Sunday, December 25, 2011

winter cache

I love winter break especially when we have a white Christmas, even more when there's enough to ski. During break I get to eat(and cook) as much as I want, drink as much and hike and ski almost as much as I want to.

the golden glow in the distance is the Seto Inland sea area (内海) the sea itself is sometimes visible from here. It's the industrial heart of Japan in many places. About 60 km as the crow flies. The weather along the inland sea or naikai is remarkably different from ours. Usually sunny and dry compared to us.

at the right of this shot you can see the factories of Himeji, the largest city near us, about an hour on the toll road. Its golden glow of sunshine tempts us with shopping malls, Indian restaurants and other sophistication. It's nice to indulge every few months or so.

Back at home where the weather in winter can be sunny 3 days a month if you are unlucky, I was hatching a scheme. I'm 46 going on 47. Getting my self plus gear up to the beautiful snow requires more effort than driving to the ski resort, but each has their place. A small 10x10 cabin up here would be nice but illegal to build. So I decided to make a cache of the heaviest items needed for winter camping. My gear is mostly about 20 years old or more and slowly being replaced with more modern, lightweight counterparts. But without a NASA budget and the shacho (boss) ever vigilant, I still have to make due with some bulky items. Those were destined for the cache. If a badger or fox decides to make a nice nest of them I won't mind too much, but have to clean it up or course.

On Christmas afternoon it was placed on the summit, before the storm closed off the easy access by road. The plan is to hike to the cache and not have to carry an extra 8kgs.

Can you spot the hidden cache? Now it's probably covered with a meter of snow.

Now heading up the long way

a tempting bowl waiting to be dropped in on

In the distance the summit awaits still 3-4 hours away.

another 2 hours of breaking trail and it seems I won't reach the goal by dark, perhaps I placed it too far

I'll have to try another time to make it all the way

heading home
a sea of clouds, called unkai, forming in our valley


  1. Hey! Good idea on the cache (under the snow). Up a tree and sooner or later somebody'd surely see it, maybe even remove it.

    Great views to take in there - Primeval unkyou. I wonder how many other people in your area ski the woods like you do? I bet you've got free range and fresh runs all season long (when you're free from civ. of course).



  2. And an idea on Caches as Bug-out camp(s): there was this great thread at reddit, Building a Backwoods Hide-out ( ). [copy/paste]

    One idea was to set up a bunch of small and unobtrusive caches in different places so that you don't run the risk of everything being discovered and taken all at once.


  3. Hi Ken,

    Thanks for the link some good advice there. I had the same thoughts about up the tree or on the ground, hope I made the right choice. I was up there again today and running it over and the multiple cache idea seems good. Like the trap-line system in the Taiga video, that was awesome btw, it motivated me to get myself up in the hills again more. If you ever want to or have the time for a winter mountain trip either here or somewhere wilder like Gifu? let me know,


  4. Oh btw, haven't seen anyone else skiing around here ever, not that it hasn't been done but I think most skiers would stick to the big name mountains with longer runs and more open summits, like 氷ノ山 Hyounosen, fine by me ;)

  5. beautiful pictures John, hey we saw snow today in Kyushu, alas it melts when it hits the ground.