Today started with failure. The rain drumming down on the car roof during the night became sharp particles of driving ice at 2000 meters, and Hana was not happy. In fact, she was severely disturbed and started running madly in ever-widening circles on the hard snow crust. I had goretex, she had nothing. It would be worse higher up. It was not a difficult decision, so we beat a hasty retreat. Asama will still be there later in the year.
The monstrosity that sits atop Utsukushigahara is surely, to quote Craig McLachlan, “not what Mr. Fukuda had in mind”. At Kurumayama (Kirigamine), the road almost runs over the top, and any possibility of communing with nature today was destroyed by packs of motorbikers on their Harleys. These are two “mountains” that should be de-listed.
I had failed to climb Tateshina two months ago. Even with snowshoes, the deep fresh snow without the tracks of other hikers had proved too much. Today the weather was clement and there was a good track in the snow. The 360-degree views under a cool blue sky compensated for the horrors of the first three climbs today.