Japan

Yarigatake

Japan day 13

Half past five I set off with little faith in getting where I wanted, which in general is on top of things, this time literally.  In particular on top of Yarigatake a.k.a. Mount yari.  I had caught a cold and wasn’t feeling that well. Also, thunderstorms were predicted from before noon. I could always turn around, though. 

It started off with a winding gravel/forest road, which later turned into a quite jumbled and rocky path. At least it was well trodden and nicely marked with pink ribbons and/or white circles on the rocks. 

As I was nearing today’s halfway point clouds started to form on what had previously been a clear sky. I passed a handful of Japanese hikers, but was the only foreigner.

It was going well, but then the trail got beyond the timberline and into a steep and very rocky section. I saw what must’ve been a bit of fresh blood on the trail and droplets leading away from it. It would be easy to trip here of you weren’t careful but it wasn’t yet all that treacherous yet. 

My energy was starting to dwindle, when the crest appeared and not long after that a surprisingly large mountain hut came into view here in the middle of nowhere. I left most of my stuff there, borrowed a rock climbing helmet and made for the last short stretch. But what a stretch. I looked at the sharp spike ahead with incredulity. It was halfway climbing and some of the way there were chains and nearly vertical iron ladders to assist. Boy were they needed! There was still an all to real possibility to fall to your death far below if you weren’t careful with your footing. Spoiler alert: I didn’t die. But I was quite shaken when I eventually made it to the top. The views were breathtaking, though, and there was a small shine as well. That was 3180m (10433 feet) or approximately 1600m (5200 feet). Wanting to get the descent over with, I didn’t stay for long. I took it very slowly, and luckily, it didn’t turn out as bad as I had anticipated, which is to say that it was still quite bad. I am never doing that again!

Back at the hut there was a decent dinner, but again I was the only foreigner, so there wasn’t much conversation during it for my part, but it didn’t bother me too much. Overall it had been quite jolly good day, and the thought of not having to think about that vertiginous mountain top again also makes me happy. 

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