SUCCESS on Mount Yōtei, Japan

trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

My alarm went off at 4:40am.

Yet it was 12:30pm before I started up the trailhead to climb Mount Yōtei out of Niseko, the most popular ski resort in Japan.

… often referred to as the “Mt. Fuji of Hokkaido” …

when has the weather been this good?

Here’s how the volcano looked when I came knocking.

Lonely Planet Hiking in Japan:

One of the toughest day hikes around with a 1500m climb up to a perfectly shaped volcano …

My guidebook called it 8-10hrs round trip. Signage said it took longer than that. There was no way I could make it this day.

… I started up.

Footing was good. Weather excellent (so far).

About half way up I met a savvy Japanese hiker already coming down. He was concerned at where I was on the mountain relative to the time. I assured him I’d be turning around quite soon.

… But you know, guys like me, Rob Hall & Gary Ball — we can push the turnaround time later than most.

And the weather actually got better instead of worse as I gained elevation.

When I saw the mountain hut I knew I’d make the top.

Normally manned by a warden, it had been locked up for weeks. Almost nobody hikes this late in the season.

I only stayed on the crater rim for about 3min as it was already 4pm. … And it gets dark starting about 4:30pm.

The second time on the crater rim I was furious. I’d dropped my camera in the snow when starting to RUN down the mountain. And then hustle back up. It’s now 4:20pm.

The welcome lights of the trailhead campground toilet. It’s 6:30pm.

The campground had been long closed. Yet incredibly the washrooms were left open and powered on. Thank-you Japan.

I tented here all alone, hoping to see one of the infamous pesky foxes. They’d long given up on the campground too.

See all my photos from this day hike.

I know what you’re thinking — this scramble was a “success” ?!

Success is relative on this trip. 🙂

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One thought on “SUCCESS on Mount Yōtei, Japan

  1. Relative is a great word Rick! Relatively speaking what a wonderful persistent day you had up there. Relative fun is often what is is all about.

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