background on some of the reasons why the Daisekkei Valley (大雪渓, big
snow valley) can be so dangerous, please refer to the top of my Mt. Shirouma-dake (白馬岳) page.
April 29, 2013
4 climbers die on mountains
in central Japan, 2 missing
NAGANO--A day after an avalanche
hit a group of
climbers on Mount Shirouma in Nagano Prefecture, the body of a missing
was found Sunday, Nagano Police Department said. The body of Noriko
56, from Gifu Prefecture, was found near the site of the avalanche,
Police found two backpacks nearby and
believe others could
be missing but had to give up the search for the day due to the risk of
Yamaguchi and three others in a group
of six climbers were
hit by the avalanche at around 10:35 a.m. Saturday. The three others
rescued after the group leader made an
emergency call to the police around noon.
"We have continued searching for two
male climbers who
were feared to be involved in the same avalanche," said a police
The police are checking if any other
climbers are missing on
the mountain, as they have yet to confirm the safety of eight people in
groups who were near the site of the avalanche.
Meanwhile, officers aboard a Nagano
helicopter found a man dead on 2,899-meter-high Mount Akadake, part of
Yatsugatake mountain range, which stands along the border of Nagano and
Yamanashi Prefectures, on April 28.
The man, identified as Naoki Shimada,
57, is believed to
have slipped down a slope. Shimada, a resident of Kokubunji, western
began climbing Mount Akadake on April 26 alone, and stayed at a lodge
night. He went missing after leaving the lodge the following day.
Nagano Prefectural Police launched a
search for him in
response to a request from his family.
Prefectural police also received an
emergency call at around
5:40 p.m. on April 28 saying that a man had slid down a slope on
2,812-meter-high Mount Shakushidake, located along the border of Nagano
A prefectural police helicopter
rescued him, but he was
confirmed dead at a hospital. Police believe the man is a resident of
Prefecture in his 50s. He had been climbing Mount Shakushidake with
At around 8:20 a.m. on April 28, a
climber found a man lying
in a 2,740-meter-high area of Mount Fuji in Yamanashi Prefecture. He
transported to a hospital aboard a prefectural government helicopter
pronounced dead. He has been identified as Kenji Ishibashi, 53, a
employee from Adachi Ward, Tokyo. Police suspect that he had taken a
shortly before he was found.
of this year's mountaineering season, police in central Japan are
climbers against avalanches or other snow-related accidents in the
where heavy snow still covers major mountains.
Sources: AFP, Kyodo, The Mainichi
May 6, 2012
6 missing climbers found dead
near Mt. Shirouma
NAGANO--Six men who had gone missing during their climb of Mt. Shirouma
in Nagano Prefecture were found dead on Saturday.
Nagano prefectural police found the six, all from Kitakyushu, lying on
the ground near the top of Mt. Korenge on the way to the
2,932-meter-high Mt. Shirouma in the Northern Japan Alps.
The police carried the climbers away by helicopter, and they were
confirmed dead a short time later.
six men were found huddled together wearing summer rain gear and did
not have any winter mountaineering gear, according to the police.
senior officer at the police department said it advises mountain
climbers to use winter climbing gear at this time of the year, but that
accidents continue to occur every year.
Their lives would have been saved if they had winter gear, the officer
The men, in their 60s to 70s, were found at the top of the mountain's
ridge, a two-hour walk from Mt. Shirouma, the police said.
men stayed at a lodge Thursday night in the Tsugaike highland in
the village of Otari in the prefecture and left the lodge
early Friday morning to climb Mt. Shirouma.
scheduled to stay at another lodge near the top of Mt. Shirouma Friday
night, but were last heard from on Friday afternoon, not long
before a snowstorm swept across the mountains, officials said.
climbing is a popular pastime among the middle-aged and elderly in
Japan, and last week was Golden Week, when most of the country was on
holiday and many climbers were rushing to the Northern Alps as the
climbing season in the region just began.
