Asama-yama; the not very snowy volcano

Mount Asama is the most active volcano on Honshu, the main island of Japan. It commands the skyline around Komoro and Karuizawa and stands at 2568m. It is also featured on the 100 famous mountains of Japan making it a common summer hiking destination.

Robert and my rental car Sally, the Salmon coloured Toyota PIxis. Asamayama in the background
Joel climbing up the bowl at Asama
Robert ascending the upper slopes of Asama

Being the tallest mountain in the area and being positioned to the east of main alps, it doesn’t receive as much snow and what it does receive is heavily scoured by the wind. Whole sides of the mountain exposed to the south and west have almost zero snow having been blown away by the extreme winds that the area receives and the remaining snow being melted away by the sun warming the exposed rock. The volcano also has a continual plume of gas being emitted from the crater.

Joel approaching the summit. Nothing but rock up here.
Robert and the Asama crater

The skiing down was not great skiing, but I can imagine that rare non-windy storm would produce magical knee deep powder down mellow alpine slopes for more than 1000m. It could be awesome. But it wasn’t today.

Robert skiing down the north-east bowl of Asama