Hakuba Sanzan is the name given to the three famous peaks of the Hakuba valley, Shiroumadake (2932m), Shakushidake (2812m) and Hakuba Yarigatake (2903m). Shirouma is also the tallest mountain in the Hakuba valley. In the last few weeks I’ve skied the other two Sanzan mountains and I’ve previously tried to ski Shirouma but was stopped by the wind. So for my final day in Hakuba, Nate, Andrea and myself went back to Shirouma and skied the south facing couloir off the summit in great spring conditions.
We rode the mountaineering ropeway at Tsugaike ski area and then skinned over the Shizen flats, up to the Korenge ridgeline and then boot-packed the ridgeline up and over the summit of Korenge all the way to the summit of Shirouma. It was a pretty easy day and it took us about 4.5 hours to make the summit of Shirouma.
We had brought lots of tools with us on the walk, boot crampons, ice axes, ropes and equipment to set up a rappel as we thought we might encounter icy ridge top walking and a large cornice that we would have negotiate. Neither of which turned out to be true. The walking was fine on the ridge with boots and the cornice was smaller than it looked from a distance and there were several manageable entrances.
The skiing was great with plenty of sun still keeping the snow warm.
Nate riding down the couloir
Andrea skiing down the couloir
We rode out the couloir down to the valley and out the obinata/dai sekkei road to the parking lot at the bottom. A great sunny, corn snow – and not a 10 hour slog- way to finish my ski season in Hakuba.