I went to Mt. Nishihotakadake in mid-March 2023!
The winter Alps reminded me of my experience on Mt. Chou-ga-dake in 2020. It was a bit nerve-wracking.
As usual, I drove after work and took a nap at the free parking lot for climbers at Shinhotaka Onsen.
There was a storm so strong that it shook my car! I was worried that the gondola might be closed. I lost my motivation…
Since I couldn’t bring myself to go outside, I decided to go back to sleep. When I woke up around 10 am, the rain had calmed down a bit. There was no notice of the gondola closure on their website. It seemed like I could make it up there somehow! So I started preparing.
The duo in the neighboring car was also getting ready at the same time, as the rain had eased. They said they were going to Mt. Okuhotakadake. Impressive!
I took the 11 am ropeway. It was actually my first time. Although I have been to Mt. Nishihotakadake several times, I always walked from Kamikochi.
The gondola was incredibly beautiful! It seemed that they had been replaced during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It took about an hour and a half from the Shinhotaka-guchi Station to the Nishihotaka Sanso(Mountain Hut), where I would be staying for the night. Thanks to the unexpected snowfall since last night, I could step on fresh powder snow! It felt amazing!
Around 1 pm, I arrived at Nishihotaka Sanso. I immediately started setting up the tent. There were four tents that day. Since there was nothing else to do, I built a windbreak wall by stacking blocks and made chairs and tables. I had planned to go to Maruyama, but I decided to cancel due to the weather.
The snow, which was forecasted until noon, continued to fall until sunset. I was really worried if it would be sunny the next day… But when I crawled out of the tent in the middle of the night…
A sky full of stars!!
It seemed like there was nothing to worry about the next day.
A little past 6 am, just after sunrise, I left the tent. It immediately showed me a magnificent view. The wind was incredibly strong, though!
As I passed Maruyama, Mt. Nishihotakadake, a mix of snow and rocks, came closer.
Directly below the summit of Mt. Nishiho Doppyo. I managed to come here without any major issues.
However, I struggled a bit on the rocky terrain just below the summit, especially with the mixed ice and snow. Hmm, this is…
I somehow managed to reach the summit of Doppyo! What a view!!
The wind was strong, but thanks to the clear weather, Mt. Nishihotakadake was shining brilliantly. It was too cool.
Now, I gave up on continuing towards the summit of Mt. Nishihotakadake. I felt uncertain about my ice work just below the summit.
If I can descend safely, I can try again next year! I reassured myself.
However, it was such a magnificent sight that I didn’t want to leave. In the end, I stayed at the summit for less than an hour, but the wind was so strong that my body got completely cold.
Once I passed the rocky area below the summit, I could walk comfortably. I descended while enjoying the view of Mt. Yari in the direction of Mt. Yakedake.
I thought about staying another night, but I ended up packing up the tent and descending.
I bid farewell to Nishiho-kun and started descending.
From the Yari-no-Kairou at Shinhotaka-guchi Station, I could see Mt. Yarigatake! It’s still so impressive!
I want to visit Mt. Yarigatake in winter, but maybe I’ll start with the late snow season.
As usual, I soaked in the hot springs at Nakazaki Sanso and headed home.
It was unfortunate that I couldn’t reach the summit of Mt. Nishihotakadake, but just seeing its magnificent appearance was satisfying. It was a great mountaineering experience that helped me understand my own abilities.
I vow to train and stand on the snowy summit of Mt. Nishihotakadake without fail!