Saturday, February 4, 2012

To ski or not to ski, that is the question

Going up the first pitch the lowest bowl is filling with snow
It is south facing and melts and re-freezes on sunny days
it looks so tempting, but not a good idea to go out in the middle

All the snow is  riding on top of dense sasa bamboo grass,
not exactly the best base layer, will it slide or will the sasa anchor it?
also if you hit a pocket your ski can easily fall in and twist something

The snow has really built up into a beautiful cornice
the drop to the right is a great run
I cache my hiking boots in a snow hole on top and continue from there on skis

Nearing Futougamine it's a real winter wonderland
luckily 2 people are ahead of me and are breaking a nice trail
on snowshoes.  One of the perks of getting a late start is if anyone else
is climbing, they get to do the hard stuff, haha.

3 huge pines mark the last pitch

looking backwards towards Daruma, this pitch is a challenge and a  half to ski down
needless to say I take it really slow and do a lot of side stepping

an idea of the snow depth this year

Looking towards the summit of Futougamine from the ridge of the "zig-zag" route, with the col and Darumagamine to the right.

On the summit of Futougamine I spot ski tracks heading off towards the ridge going down
the "zig-zag" route.  I've always wanted to take this route down, but in winter without previous tracks
it is hard to follow.  Excitedly I follow down the new route.  The ski tracks quickly turn to snowshoe tracks.
Hmmmm...okay this guy doesn't like powder I guess?  A quarter of the way down I realize oh no, my cached
boots on Daruma! Now I have gear all over the place. Nobody will bother my stash hopefully. I once saw a pair of forgotten MSR snowshoes sit in the parking lot for 2 weeks, never touched.  Have to make a quick run up
tomorrow or the next day to retrieve my boots, without a full pack and skis it'll take less than 2hrs 

This is as far as skis will take me down the "zig-zag" route, about halfway.
By now realizing this guy isn't going down, he's going up! Damn, thought my  tracking skills were a little sharper.

Beautiful rock formations

a lone fir モミ

on the rindou 林道 woods road it 's a nice 2km downhill tour with a small climb and then
another 2km walk on a paved road back to the car
The zig-zag route down at left, and col route up at right ,10m contours

An old copper mine off the rindou

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