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| | |-+  Feb 1, 2013 Mt. Yotei, Hokkaido, Japan
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Author Topic: Feb 1, 2013 Mt. Yotei, Hokkaido, Japan  (Read 3224 times)
Erik Henne
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Feb 1, 2013 Mt. Yotei, Hokkaido, Japan
« on: 02/06/13, 09:37 PM »

This isn't really a local post, but it is part of the ring of fire, so I thought it would be of interest.

Two years ago my wife and I went to Japan with a goal of climbing and skiing Mt. Fuji. We were not successful because there was too much fresh snow and the access road was closed (like getting stuck in Longmire...) on the day we had available. In late January of this year we went to the northern island of Hokkaido to ski the legendary powder snow there. Despite it being a "dry" week, we got over three feet of new snow during our time there.

The volcano across from Niseko is Mt. Yotei, sometimes called the "Mt. Fuji of Hokkaido." Ski attempts on it are relatively rare because of the persistent snowy and windy conditions in the winter. For this reason I didn't consider the mountain during my preplanning. However, we did a backcountry guided trip with Black Diamond guides to seek out powder on one of our days. They told us we should come back the next day as there would be a weather window for an attempt on Yotei. And so we did.

Yotei isn't a very tall volcano at 6211 feet, but the starting elevation was 1300 feet. The morning began with clear weather, but after two hours of climbing and as we broke out of the tree line, high winds were becoming apparent at the summit. Most of our previous days in the area featured really high winds coming off of the Sea of Japan. I figured our chances were sunk. The guide radioed the base asking for a weather update. The forecast was for decreasing winds, but increasing clouds, so we continued on.

After 4.5 hours of skinning we broke through the clouds with an amazing view on the crater with hardly any wind. We skied two laps of fresh protected powder into the crater. The guide company was willing to shuttle cars for us, so we made the decision to ski down the north side in search of a better ski out, which it was. The trip is totally doable without a guide, but we probably would have lost a good hour or two had we had to navigate ourselves. We also wouldn't have had the on the mountain forecast. Additionally, it wouldn't have been feasible to do a descent off the backside in cloudy conditions without a guide and a car shuttle.

In the end the trip was nearly 8 miles with nearly 5,800 feet of climbing and 6,250 feet of descent. Skiing the top half of the mountain was very windblown, but once we entered the forest there was at least 3000 feet of 18 inch light powder.

Here is an article about skiing Yotei that showed up in my Google News feed the day before we climbed it.

Here is a hillmap.com path overlay




* Japan_Skiing_January_2013_Erik_Lumix-0148.JPG (136.38 KB, 800x535 - viewed 1392 times.)

* Japan_Skiing_January_2013_Erik_Lumix-0255.JPG (235.98 KB, 800x535 - viewed 1394 times.)

* Japan_Skiing_January_2013_Erik_Lumix-0358.JPG (214.62 KB, 800x535 - viewed 1406 times.)
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Scotsman
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Re: Feb 1, 2013 Mt. Yotei, Hokkaido, Japan
« Reply #1 on: 02/07/13, 08:56 AM »

Very cool. Thanks for the TR.  I need to make it to Hokkaido.
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olymountainman
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Re: Feb 1, 2013 Mt. Yotei, Hokkaido, Japan
« Reply #2 on: 02/07/13, 04:37 PM »

Awesome trip! I have dreamed of riding and climbing in Japan for years.
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Live2Ride
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Re: Feb 1, 2013 Mt. Yotei, Hokkaido, Japan
« Reply #3 on: 02/15/13, 09:10 AM »

Sounds like you guys had a GREAT time!!! My friends and I rode Niseko this time last year, what an incredible place! the quality of the snow was absolutely insane. I've ridden lots of places in the states but I've NEVER seen anything that light... BEST EVER!

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rlsg
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Re: Feb 1, 2013 Mt. Yotei, Hokkaido, Japan
« Reply #4 on: 02/15/13, 06:05 PM »

WOW-- that is so cool!  I've been hearing nothing but positve about skiing in Japan--lots of fresh to be had it seems...

Thanks for the great TR and pics.
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MW88888888
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Re: Feb 1, 2013 Mt. Yotei, Hokkaido, Japan
« Reply #5 on: 02/15/13, 08:47 PM »

This area has been on the list for some time.  I can see it needs to move to the front.  Thanks for sharing a great ring of fire ski.
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Erik Henne
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Re: Feb 1, 2013 Mt. Yotei, Hokkaido, Japan
« Reply #6 on: 03/05/13, 12:33 PM »

I've finished sorting through my pictures and videos from the trip.

Pictures from skiing at Niseko and surrounding.

Pictures from Mt. Yotei

Video compilation of the trip
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