April 17, 2011

KashimaYari Gadake (2889m) is the one the those mountain that makes you say "what the fuck". The north face is just unreal looking. Only a few lines off the summit 'go' and to say that they actually go you need to be some sort of dreamer with a large sack. I only say they go because a few people have skied them, when I say a few I think just one right off the summit with a serious repel off a spine.

I knew we would not be skiing that face but have always wanted to stand on top. You approach from the back up a Hang Fire valley with an estimated time of about 5 hours. The Hang Fire got to me and we rerouted up a side run that ended up slowing us down to a vertical and exposed slog like pace. Steep kick turns. But at least we were out of the way of the cornice and multiple slide paths that funneled into the skin up.

We were late due to our reroute and the snow started getting too shmooey, the post holing was messy and that also added far too much time. We cracked the back ridge and settled for a Recon day. The snow was really fun on the way out, some sort of foot deep 7-11 slurpy like 'pow'.

It turned out to be wise move as when we finally reached the summit, the maiden of the Hakuba Backcountry appeared. We first met her last year while she was climbing Karamatsu in a full spandex outfit. That day her husband/guide left her as he sped up to show her his genki-ness leaving her behind. What he didn't realize is he left his left his genki little black cat with 3 greasy Hakuba (the land of no woman) backcountry bums approaching the prey.

On the Links page of deeplikepow you can see this wonderful woman of the mountains. If you look close in that pic you can see him running back certainly realizing his own mistakes. To see her again, down climbing from our destination was a nice surprise. Although this time she was roped in like an exotic animal.

The other best part of the day was I finally found something I have been looking for and that was sweet lines that could be lapped with out spending hours to regain the dropin points, something rare in Hakuba. Dreamy spines and pillows with a mellow ridge to crack. The terrain off the peaks was also a pleasant surprise, some really big faces rewarding a big slog. Likely a two day event next time.

My winter is officially over as I am off to China in a few days.

Kashimayari from Kotomi, taken last season.

It's a happy monkey.

Lots of debris on the way up.


Black Panther sighting.

Relatively easy to access ridges.


Post holing.

Cracked the back ridge, time to chill ala Tsurugi views.

Lee in relax mode.

4km from the summit :(

North and South peaks, looking very nice.

Turn around time.

Lee Lyon

Matt Wattkinson


Season done.