- Jan 2012
After work, I drove on Chuo Express highway until a parking area south of Okaya. I slept in the car, it was very cold, when I woke up all windows have been frozen from the inside. I had breakfast at the convenient store at 5:00 am and then continued driving.
From the next exit, I drove small county roads, passed Komagatake and reached おんたけスキー場 Ontake Skijou 2240, which is the ski area southeast of Ontake, at around 7:30 am.
The weather was beautiful. From the parking area I used three seat carriers of the skiing area and started hiking, using my touring ski, on the opper part of Ontake Skijou 2240.
I was the first hiker this day. Its such a nice feeling to be the first who toughs the fresh snow, place the step carefully, hear the snow compressing below our feet. Gently we sink in a bit until it stops, then can move forward and make the next step. Wow!
On the way to the top I passed several shrines. At八合目金剛童子 Hajigoumekongoudouji I changed to hiking boots and crampons. Surprisingly the snow became less on the higher mountain area. Maybe it didn’t snow that much up here or the strong wind blew it away?
In some areas, especially in small valleys, there was a lot of soft snow. And without the ski I sank in deep and it was hard to walk.
The mountain hut seemed so close but I sank up to one meter into the snow, hiking was really tiring. I missed my snow shoes – but how to bring all? Ski, Eisen and snow shoes?
Finally, I reached a rocky area, from there I could easily continue to the top.
It was very cold, I think about -25 degree, and on the top a strong wind was blowing.
It’s a great view from up there, I could watch the steam coming out of this active volcano but it is strictly forbidden to go closer to the crater. Especially during winter don’t leave the way, you never know whats below the snow and if the snow can hold you.
On the top it was so cold, that I could hardly take any pictures. My fingers became so cold… And my nose started bleeding.
I tried to melt some snow to make my favorite Kazzo-ramen, but the gas burner went out several times. It was too cold to use normal gas and after 15 minutes without significant progress I gave up to cook lunch. Lucky I brought some power-bars and hot tea – that was enough for lunch and regain some power.
Smoothly I walked back to八合目金剛童子 Hajigoumekongoudouji shrine, where I stored my ski. I put them on and then – huiiiii it does down!
It was not so easy to drive around many trees and stay in the tiny hiking path. In some area I preferred to carry the ski to avoid another broken bone… I still was recovering from the accident that happened at Nishi-Azumayama on December, 13th 2011.
Further down I meet two other hikers, both of them using snow shoes. But it was already late and I was a bit worry if they can make it to the top.
This day I would have preferred hiking with snowshoes several times – it’s the better choice in the upper area. But after reaching the Ontake skijou at 3:30 pm, I enjoyed skiing down and reached the car in about 20 minutes (finished 3:50). For future winter hiker – maybe it’s the best to bring the ski and deposit them at Ontake Skijou while hiking Ontake-san using snow-shoes. That’s what I would do if I come here again.
御嶽山 Ontake 08. Jan 2012
Start 七合目田ノ原 Nanagoumetanohara 8:40 am 2.180 m
Trail up 八合目金剛童子 Hajigoumekongoudouji 10:00 am 2.470 m
Top 王滝頂上 Outakityoujou 12:00 pm 2.936 m
Top 剣ケ峰 Kengamine 12:45 pm 3.067 m
Trail down 八合目金剛童子 Hajigoumekongoudouji 2:40 pm 2.470 m
Trail down 七合目田ノ原 Nanagoumetanohara 3:25 pm 2.180 m
Finish おんたけスキー場 Ontake Skijou 2240 3:50 pm 1.670 m
Duration: 7 h 10 min Distance: 6,7 km Height: 900 m