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Home: Highest Mountains in Japan: Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳) & Mt. Washiba-dake (鷲羽岳)

Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳) &
Mt. Washiba-dake (鷲羽岳)

After I climbed Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳) & Mt. Washiba-dake (鷲羽岳), I retired from mountain climbing. Actually, I do that EVERY year after coming down from the mountains. smiley I'm always in so much pain, I ask myself if it's all really worth it.

But Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳, elev. 2986m) & Mt. Washiba-dake (鷲羽岳, elev. 2924.2m), Japan's 23rd & 29th highest mountains, were different. The night I stayed in the Suisho-goya mountain hut (水晶小屋), a typhoon was blowing past the Japanese archipelago off the coast of the Japan Sea. Even though we were hundreds of kilometers away, with all the severe wind and rain that night, I honestly felt like that tiny little hut that sleeps only 30 was going to blow away.

Things were still pretty radical the next morning and if I'd had any sense, I would've just parked it for a while. But instead, I insisted I needed to be on my way. Big mistake. The typhoon-force winds almost blew me off the trail on at least 2 occasions along a precarious knife-edged ridge on my way back down to Takase Dam, my starting and ending points for this hike.

Fortunately, my guardian angels kicked it into high gear and I got off the mountain safely. But during the next several months, I did some serious soul searching about the benefits vs. costs of this alpine hobby of mine. So much in fact that I didn't even go back up into the high country for 2 years.


Atop Mt. Suisho-dake
Atop Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳),
elev. 2986 m, Japan's 23rd highest mountain


One of the harsh lessons that I learned from that terrifying experience of coming down from Suisho-goya (水晶小屋) was that I also needed to re-think my hiking attire. Back then I was using fairly cheap and relatively ineffective rainwear, as you can see above. It was basically just a ground sheet that converted into a poncho, which I'd been using forever, going back to almost my Boy Scout days.


Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳) &
Mt. Washiba-dake (鷲羽岳) Pics


With the exception of the inclement weather up there on the top, it was a very beautiful, sunny day when I first started out from Takase Dam with some rather spectacular panoramas along the way, including that very special kind of sunset you can only see from the mountains.


sunset near Suisho-dake
Sunset near Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳)


Along the way up to Mt. Suisho-dake, I passed 2 other notable Japan highpointers in the area, Mt. Noguchi-goro-dake (野口五郎岳, elev. 2924.3m) & Mt. Mitsu-dake (三ツ岳, elev. 2845m), Japan's 28th & 47th highest peaks, respectively. And thank God for the conveniently located Noguchi-goro-goya (野口五郎小屋) mountain hut, which practically saved my life because it's where I sought refuge in the midst of the typhoon rain & winds on my way back down. Being almost soaked to the bones, I've never had a more refreshing cup of hot coffee.  smiley

And I'd be remiss not to mention the stunning emerald green waters of Lake Takase, which you can see in my Flickr photo album below.

I hope you'll have time to check it out, which is a slideshow of my very eventful mountain climbing trip. Just click on the right arrow, then sit back and enjoy !!

Yes, when I reflect back on these more beautiful moments of the trip, it helps balance out in my mind those dangerous moments of when the typhoon passed.



Pics of Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳) & Mt. Washiba-dake (鷲羽岳)
Japan's 23rd & 29th highest peaks, respectively
Aug. 10-12, 2003
(View entire album at a glance here.)


My Google Map of Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳) &
Mt. Washiba-dake (鷲羽岳)

In Oct. 2009 I created the customized map below, as I thought it'd be cool to see all of Japan's 25 highest mountains at a glance.

(zoom out to see all 25 highest mountains)


View 25 Highest Mountains in Japan in a larger map


Route Map of Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳) &
Mt. Washiba-dake (鷲羽岳)




Source: Yamareco.com
(Please note: the above route map and elevation profile differ from my own route, as that course goes all the way to Shin-Hotaka Onsen. I also started at Takase Dam, but climbed only Mt. Suisho-dake & Mt. Washiba-dake on this trip.


Couplet Mountains



For 19 years I've been methodically, albeit at an approximate once-a-year snail's pace, trying to climb the 25 highest mountains in Japan. So it's always a pleasure when you can save time by scaling 2 (or more) peaks from the list on the same trip. Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳) & Mt. Washiba-dake (鷲羽岳) were 2 of these what I've termed "couplet mountains." Here's a list of the couplets among the highest mountains in Japan that you can climb together:
* Actually, these couplet peaks are just the 2 highest among 8 of Japan's 25 highest mountains that you'll scale on this route.

** You'll also scale another Japan highpointer along this Warusawa/Akaishi route: Mt. Arakawa-naka-dake, Japan's 13th highest peak. And if you have a little extra time to kill, Mt. Hijiri-dake, Japan's 21st highest peak is less than 5 km south of  Mt. Akaishi-dake.

Thank you so much for visiting my website. If you have an interest in my hiking times and trip costs, I've compiled a special page for that: Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳) & Mt. Washiba-dake (鷲羽岳) Schedule & Expenses


Please come back again soon as I intend to add more data in the future. And if you're the high-tech type, you can subscribe to my RSS feed and that way you’ll know when this page is updated.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to give me a holler by posting them in the section below or by clicking on "Contact Me" in the upper right corner of this page.

And if you've already climbed Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳) or Mt. Washiba-dake (鷲羽岳) & you'd care to pay it forward by sharing your climbing story & pics with other climbers, we'd love to hear of your personal experience. You can share your story here.

Additional links:
Mt. Washiba-dake (鷲羽岳) summit 6-day weather forecast
Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳) topo map (from the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan)
Mt. Washiba-dake (鷲羽岳) topo map (from the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan)
Mt. Tateyama/Mt. Tsurugi-dake route map (includes Mt. Suisho-dake (水晶岳) and Mt. Washiba-dake (鷲羽岳) (1:50,000 hiking map part of the Yama-to-kogen Chizu series published by Shobunsha)



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Gary J. Wolff


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