Hakuba Sanzan is the name of the three mountain complex of Hakuba valley; Yarigatake (2896m), Sakushidake (2812m) and Shiroumadake (2932m). Sakushidake being the smallest of the three is apparently often overlooked as an objective in winter. In winter, the three mountains are situated far enough away from ski resorts that they see little traffic. In summer, extensive walking tracks and hut infrastructure exists on the ridge tops that the mountains see a fair bit a traffic.
But Sakushi was Nate and I’s objective for today, Saturday, 17 March 2018. There had been a few cm of new snow up high after the latest rain event and the strong winds during the storm had created variable wind slabs which made boot packing up the ridge sometimes difficult (and the skiing somewhat difficult too). Luckily, we had the occasional wind gust but mostly just light winds and sunshine all day.
We didn’t see anyone else up on the mountain, but we weren’t alone.
We ended up boot packing / crampon’ing the majority of the upper section of the mountain.
It took Nate and I about 7.5hrs to make the summit, at a casual pace, from the Obinata road parking spot.
We decided to descend the south face of Sakushidake, snow conditions were variable, with occasional powder, wind slab, breakable crust and as we descended further, some nice corn snow and finally super-slush. Hard to win the quality snow jackpot on a 2000 vertical metre descent.
We exited via a river valley that runs behind Obinata and connects in with the normal Happo north face exit road. It was filled in and easy travel. A good full day in the mountains.