The National Police
Agency says the number of climbers who died or went missing reached 294
in 2010. Of the climbers who had accidents, 90 percent were 40 years
old or over.
Sources: Jiji Press, The Daily Yomiuri, NewsCore, NHK
May 1, 2011
2 climbers die after being
hit by avalanche on Mt. Shirouma
NAGANO--Two climbers were confirmed dead on Saturday after at
least 11 people, including the two, were hit by an avalanche the
previous day on Mt. Shirouma in Nagano Prefecture, police said.
A man with a backpack was found dead Saturday morning near the site of
the avalanche and was later identified as Hidemitsu Sato, 69, from
Nagano Prefecture, while Eiji Yokokawa, 63, from Yokohama, died after
being taken to hospital with two other climbers, who sustained
injuries, the police said.
The seven others hit by the avalanche returned from the mountain on
their own, according to the police.
Sources: Kyodo, Mainichi Daily News
Aug. 21, 2008
2 bodies found
after landslide hits Northern Alps
NAGANO--The bodies of a man and a woman were found
Wednesday on Mt. Shirouma in Hakubamura, Nagano Prefecture, where three
people had been reported missing following a landslide that occurred
the previous day, police said.
Police identified the two as Hiroshi Noma, a
35-year-old mountain guide from Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, and
Kuniko Suzuki, in her 60s from Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture.
Another man in his 60s, a professor at Nagaoka
National College of Technology in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, is still
The police began searching for the missing persons
early Wednesday, and discovered the bodies on the 2,932-meter mountain
in the Northern Japanese Alps.
According to their mountaineering plan, Noma and
Suzuki were scheduled to enter Mt. Shirouma on Monday.
They were to trek through the Daisekkei Valley
Tuesday before staying the night at the Hakuba Sanso lodge near the
They planned to leave the mountains Thursday after
passing through Mt. Shakushidake on the border of Nagano and Toyama
prefectures on Wednesday.
The professor was scheduled to stay with his
students at Hakubajiri Goya lodge on the bottom of Daisekkei valley,
but was reported missing Tuesday before meeting with students at the
According to the police, Tuesday's landslide
occurred near the Nebukabira area, located 2,300 meters to 2,400 meters
above sea level on the upper part of the valley. The fan-shaped
landslide measured 100 meters long, up to 50 meters wide and 2 meters
thick, the police said.
Source: Yomiuri Shimbun
Aug. 20, 2008
2 missing after
landslide strikes Northern Alps
NAGANO--A climber and a guide are missing
following a landslide on Mt. Shirouma in the Northern Japanese Alps on
Tuesday, police said.
Nagano prefectural police were notified that a
landslide had occurred on the mountain by a permanent mountain accident
prevention unit at about 4:10 p.m.
The landslide reportedly took place near the
Daisekkei valley on the Hakubamura side of the 2,932-meter peak.
The police said they were unable to make contact
with two of the eight people scheduled to stay in a lodge close to the
Members of the unit who searched for the missing
climbers reportedly found the mountain guide's rucksack. The rucksack
contained unopened boxed lunches.
The police believe the missing guide and climber
might have been hit by the landslide and were working to confirm this.
According to the police and other sources, a
two-meter thick chunk of earth measuring 30 meters by 70 meters
collapsed close to the Nebukabira area in the upper region of the
valley. Altitude in the area ranges from 2,300 to 2,400 meters.
The guide and missing climber had written on their
climbing cards that they would take a route passing through the valley.
The six who the police had managed to contact
abandoned their ascent.
According to a mountain accident prevention
society in the north of the range, climbers that passed close to the
scene at about 11 a.m. saw the vestige of the landslide. The landslide
is believed to have occurred around this time.
Source: Yomiuri Shimbun
Routes of recent
Daisekkei rockfall incidents (source)
Mon., Oct. 9, 2006
trapped on peak; two feared dead
NAGANO--Six women and
one man were trapped in a snowstorm Sunday on Mount Shirouma near
Hakuba, Nagano Prefecture, and two of the women were apparently dead,
The Nagano Prefectural Police
mountain rescue team was dispatched in the morning but was unable to
reach the seven climbers due to heavy snow. It suspended rescue
operations in the evening.
