trip report by site editor Rick McCharles
I awoke before dawn in one of the best tent sites of my life.
This truly is the land of the rising sun.
Dozens of hikers were already atop nearby Mt Yari. It’s tradition to climb in the dark.
Personally, I was in no rush. The crowds were gone by the time I headed up.
In fact, I had the summit to myself. Nice.
I left a Summit Stone at the Yari summit shrine.
A helicopter arrived. That’s Fuji in the distance.
An elderly gentleman was evacuated. He looked OK to me but had been on oxygen earlier in the morning.
I’m hoping he had insurance. Choppers are very expensive in Japan.
Here are the famous Yari ladders, trickier on the descent than the climb.
Though the weather could not have been finer, the forecast was for rain next day. I gambled, hoping it would hold off long enough for me to finish the Kamokochi – Yari – Hotaka circuit early next morning.
This region is wrongly compared with Yosemite. In fact, it’s much like the GR20 in Corsica.
The nearest water to Yari I could find was at Sugoruko-goya.
They have quite an elaborate system ensuring a drinking supply for the hiking season. (But you may need to filter out the insects.)
2pm was my turnaround time. It was even prettier on the way back.
I did not see much wildlife. A pair of Rock Ptarmigan were the highlight.
Can you believe this stunning view from Yari-dake-sanso at sunset?
Here’s my last photo of the day — my tent.
In fact, that was my last photo of the trip.
Going to sleep at 8:30pm, I was awoken at 10:30pm. The storm had arrived.
Wind and driving rain all night kept me up. I listened to an audio book until first light.
It was all I could do to stuff my wet gear and flee back the way I came, the easy way down. This means I MISSED the infamous Diakiretto:
… hole in the ridge
… ladders, chains, big drops …
This is, without doubt, the most exhilarating (or the scariest) bit of hiking in Japan that doesn’t require any specialist skills.
That route is too dangerous when wet. I’d been warned by Wes Lang, editor of the Hiking in Japan blog.
See all my photos from day 2 of this adventure on Flickr
Or check Day 1 if you missed it.