Ascent of Kita-dake on 2012-10-10

Climber: Brian Friedrich

Others in Party:Laura Friedrich
Date:Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
    Elevation:10472 ft / 3191 m

Ascent Trip Report

We left our hotel in Fujikawaguchiko at about 8:30AM and, based on the map and rental car nav system, expected to be able to reach the trailhead at the base of a small valley NE of the summit in short order. The winding roads once outside of Kofu (following Route 20) made for fantastic driving, but unfortunately the road was blocked just before the first of many tunnels (this being the longest at about 1.3km) passing under a mountain and into the main valley running N-S along the E side of the range. No amount of gesticulating combined with our extraordinarily weak Japanese could convince the security guy that we had some valid reason for carrying on by car. He was, however, very kind and pulled out all manner of maps to show us the road ahead - although most were not to scale. A Japanese hiker strolled by and we tried to explain what we were trying to do, to which he only responded "impossible" - that is, to complete the ascent and return today, because it was simply too late in the day and no bus service would get us back before dark. We translated this to mean "challenging" and so decided to walk from this point (Note: There is free parking and a small shop located here if you need something).

Starting from this location added about 28km to our total trip, but the scenery and the adventure of heading off into the (somewhat) unknown made it very worthwhile. 25 tunnels and 16 bridges later, we reached the trailhead and followed the very obvious and well-worn trail to the first hut. Here, the caretaker pleaded with us not continue as it was expected to be very cold on the summit and we wouldn't make it back before dark. We illustrated that we were well-prepared for the cold and darkness and carried on up - she watched us for another 30 mins or so as we ascended the next 300m up a slope...she was super polite and sincerely cared for our well-being - as we found everyone in Japan to be that we met.

With a bit of hustle, we reached the summit ridge about 2 minutes before sunset and then enjoyed the expansive views in the fading light. We passed the second hut - just under the summit pyramid - just before dark, saying hello to a few other hikers who were tenting for the night. The final piece has some very minor class 2 scrambling and is pleasant. A few night photos of the city lights and lightning in the far distance later, and we were heading down again. Nothing particular to report about the way back - it was very dark, everyone was sleeping, and the long tunnels were a bit eerie. We got back to the hotel around 3AM for some shut-eye.

If you're looking for an easy, beautiful ascent with a more remote and "mountainous" feel than Fuji, then this is a good one to consider. Recommended.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:7051 ft / 2149 m
    Round-Trip Distance:23.6 mi / 37.9 km
    Route:N Ridge
    Trailhead:3421 ft / 1042 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2-
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:6 Hours 35 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:6 Hours 16 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Brian Friedrich
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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