“A Mish a Day” #13 (Part 2) Mt Hotakadake(3190m) Kamicochi Azumi,Nagano. 7.6.2013. We found ourselves standing on the roof of Japan, with peak after peak drifting away to a blur on the horizon. To the south east stood Japan’s 2nd tallest peak, Mt Kita(3193m), and for a brief second we saw the distinctive cone of Mt Fuji(3776m).
After a few photos, and paying respect to the mountain at the shrine on the summit, we began our descent. As always, going down was far more nerve testing than going up, and down climbing a rusty, loose old ladder is a great way to lose excess weight through a heightened heart rate. After returning to the saddle we altered our route down, so as to avoid rockfall caused by the afternoon sun on the spring snowpack. We were advised to avoid the snow fields, as the rockfall had caused many injuries recently. We got to a point where we could see back down to the tent and the lodge, and we could also see a lone climber making his way up the snowface. Within seconds of seeing him we heard the loud crackle of loose rock flying down the face, and instantly we began to yell warnings that pieces of the mountain were heading his way! With a terrible feeling of hopelessness we watched the drama unfounding beneath us, and to our amazement the fella somehow dodged the assault of rock that was fired his way.
This made us even more cautious as we continued on, arriving back at our campsite in the afternoon. It was decided that we would push on, and aim to spend that night at our first campsite, beside the constant hum of the Takahara River. A victory toast with a vending machine beer from outside the lodge was made, as we enjoyed the still evening at camp that night. For an introduction to the alpine areas of Japan, the trip couldn’t have gone any better. And as we wandered alongside the river back to the bus station, I knew even before finishing this mission that at some stage I will be back to the Hida Mountains for another Mish!