The weather today was mixed, heavy rain/snow mix overnight and warm temps with lots of clouds over the high peaks ruled out doing any meaningful alpine touring today. So Nate, Andrea and I decided to have an adventure skiing something cool that isn’t too high up in the clouds. Cortina ski resort in Hakuba is a mecca for storm-pow skiing. The ski resort features mellow-ish tree skiing at lower elevations protected from the wind and located in a snow-catching northern end of the Valley. But hidden from view behind the ski resort is a large landslide face that is commonly referred to as the Diaharoku. From the highpoint, located a stones throw from the unload station of Chair 4 at Cortina, there is a steep, cliffy, couloir that snakes through the landslide and out to the valley bottom.
The top of the couloir a near vertical entry that requires a rappel to negotiate. Thankfully there is an easy tree anchor right near the edge, almost like it’s planted specifically for that purpose.
Unfortunately, the end of the 60m rope wasn’t quite long enough to get us all the way to a safe skiable zone and we needed an extra few metres. Nate and Andrea tied some extra cordelette to one of the ends of the doubled over rope and with me on the rope with an ATC they rappelled down with skis and boards on to the better skiable line.
I had to add three extra dyneema loops to the end of the cordellete to increase the length of the doubled over rope enough to make the second rappel location and still be able to pull the 60m (and extra gear) down to recover.
After that there was some steep careful skiing (and sidestepping) to do to get down the couloir far enough to be at a comfortable angle and width of the couloir.
That couloir was definitely the steepest thing I’ve skied so far this season in Hakuba. Most of the time, things look steep from afar in Japan, but when you get close, it’s not nearly as steep as it looked. This wasn’t the case, steeper!