Three of the women were able
to reach a lodge near the summit of the 2,932-meter mountain, but one
of them, Kayoko Kobasa, 53, appeared to have died, the police said.
Kazue Watanabe, 61, trapped
near the summit, was also believed to be dead because she stopped
responding to workers from the lodge attempting to communicate with
her, they said.
Two other women -- Toshie
Koga, 66, and her sister, Sumiko, 61 -- took shelter on a climbing
route, but their fate was unknown. The group's leader, Kazuhiro Tagami,
sought help at another lodge. He was uninjured.
Sources: Kyodo, Japan Times
Aug. 27, 2006
accident kills woman, injures another in Daisekkei Great Snow Valley in
At 11:15 am on Sun., Aug. 27, a 63-year-old housewife from Nishi-Tokyo
City was struck in the head by a falling one-meter-wide boulder and
died instantly while hiking in the Daisekkei Great Snow Valley near
Shirouma-dake (elev. 2,932 meters) in the Northern Japan
Alps. Accompanying her in the hiking party was a 58-year-old
woman, also from Nishi-Tokyo, who was struck by the same huge rock,
severely injuring her leg.
The women were part of a 22-member hiking tour sponsored &
funded by Nishi-Tokyo City's Foundation for Culture and Sports in a
one-day hiking event billed as "Seasonal Hiking." It was
reported that participants were recruited without any regard to their
mountain hiking experience. Also, hiking tour organizers
claimed they were unaware of any previous accidents in the Daisekkei,
an area plagued by frequent rock slides & fatalities.
The group started their day trip from their accommodations in Otari
Village in Kita-Azumi County, and at the time of the accident were
resting, having reached their destination at elevation 1900
At that time, the weather was cloudy, with poor visibility of only
about 30 meters.
Sources: Mainichi Shimbun, Jiji Press
Fri., Aug. 12, 2005
Nagano climbers -
One dead as heavy rain loosens 2,000 cu.
meters of mud
Thursday buried at least three climbers on Mount Shirouma in Hakuba,
Nagano Prefecture, killing one man and leaving a woman trapped in mud,
Two of the men were rescued,
but Ginnosuke Tanaka, 65, of Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, was pronounced
dead at a hospital.
Hiroshi Okubo, 57, from
Akashina, Nagano Prefecture, sustained serious injuries, police said.
Rescuers were still trying to save the woman.
"I heard a roaring sound
similar to that of a jet plane, and I saw mud coming toward me," said
Okubo. "I ran as fast as I could, but I was hit by a falling rock."
The Meteorological Agency had
issued a landslide warning for the areas following heavy rain. About
2,000 cu. meters of mud was released in the landslide, according to
More climbers may have been
hit by the landslide, according to police. But search and rescue
efforts were hampered by the thick fog that engulfed the site and
continued smaller landslides.
Police suspended the day's
search shortly after 3:30 p.m. and plan to resume the effort early
The first news of the
landslide reached Sarukura-so, a mountain cottage near the entrance to
the trekking route, at around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. About 50 local
rescue workers were soon dispatched to find those trapped under the mud.
About 200 to 300 climbers
left the cottage in the morning, according to Tomoyuki Tanida, 34,
manager of the cottage.
"The number of climbers is
not big today. But I'm worried about the people who may be trapped in
the mud as well as the recurrence of such an accident in the future,"
Tanaka had started climbing
the mountain alone Monday. On Wednesday, he reportedly telephoned his
family and said he would seek shelter amid the bad weather at a
Okubo said he saw a man --
who turned out to be Tanaka -- collapsed about 100 meters from the site
where he himself was hit by the rock.
"I thought that I would also
die . . . I was so scared," Okubo said as he recalled the horror of the
The 2,932-meter mountain drew
some 35,000 climbers last year, according to the village tourist bureau.
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