Spring Japan 2015 | Teil 2 – steil!

Wet Dreams in the Hida Mountains, II: Shakushi Southeast


One cool thing about Hakuba is that many of the biggest, most aethetic lines are are clearly visible from town. Every sunny morning, one can scan the surrounding terrain for signs of instability for the day ahead. While doing this, we usually dream about making turns on many of these lines. Shakushi’s Southeast face, and its spines catch the eye very quickly, though the right opportunity to get on this face has eluded us for years. In late March, an opportunity finally presented itself.

Shakushi Southeast sees immediate direct morning sun, so an early start is imperatuve. We began skinning at 3am with the intention of dropping in around 10am. Slogging for hours in the dark can get depressing, but once the sun starts to rise, it’s all forgotten.

One of the biggest challenges on this face is that the ridge is guarded by overhanging cornices. It took a while, but we were able to find one break in the cornice where we could sneak in.

The entrance was steep and committing. We had perfect corn off the top, but the first few turns were still exciting.