15. Jul 2012
Still rainy season in Japan continues, this year with heaviest rain in Kyushu ever recorded. In Kanto area there was only little rain, the weather was cloudy. And the forecast for this weekend was changing every minute because a typhoon hit Japan.
Within such changing conditions I thought, I’d better stay at home and take a rest, check my equipment, sort pictures and study maps for upcoming hiking tours. On the other side I signed in for a half-marathon in October and training was necessary. I went running about 12 km on Friday morning, but I was still wondering, how it will be to run 21 km?
Weather forecast changed again Saturday morning (improved to clouds with come sun but no rain expected) and I decided to drive to Hiragadake, which offers an > 22km long hike! Supposed to be a good exercise for me.
There are two ways to access the hiking starting point– one from Niigata-ken (from south west), the other from Tochigi-ken/Fukushima-ken (from north-east).
When I climbed Echigo-Komagatake (Uonumakomagatake) in May this year, the road from Niigata-ken was closed. The year before it was opened at this time and I used it on the way back from Aizu-komagatake but I haven’t understood the rule or reason for closing the road.
To insure, I will be able to reach the mountain, I took the longer way via Tochigi-ken and Fukushima-ken. And this was the right decision. The road from Niigata-ken was still closed, and the reason was, because it was damaged by heavy landslides last year. We don’t know when it will be opened again.
As usual – my mobile did not work as soon as I left the Tohoku-highway and entered Nikko-national park. In Tokyo area the net is great, but as soon as we get into the countryside, it becomes difficult – especially for me as I was using Softbank.
The night in the mountains was so beautiful – with shining stars and lots of fireflies (蛍－ほたる）flying around near the riverside.
I got up after sunrise and started hiking before 6:00 am. Temperature was about 26 degree, humidity >85%, later light rain stared, then stopped again. Seemed the weather forecast was slightly too optimistic.
The first part of the hike followed a steep ridge. Several rocks had to be climbed.
The second part was a long hike on the same level, slightly going up and down all the time, leading through forest. The trail is maintained well, walking mainly on wooden blanquettes.
The third part went up again, the way was washed out deeply. The mountain-top was covered with clouds, which looked nice over the high-march-land. Many beautiful flowers grew there and for me it was the first time to see a fly-eating plant in nature.
After a short rest at the top, for lunch I ate 2 Onigiri (お握り), I walked to a famous round rock and then back again. Thinking about the marathon, I wanted to speed up as much as possible, and when I reached the long straight part of the hike, I started to run.
It turned out not to be a good idea and after a few meters running on the wooden blankets, I suddenly slipped on a wet part and fell hard on my right hand-wrist. Same as on Nishi-Azumayama in Dec. 2011, I fixed the hand with an emergency compress and some bamboo-sticks to support and protect, then continued the way back. Still about 8 km to go – the most difficult part was the steep ridge where we need our hands to climb the rocks and hold the rope.
After 3 hours I reached the car and then drove back to Takasaki. Next morning, I checked the hand in Tomioka hospital – nothing broken – lucky! Then can continue the season – which mountain will be next? And how will the weather going to be next weekend?
But the next weekends weather forecast was not good at all. And my hand was not good either. It turned into funny colors, still hurt only usable about 30%, and only slowly getting better. Such days are good for shopping and walking around in Tokyo. And I found this gear: Suunto Ambit. It became my new toy, looks good – and I can’t wait until I can use it on the next mountain tour! It records the GPS coordinates of the tour.
平ヶ岳 Hiragatake 15. Jul 2012
Start: 清四郎小屋 Kiyoushirougoya 5:30 am, 830 m
Trail: 平ヶ岳入口 Hiragatake-entrance, 5:50 am, 840 m
Trail: 下台倉山 Shimodaikurayama, 7:20 am, 1.604 m
Top: 台倉漬水 Daikurashimisu, 8:20 am, 1.645 m
Trail: 池ノ岳 Ikenodake, 9:50 am, 2.080 m
Top: 平ヶ岳 Hiragatake, 10:25 am, 2.141 m
Trail: 玉子石Tamagoishi, 11:15 am, 2.060 m
Trail: 台倉漬水 Daikurashimisu, 12:40 am, 1.645 m
Trail: 平ヶ岳入口 Hiragatake-entrance, 3:20 pm, 840 m
Finish: 清四郎小屋 Kiyoushirougoya, 3:30 pm, 830 m
Duration: 9h 30min Distance: 22.4 km Height: 1.750 m