Friday 26 January 2024

Mt Hinata (日向山) ice-climbing - Gamma gully (岩間ルンゼ)

Route Name:  Gamma runze (岩間ルンゼ)

Mountain:  Hinata-yama (日向山)

Map sheet:  41 [Yama-to-kougen-chizu (山と高原地図) series]

Time:  1 day

Grade:  Overall route grade 4- (WI4 IV+ cruxes)

The vicinity of Mt Kaikoma is famous for the depth and breadth of the ice-climbing opportunities that abound there. It ranges from epic large-scale alpine routes to more Scottish-style ice and mixed gullies. Once the first big snowfalls of the winter arrive though, the alpine routes lose their edge, as much of the slab ice is buried. Then it can be time to turn the attention to some of the gullies up above the Ojira-gawa river below Mt Hinata.

The Gamma runze is one of the most enjoyable of them, covering a full mix of terrain; water ice, slab ice, delicate mixed pitches, and even the chance to climb through a tunnel behind a massive chockstone!

Getting there:

If travelling by car from Tokyo (東京), take the Chuō Expressway to Sutama (須玉) and then exit onto route 141. A combination of local roads will bring you within about half an hour to the Yatateishi-tozanguchi chushajou carpark (矢立石登山口 駐車場). This small parking area is the end of the road for vehicles, and there is a metal barrier across the road, so from here you will be on foot.



Several minutes up the road you will come to the entrance to the hiking trail that leads up to Mt Hinata (日向山), but you should continue walking along the rindou, or dirt road, for around 30-40 minutes, crossing a small landslide with fixed ropes, until you reach the Nishikitaki waterfall (). This waterfall freezes in winter and can be climbed.

Continue past the viewing platform, across a bridge which spans the river below the Nishiki fall, and keep walking for about 5 minutes. You will soon come to the entrance to Gamma runze.



If you find Gamma runze frozen and in good condition, there will be no confusion about where to go. Just follow the sawa and you cannot go wrong. The topo shows up to 10 pitches for the gully, but this will depend on conditions, rope length etc.

Here are some of the highlights of the route:


Thin mixed pitch:

Approaching the chockstone:

Climbing out from behind:


Simply rappel the gully to get back to the rindou, and then walk back out to your car.


A varied outing, taking in slab ice, vertical ice, mixed rock and ice pitches and steep snow. This is an excellent route and will not disappoint. A rack of 8 ice screws, quickdraws and slings, and 50m double ropes should be enough.

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