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  1. #1
    alt.thomas's Avatar
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    Another trip in Okutama, Japan

    A solo trip report and a lesson learned...

    Left on January 29th for one night.

    Took the bus early morning from Okutama to Nippara.




    Nippara bus station (has toilets and running water)

    Weather forecast was 8*c (46F) and low of minus 1C (30F), but next day high was 16C (60F)?

    I knew from a previous day hike around same elevation that there would be patches on the trail that would require snow shoes and brought them along with a 16kg (35 lbs) pack weight... I am very curious what other folks bear?



    Start of the trail

    Plan is to hit Mitsudokke, camp at Toridani, hit Tensan and return back to Nippara in a loop. Over the course of two days I'll hike up two peaks no higher than about 1,700m (5,500 ft) covering 26km (16 miles).


    Past Mitsudokke and time to bring out the snowshoes


    Pano view from a lookout


    Sketchy bridge on the trail


    After changing to crampons and then back to my boots, I finally hit the hut near Toridani.

    There are many huts spaced around Okutama and are free to use. This one was relatively new and had reliable water and an outhouse.


    Inside of the hut


    The outhouse


    The view from the outhouse with the door left open

    This hut, usually like others, have spare blankets and reflectix pads you can borrow.


    No one was there and had myself dinner


    Headed up Toridani to setup camp

    The low for the night did reach minus 1C. The occasional heavy gust of winds woke me up at times, but I slept comfortably for the rest of the night.

    Day two was mostly uneventful... I saw some dears and even a rainbow made from the the high winds picking up the snow from the ground.


    View of Kumotori, the highest peak in Tokyo at 6,617 ft.


    The scramble up Tensan


    A shrine up on the summit of Tensan


    Another shrine left abandoned on the way down

    Ok... Here's where my valuable lesson begins...

    I should note that it was my first time hiking from Tensan on the way back to Nippara.
    The trail from here on was hardly used and at most times, practically invisible because of the undisturbed snow and then fallen leaves. The small blazes were hard to see, too few and far between. Combined, I either had to backtrack or blaze my own trail.

    And then I came upon this...

    ... that yellow dot says DANGER: STEEP SLOPE USE CAUTION. I knew about this and have crossed this type of terrain many times before. However, this time it was different: the trail was poorly marked, the path often disappears, and I was carrying a heavy load on my back (Mistake #1 - I should not have assumed a known trail would be well marked in the off season).

    I lost the trail again and started walking right to left of my position to find it (Mistake #2 - I should have backtracked until I found the trail at this dangerous section).

    I was getting tired as this was the last push back to Nippara and I slipped. Banged my knees and started sliding down the hill face down, feet first. I recalled slowing down before picking up some more speed again.

    One of my first thoughts was Shug's video where his friend fell from great heights and I feared going over a cliff.
    https://youtu.be/gnsKv_mFkTg


    By the grace of God, I finally stopped. A fallen branch got tangled on my pack to slow me down and my feet found a stump.
    My face was buried in dirt and had to dig out to breathe. Next, hoping my feet was on stable ground, I carefully managed to untangle myself. I finally was able to sit down, took big gulps of water, calmed my nerves and assessed my situation.

    I was not fully lost (i knew which direction would lead me back to the road), I was not seriously injured and my gear seemed to be all there. The problem: I was stuck on the side of hill at at about 30* incline. I brought along a Delorme InReach and it was working. For a few minutes I thought of pressing the SOS button. Instead, I texted my wife I had a problem and was going to be late (Mistake #3?).

    There was no way going up or down. But to my right about a bus length away, there were some rocks I could use to climb back up. I shortened my trekking poles and stuck them deep into the dirt and slowly crawled my way there. Using my last bit of energy, used the rocks and climbed up to safety. Thanked God one more time and took a long break.

    From my new vantage, I finally saw the blaze and blessed my luck.


    No photo of my ordeal but I was stuck on something like this taken around the same area (minus the frozen stream/waterfall?)



    The view of frozen waterfall from the sweet road below my feet

    The walk back on the road took 40 minutes and knees started to swell . I came across a few road workers and said my hellos but realized afterwards that my face was completely covered in dust, hair had bits of leaves, more dirt and rocks. Washed myself as much as I could while waiting for the bus. Got on the bus an hour and a half later than planned. I'm still cleaning all the gear from my spill but I'm grateful I'm able to report about it.
    Last edited by alt.thomas; 02-01-2017 at 05:37.

  2. #2
    johnspenn's Avatar
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    Nice photos. Always interesting to see the wild parts of foreign lands. looking forward to the valuable lesson!

    Have you hiked up Mt Fuji yet? I did it back in '89 IIRC. Very coold experience, looking in to the rim of a volcano!

  3. #3
    New Member CoolBobby's Avatar
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    Awesome post!

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    alt.thomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnspenn View Post
    Nice photos. Always interesting to see the wild parts of foreign lands. looking forward to the valuable lesson!

    Have you hiked up Mt Fuji yet? I did it back in '89 IIRC. Very coold experience, looking in to the rim of a volcano!
    Thanks! Never climbed Fuji and only admired it from a distance. I've seen the condition of the route when it's at its most popular and that is not for me ( I'm more inclined to the southern alps of Japan or Oze). I guess that's why there's a lot of paintings of Fuji from afar but not many taken from that location.

    Props to you for reaching the summit! Did you spend the night at the lodge or did you hike non-stop from dusk to afternoon?

    Off topic but a few years back, a volcano erupted on a popular trail and many lives were lost. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...s-9775110.html .

  5. #5
    johnspenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alt.thomas View Post
    Thanks! Never climbed Fuji and only admired it from a distance. I've seen the condition of the route when it's at its most popular and that is not for me ( I'm more inclined to the southern alps of Japan or Oze). I guess that's why there's a lot of paintings of Fuji from afar but not many taken from that location.

    Props to you for reaching the summit! Did you spend the night at the lodge or did you hike non-stop from dusk to afternoon?

    Off topic but a few years back, a volcano erupted on a popular trail and many lives were lost. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...s-9775110.html .
    I was in the Marine Corps at the time, and we hiked up as a unit. It was pretty cool, you can buy a wooden staff and get it stamped at the different stations as you go up. I still have mine. It certainly wasn't a wilderness experience, but a unique experience nonetheless. We hiked up and down in the same day.

  6. #6
    Member Wilder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnspenn View Post
    I was in the Marine Corps at the time, and we hiked up as a unit. It was pretty cool, you can buy a wooden staff and get it stamped at the different stations as you go up. I still have mine. It certainly wasn't a wilderness experience, but a unique experience nonetheless. We hiked up and down in the same day.
    I climbed fuji twice, first time was with my dad when i was 13 and again in '02. Nothing beats that sunrise over the clouds! i still have both of my staffs with all the stamps.
    Last edited by Wilder; 01-31-2017 at 20:17.

  7. #7
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    Jealous. I've always wanted to hike and tenkara in Japan.

  8. #8
    alt.thomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyjacker View Post
    Jealous. I've always wanted to hike and tenkara in Japan.
    There's lots of places to fish there and have been bothering my father in law to take me.

  9. #9
    rick417's Avatar
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    Good report; I was riveted. Glad you are OK!

  10. #10
    mcspin50's Avatar
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    Beautiful forest. Very interesting to see the shelter so clean and well supplied for hikers. The temple is fascinating. Very glad you got home safely.
    ________________________
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    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ― John Muir

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