Sunday 6 October 2013

Mt Yarigatake, Kitakama Ridge (槍ヶ岳北鎌尾根) - trip report

Some brief details from our ascent of the Kitakama ridge last weekend:

Start: Nakabusa-onsen (15:45pm Sat 28th Sept)
Finish: Kamikochi (16:05pm Sun 29th Sept)
Total time: 24h20m (including 3h30m waiting for sunrise to approach)
Total distance: 42km

We opted for a single-push without bivvy gear, as we had a perfect weather forecast.  Public transport put us at the trailhead earlier than we would have liked, and our pace saw us near the top of Bimbozawa several hours ahead of schedule, so we spent an hour sitting at the Otensho hut, 2 more hours resting at the Kitakama-deai, and another 30mins waiting for sunrise just above the Kitakama Col.  Some sample timings from along the way:

Ascent from Nakabusa-onsen to Enzansou hut: about 105mins
Descent of Bimbozawa: 90mins in the dark
Ascent from Deai to Kitakama Col: about 70mins in the dark

Conditions were perfect, and despite carrying a 30m rope and harnesses, they stayed in our rucksacks.  After getting something to eat at the Yarigatake Sansou below the summit, we headed down Yarisawa and out to Kamikochi.  A more interesting way to reach Kamikochi would be to continue south along the ridgeline over the Daikiretto, the Hotakas, and across the connecting ridge between Oku and Nishi-ho.

Some photos from our trip:


  1. Hi Tony

    Very interesting read about the climb to Mt. Yari. I hope you can help me out with a few questions about the mountain in winter.

    This winter I'm coming to Japan looking for interesting lines and Mountains to ski. Do you know how well Mt. Yari is suited for skiing? Infrastructure? Opening of the mountain huts and so fourth.

    I sincerely hope you can help me. If you prefer to answer via e-mail, my e-mail is:

    Best regards


  2. Hi Martin.

    I'm afraid I don't know much about skiing near Mt Yari. There is a classic spring 'haute route' traverse from Mt Tatayema at the northern end of the Kita Alps through to Kamikochi, which passes by Mt Yari... but I would be very surprised to hear of anyone but the extremely committed doing it in mid-winter, as the huts are all closed in winter. Huts in the Kita Alps generally open for business again at the start of the Golden Week spring holidays in late April/early May.

    Here is the blog for the hut on the shoulder of Mt Yari (they have an English page), which just closed this week:

    If you want up-to-date info on conditions in the Hakuba area of the Kita Alps, try visiting

    There is a very healthy backcountry skiing scene here in Japan, some of it centred on parts of the Kita Alps, but all over the place really. I have one friend who is very active, so I'll pass your email address on to him and ask him to contact you to open up the channels :)

    Hope that helps!


  3. Great account. This is one route I'd very much like to do.

  4. Thanks Iain! I'm positive that you'll absolutely love it when you do it... It's a total classic.