Ice climbing Yukawa ・湯川でアイスクライミング
Ice climbing from Ishikawa always means a long trip, as we have lots of snow, but not lots of ice. In January I went ice climbing to Yukawa, a nice place in Nagano-ken near Yatsugadake.
As often in the area, the weather was horrible when we left. Heavy snow fall, white highway, we couldn’t go faster than 30km/h, which made the trip much longer than expected.
After 7 instead of 5 hours we finally did arrive in Yukawa, passed the Onsen/Minshuku we have reserved for the night, and continued up to the climbing area. Without 4WD we had to leave the car about 30min on foot from the last parking, still not bad an access. Arriving at the first climbing spot we were greeted by several other parties enjoying the easy access, easy setup, and decent ice.
Without warming up I started to lead a pitch on the right, which turned out to be more difficult then expected, due to thin ice. After that Masumi and me climbed from right to left practically all routes in this area.
As we have started late, we continued all the way till after 5pm, then hurried back to the car on very slippy terrain, and back to the Minshuku for Onsen and dinner.
The Minshuku was excellent, a nice central room surrounded by rooms for the guests, all ice climbers (the place gives a reduction for ice climbers!). The Onsen had excellent water quality, if only the water temperature in the Rotemburo would have been higher – after ice climbing you do not want to freeze in 32 degree water, you need something much warmer!
After warming up in the onsen and spreading out the wet clothes for drying in the room, we were served an excellent dinner with lots of bells and whistles, and of course lots of beer and sake!
On the second day we first set up a long top rope opposite the first day’s area, a challenging steep ice fall with lots of columns. On the plus side, the sun shone onto the ice fall, which made it a bit soft, a bit warm, and nice for photos.
After that we moved to the next area, a long valley with ice falls on both sides, with top rope points above reachable from the road. Fortunately, because we were short on time, a mountain guide we met there was so nice to let us use their ropes for climbing. Big thanks!
As it happens sometimes, while climbing I was hit by a piece of ice, with disastrous effects: Now my model like nose has a scratch!
Around 1pm we left the area, trotted back to the car. It was the first excursion in my new mountaineering boots, and I was so happy, no wet socks, no frozen toes, just perfect!
After another dip in the Onsen we started the long ride back home to Ishikawa. Fortunately this time the weather was nice, the street was dry, so we were much faster. Thanks Masumi for the great time, and hopefully soon we can go for another ice climbing trip.
More photos at the gallery: Ice climbing Yukawa January 2013
Map of the area: