Yarigatake; a hakuba classic

On Saturday, 24 March 2018, Nate, Luke Smith, Camille and I set off at 4:30am from the carpark at the Happo North bridge to ski a classic line in Hakuba, the east face and couloir of Hakuba Yarigatake (2903m). The hike up from the carpark to the summit is over 2000 vertical metres and took us about 8 hours to get to the summit.

Hakuba Yarigatake east face and couloir

The walk up the happo north exit road in the dark was uneventful and quiet under the stars and eventually alpenglow on the mountains.

Camille and Nate walking in the dark

We walked up valley that leads from Yarigatake and Shakushidake into the Happo north exit valley. Nate and I had recently skied out this valley from Shakushidake and knew that we could get through the valley quickly and in the freeze of the morning a relatively safe route. This is not the usual route for climbing the mountain, the usual route involves a bit more travel and up and down as you either travel up and over Shakushidake or around Obinata.

Hiking out of the valley
Nate and Joel at the top of the valley

After the valley we got a good view of the mountain and saw that like a lot of lines in Japan, it looks much steeper from a distance than up close.



We hiked up to the lookers left of Yarigatake, which is the easiest approach, but we did have to negotiate quite a bit of old avalanche debris.

Hiking over the old debris

We walked up past Yari onsen, which is a great outdoor natural onsen in the summer but at the moment it’s completely buried. The only sign is the outflow of the pool had melted out the snow.

Camille and the Yari onsen outflow
Luke, Camille, Joel and Nate on the summit of Hakuba Yarigatake

The ski down was a mix of all conditions from firm and edge able to almost powder skiing and everything in between.

Nate dropping into the top of the East face from the summit
Luke boarding the East face above the couloir
Luke boarding the East face above the couloir
Camille skiing the East Face above the couloir
Camille skiing the East Face above the couloir
Camille and Luke riding the East face above the couloir
Joel skiing chalky snow at the entrance of the couloir
Nate boarding in the couloir
Nate boarding in the couloir

Good day out in the mountains on a classic line in Hakuba.

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