Ascent of Iwate-san on 2012-09-22

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Alan Bernier
Duane Gilliland
Adam Helman -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Adrian Rayner
Andrew Tibbetts
Date:Saturday, September 22, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Bus
    Elevation:6686 ft / 2037 m

Ascent Trip Report

After our Yotei-zan ascent we spend a day travelling by train back to Molokai on Honshu then by bus to Ainosawa campsite (N39.80757 E141.01357) at the southeastern base of Iwate-san, where we spend the night.

After rain overnight, Saturday dawns dry with light cloud. The first bus is about 08:30 but as the southern trailhead is only 1.8 km along the road (to the west) we walk there, reaching the trailhead (N39.80866 E140.99305) at 07:22, where we find a parking lot and a signboard with a register.

We were expecting the trail to head directly for the mountain but since some engineering works it now angles left for a few hundred metres to reach an unpaved road where we turn R and continue to meet the old trail at N39.81290 E140.99466 where we turn L. The trail is well defined, rocky in some places with a few tall steps to surmount. It passes through forest, but at xxx we reach an open rocky place with a view back across extensive forest to distant fields, and up beyond the forested slope to a rocky ridge. The trail becomes quite steep and rocky although never harder than YDS 2+.

We arrive at a rocky bump with a fine view across the steep slopes of what looks like an old crater. The trail passes L of a more substantial rocky top. Three of us make the short out and back ascent (1908m P70m GPS, N39.84513 E140.99831) then we descend to the upper hut (xxx) in the saddle then climb up to the crater rim.

The most direct way from the upper hut to the summit is to keep L although the slope is rather loose. Slightly better is to keep R at the fork halfway up the slope then turn sharp L along the rim, which has small stone statues every few metres. The crater itself is almost completely filled with an internal cone, dormant but with two fumaroles on the far side. The summit is at the westernmost point of the crater. There are maybe 50 people making the easy ascent along the crater rim, including a large group who take individual photos of each other at the summit; they also have a synchronised boot lace tightening session before descending- clearly a highly organised group! The summit is marked by a cairn (N39.85257 E141.00091) supporting a pole which bears the summit elevation, 2038m, with a triangulation point (block) close by.

The summit is just clear of cloud, with views down several jagged ridges to the surrounding countryside, although there is little to be seen of neighbouring hills. We summit at 11:03 and descend at 11:30, Adam and Duane reversing our S route (getting back to the S trailhead at 14:24), Alan and Andrew completing the (clockwise) circuit of the crater, running down the east route then taking a trail south from the upper east trailhead, crossing the 897m P90m summit Kamakuka then descending direct to the campsite, arriving at 1440.

Adrian and I follow them down the east route at a more sedate pace, passing the fumaroles on the rim, stopping at the lower hut (12:14, N39.84415 E141.00598) for drinks (no beer!) then continuing down the trail, quite steep and rocky in places (YDS 2+). Well down towards the trailhead we stop and chat with 3 Japanese. Their parting words are "watch your step" - within 5 minutes I trip on a tree root, falling headlong on the down-sloping trail. This aggravates a left quadriceps injury i had picked up on the way off Fuji 6 days ago. I limp slowly down to the trailhead (N39.83424 E141.03924, arriving at 14:58) then we hitch a lift back round to our camp site with a local hiker.

We round off the day with a visit to the nearby hot springs for a soak then a meal and beers. Leaving, Adrian has a small dark snake fall onto his head! It then goes inside the building under the closed sliding door; as we walk away we see it being evicted.

For the second time this week, I wonder whether today's peak will be the last of the trip for me. If so, it was a good one - best of the trip so far.

Next day we travel by train via Omiya, Nagano and Okaya, to Komagana where we spend the night: 2 bullet trains and 2 local trains. The last connection is only 3 minutes between trains but, with typical Japanese punctuality, goes without a hitch. Next day we climb Komaga-take.

Iwate photo album
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5184 ft / 1580 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4780 ft / 1455 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.8 mi / 12.5 km
    Grade/Class:YDS 2+
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5151 ft / 1570 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4905 ft / 1495 m; Extra: 246 ft / 74m
    Loss on way in:246 ft / 74 m
    Distance:4.3 mi / 7 km
    Route:from south
    Start Trailhead:Ainosawe campsite  1781 ft / 542 m
    Time:5 Hours 40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4534 ft / 1381 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4501 ft / 1372 m; Extra: 33 ft / 10m
    Gain on way out:33 ft / 10 m
    Distance:3.4 mi / 5.5 km
    Route:ESE route
    End Trailhead:ESE trailhead  2185 ft / 665 m
    Time:3 Hours 30 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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