planet guide. The itinerary in the book takes the counterclockwise direction. Did you see any benefits in taking the clockwise direction? It seems like your choice might save the knees a little going up instead of down on the south side of Mae-hotaka-dake. Were there any glaring differences?
Thanks for taking the time to put together such a useful and fun site!
Thanks for your kind words, Justin. You raise a good question about which climbing direction is best.
Yes, taking care of those knees is important, and I always have knee pain mostly when going down. And not counting the Daikiretto, that section of trail btw. Dakesawa Hut (岳沢ヒュッテ) and Mae-hotaka-dake (前穂高岳) is probably the steepest on the course (900m (~3000 ft) in less than 2 km. is pretty radical, whether you're going up OR down). :-)
I think another factor to consider is what time you start, where you are planning to stay the first night, and whether you have a tent. In my case, my partner was carrying a tent & we were planning to camp at the Hotaka-dake-sanso (穂高岳山荘), but we arrived after dark and were so pooped, we decided to just stay in the hut. :-)
One final thought. In the really steep sections requiring ropes, chains, ladders, etc., you might ask yourself whether you do better going up or down them, especially if the weather suddenly deteriorates. As I recall & from looking at the elevation profile, the Daikiretto is steeper and longer on the south side of the big cut.
Best wishes, Justin, and have a great trip. If you find the time, pls. come visit again after you return & share your story & pics with future climbers...
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