Saturday, January 22, 2005

Another man lost on Hakkouda

I learned this week that a foreign fella got lost on Hakkouda mountain last weekend, and spent the night up there. I can hardly imagine what a nightmare experience that must have been. I was at the ropeway today, and the weather was biting. The wind was criminal off the top. In fact, after the first lift went up, I watched as skiers walked up to the exit and laughed in amazement at the weather outside. Spending a night lost on a dark mountain is one thing, but trudging through 3 metres of snow at such low temperatures isn't worth contemplation. Getting lost at Hakkouda could quite easily turn Touhoku's greatest powder resort into it's loneliest graveyard. Nasty. The guy was an American off the local base, who was there for the first time.

As for the rest of us, why do we do it? Because we love the pain, no doubt.

I still don't know what happened with regard to the car that was impounded by the police just outside the ropeway station a couple of weeks back. Attention was raised after it had sat there for three days unaffected and buried in snow. Someone had called the police on suspicion of it belonging to a group who might have got lost in the backcountry. The number plate was from Hiroshima, suggesting that they were not from round here and probably didn't know the mountain all that well.

Today was cold at the top. Around -14 degrees, but given the wind chill factor it felt like -30. A jolly good day was had by most of us though. And even Reyn enjoyed himself along the way, despite being stuck on fun skis in serious snow.

Dark clouds at Hakkoda. They break whenever and wherever they like.

Reyn getting his boots off.

Hugh after a good hard day on the mountain.

The road back home.

My bright blue ski pants.

Careful on the mountain folks.