1st try: 10. Dec 2011 (unfinished)
The first bus departed at 8:00 am and was almost completely full with hikers. The parking area is just about 15 min drive from the highway – its an easy to access mountain range. I drove here early in the morning from Takasaki.
The weather was fine and we met a big monkey family on the way. But after the ropeway took us up to the upper station, huge clouds covered the mountain and it started to snow. So fast the mountain-weather changed completely, but it didn’t scare the hikers off. We closed our jackets tighter and stepped out of the station into the clouds and snow.
It was hard to make a way in the deep snow. Step by step we push ourself forwards. And finally climbed the steep slope until the mountain ridge. Signboard have been frozen and there was no view. A strong, cold wind was blowing. What I remembered from the map, was to keep right. Keep right, keep right. And I kept right and followed a hiking path to the right direction. Some other hikers took the same way, though I thought it would be the right way to Kiso-komagatake.
After a while continuing walking on that mountain ridge in the clouds, I reached a point which seemed to be the end of the path. Another hiker confirmed me that this as the peak and the end of our tour. We congratulated each other and took a rest, I had lunch and hot tea.
There was a old metal stick in the ground, but no signboard or shrine as we can find on most other peaks. Strange – I thought. The weather was already bad and getting worse – and after having hot tea and onigiri I returned as fast as I could.
I already had some doubt about the mountain peak since I was on that top. It seemed to be too short, and not high enough, maybe we should have continued to hike in that direction?
Back at the car I checked the internet because I was quite curious. And I found pictures of the peak – which showed a shrine and – a completely different mountain peak. After I checked the map, I understood – I went to wrong direction. The top which I mistook for Kiso-komagatake was just the end of the north-eastern mountain ridge, but not the peak. I will have to try again. Hopefully with better weather.
木曽駒ヶ岳 Kisokomagatake 10. Dec 2011 (unfinished)
Start 千畳敷駅 Senjoujikieki (ropeway station) 9:35 am 2.630 m
Trail up 乗越浄土 Nokkoshijoudo 10:30 am 2.860 m
Top 伊那前岳 Inamaedake 11:10 am 2.883 m
Finish 千畳敷駅 Senjoujikieki (ropeway station) 12:20 pm 2.630 m
Duration: 2 h 45 min Distance: 4 km Height: 255 m
2nd try: 31. Dec 2011
It was the last day of the year 2011. Each year provides changes and challenges in our life, 2011 was definitely a very special year for many of us.
For me, it was a good thing to hike a mountain this last day in 2011.
The weather was great and many visitors took the bus and ropeway this morning. There was a TV team on the upper ropeway-station and lots of friendly and very helpful mountain-guides explained about risks and how to hike a mountain in winter season.
Kiso-Komagatake can be considered as an easy to hike mountain during summer season, in winter it depends on weather condition and for sure you must use crampons and need warm clothes. Please never underestimate winter mountains and how fast weather can change.
This day the weather was absolutely perfect and I easily reached the ridge where I mistook the way last time. This time, I was able to see the hiking path, mountain huts and the peaks. From Nakadake shrine I could see Ontake, which I also want to climb someday. Maybe next year…
Then I continued to Kiso-komagatake. Temperature was about -20 degree, clear sky, and great view! A beautiful place to review the last year and look ahead for the upcoming year.
Nowhere else as in the mountains, we are that close to heaven – and at the same time, we still have a wide overview over the earth.
After I returned to the ropeway station, I went to the restaurant and ate lunch, salmon sashimi – I love it. Then went back down by ropeway and returned to Takasaki.
Kisokomagatake has the highest ropeway station in Japan. And the prices for bus (800 JPZ, one way) and ropeway (1.400 JPY, one-way) plus parking (500 JPY) in total are much higher as if we climb Fuji-san. But Fuji-san we have to climb, this mountain mainly we use bus and ropeway. From the upper station at almost 3.000 meters we climb only less than 500 meters until the top.
木曽駒ヶ岳 Kisokomagatake 31. Dec 2011
Start 千畳敷駅 Senjoujikieki (ropeway station) 9:10 am 2.630 m
Trail up 乗越浄土 Nokkoshijoudo 10:20 am 2.860 m
Trail up 宝剣山荘 Houkensansou 10:25 am 2.865 m
Top 中岳 Nakadake 10:45 am 2.925 m
Top 木曽駒ヶ岳 Kisokomagatake 11:50 am 2.956 m
Finish 千畳敷駅 Senjoujikieki (ropeway station) 12:50 pm 2.630 m
Duration: 3 h 40 min Distance: 4,5 km Height: 465 m