Mount Asama (浅間山) covered by snow

 In Hyakumeizan (百名山), Outing report

Weather forecast was constantly changing last week-end to finally lean towards quite nice weather. Decided at the last minute, we went for a snow hike/snowshoe to Kurofuyama (黒斑山) facing Mount Asama (浅間山).

The first part of the itinerary, which leads to Kurofuyama‘s cliffs, was quite easy. Regularly walked by hikers the snow was packed and snowshoe not necessary.

snow hiking in the woods to Kurofuyama 1snow hiking in the woods to Kurofuyama 2snow hiking in the woods to Kurofuyama 3

When we reached the cliffs, big clouds prevented us to see anything. But by the time we ate our lunch, the sky suddenly cleared off and we could enjoy the beautiful landscapes while following the cliffs to the top of Kurofuyama. The steep cliffs on one side and the perfect cone shape of Mount Asama volcano on the other side is a unique scenery that I never get tired off.

On the ridge to KurofuyamaLooking at Mount AsamaKurofuyama to Jakotsudake cliffsMount Asama panorama

After that I decided to add some spice to the trip. As the conditions were good, I decided to go down the cliffs through a gully were the summer trail is to go back down toAsama-sansō lodge (浅間山荘) instead of going back the same way we came. Steep, covered by snow and going through big black rocks, the atmosphere felt a bit threatening.

On the way down from Kurofuyama 1the route down from KurofuyamaOn the way down from Kurofuyama 3On the way down from Kurofuyama 4

But it’s there, in the middle of the gully, that, as I expected, we had the chance to see two Kamoshika (Japanese Serow): a mother with her 1 or 2 year old baby eating the grass exposed by the wind which blew off the snow.

KamoshikaKamoshika ans Mount AsamaKamoshika in front of Mount Asama

With the break in the weather which let us enjoy the views, the Kamoshikas and the fun of the descent in the gully it was a very nice trip. After we went to say hello to the guy who lives at the emergency hut of Kazankan (火山館), we hurried up to go down to relax in the onsen of Asama-sansō lodge before going back to Tōkyō.

Leaving KazankanBack to Asamasanso

Maps

Necessary maps are:
1/25000地形図、浅間山、長野6号-4、 NJ-54-36-6-4 (Asamayama, Nagano 6-4, NJ-54-36-6-4)
1/25000地形図、車坂峠、長野10号-2、 NJ-54-36-10-2 (Kurumazakatoge, Nagano 10-2, NJ-54-36-10-2)

 
Elevation Profile

GPX file GPS: kurofuyama.gpx.

Security

If you just do the trip back and forth from Kurumazakatoge (車坂峠) pass to Kurofuyama, there is no dangerous area. At this period of the year you will be more comfortable with hiking crampons (the ones with 6 spikes) than snowshoes as the snow is completely packed on this short and easy itinerary due to all the people going there. Crampons or snowshoes are still recommended to avoid slipping and falling down the cliffs when on the ridge leading to Kurofuyama summit.

However, if, like on this trip, you decide to go down to Asama-sansō lodge (浅間山荘), the technical and danger level increase significantly. It is no more a simple snow hike or snowshoe trip. The way down the cliff can be dangerous depending on conditions. Depending on snow conditions the gullies can be exposed to avalanches. On the other side if there is few snow and the ice comes out, you will need to be confident on your crampons. In any case going done the cliffs must be made with mountaineering crampons (12 spikes) – not with snowshoes – and requires mountaineering techniques and gears. A rope might be necessary depending on conditions and your level.

Useful Information about Mount Asama

You will find all the information (mountain lodges, access, security…) regarding the Mount Asama area in this article.

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