- Jan 2010 – 1st try, unfinished
It was a beautiful winter day. I left Takasaki at 7:15 am and arrived at Tanigawa-ropeway station at 8:45 am. In Takasaki there was no snow but in the western area of Japan there is plenty of it because the wind and clouds are mainly coming from west. I took the ropeway and started hiking at 1.320 m in deep, soft snow. Even wearing snowshoes I sank until the wrest into the soft snow. It was very hard to climb on this day. Besides me there were four other hikers: two people with cross county sky, a couple with snowshoes and another hiker also wearing snowshoes. A cold wind was blowing on the mountain ridge. The hikers with skies were hiking fast and reached the top about noon, they might have started one hour earlier as I did. The couple gave up after some time. The other hiker and I continued and we changed the leading position time by time. At about 1:00 pm at 1.620 m we recognized that it we cannot reach the peak and return to the ropeway-station in time.
Together we returned to the ropeway station and I gave “Andino-san” (that’s the nickname of the other hiker) a lift to the next railway-station from where he went back to Tokyo. We exchanged our email and sometimes we mail our hiking experience. Latest information from Andino-san was that he hiked in the Anden in summer 2010. I am always happy to hear from him.
Hiking-Keydata: 谷川岳Tanigawadake 04. Jan 2010
Start 天神平駅 Tenjindaira Station 10:15 am 1.320 m
Trail 熊穴沢避難小屋 Kumaanazawahinangoya 11:50 am 1.450 m
Top Slope of Tankgawadake 1:00 pm 1.620 m
Finish 天神平駅 Tenjindaira Station 3:00 pm 1.320 m
Duration: 4 h 45 min Distance: 4 km Height: 300 m
19./20. Feb 2011
It has been snowing the last two weeks, even in Takasaki there was snow several times which is very rare. The weather forecast for the weekend changed several times during the week from cloudy to sunny. It was confusing. Finally on Friday evening it told, that there will be fine weather. I called the ropeway station to confirm the weather condition. What I understood was “clear weather”, “strong wind”, “lots of snow” and “snow slides” but maybe ok for climbing. Next morning I left Takasaki at 6:00 and reached the station at 7:30. It was a beautiful morning, lots of snow, clear weather – only the top of the mountain was covered with clouds. I took the ropeway and started to climb in deep snow. I was the first person this day. After an hour the snow condition changed – it became more and more icy. I had to climb a steep hill which was somehow not possible for me without ice-crampons. I thought it would be better to return and come again with crampons and pickle. The snow condition has been completely different from what I had expected. On my way back I meet about 30 people aiming to climb the mountain this day. They told me that the weather condition will be fine tomorrow, too. So I will come back…
Next morning I started in Takasaki at 5:45. The temperature became slightly warmer, already 10 degrees in our kitchen. This might sound still very cold for you but during the winter several times the temperature was 5 degrees in the house!
On the mountain the temperature was -7 degree. Hiking was easy because there was a track in the snow from yesterday’s hikers, no need to search the way, no sinking into the fresh snow.
About 6 people spend the night on the mountain in tents. There is a mountain hut but it was somewhere below the snow. The signboard at the ropeway-station showed 3,20 meters snow-death . I used snow shoes and crampons and reached the top about 11:00 am. Several other hikers hiked the mountain this day, many of them with snowboards or skis. I took a rest for about 30 minutes, enjoyed the great view and fine weather, and then I returned to the ropeway station. And I want to have cross country sky!
Hiking-Keydata: 谷川岳Tanigawadake 20. Feb 2011
Start 天神平駅 Tenjindaira Station 7:30 am 1.320 m
Trail 熊穴沢避難小屋 Kumaanazawahinangoya 8:15 am 1.450 m
Trail 谷川岳肩ノ小屋 Tanigawdakenokoya 9:40 am 1.910 m
Top 谷川岳 (オキの耳) Tankgawadake (Okinomimi) 10:05 am 1.977 m
Finish 天神平駅 Tenjindaira Station 12:20 pm 1.320 m
Duration: 4 h 50 min Distance: 6,3 km Height: 480 m