Monday, February 27, 2006

Tree hugging, and other winter sports

Just some stupid shots from last Monday's day out. The cameraman told me to hug a tree, so I did.

Like I said before, I got really excited that day and when I get really excited I sometimes have the urge to take off my clothes. Not really, but it all stemmed from a joke passed between folk on the ropeway about what a lovely day it was and how you could almost whip off your gear and ski down in the noody. Being as excited as I was I decided to have some harmless fun.

I wore the gloves just in case I fell over, and so that I wouldn't catch a cold I strapped my helmet on too.

Got to get a pair of those shades.

Me, with some sensible clothing on.

I like this shot because it quite rightly portrays the mass of snow around the ropeway car park. I might just mention that these shots aren't in fact my own, but were taken by Ian in Aomori. Thanks mate.

I went up today as well, and foolishly forgot my camera. I didn't consider it to be honest because I knew before I went that the ropeway had closed and that I was facing the possibility of a miserable day. As it turns out, the potential for good shots was immense. I hiked up to the top station again, for the first time since last year when I had my eye-lashes frosted together by the wind. This morning's wind speed had picked up and had reached the mid to late twenties (metres per second), which happens from time to time and forces the ropeway to stop running. I wasn't deterred though, and made it up there in pretty good time. I capitalised on what I'd learned from my last attempt at climbing in high winter winds and made a slight detour away from the full clout of the wind at the top. Most of the climb was straight forward, but when I did peer from out of the bowl below the top station I was face to face with one of the strongest winds I've ever known. It down right nearly threw me over. The station was open, so I ducked in there, had a quick drink of water, exchanged a few 'otsukare's' with the only other group of snowshoe folk on the mountain and buggered off back down again. I took the Moke, naturally, since that's where all the snow get's blown when the wind comes in from the North East, and even then I had to negotiate a lot of difficult snow-pack. The woods were sweet though, and made the whole physical exertion worthwhile. But the clouds were dramatic, and a camera would have been well appreciated.

I'm considering what mountains I should climb this year. I'll have a few days around Golden Week and a couple of weeks in the summer, and I really want to get some serious Hokkaido peaks under my belt. I'm pretty set on Hokkaido, both for the mountains and the vibrant bouldering scene up there. I won't be able to do everything, but I know that the North East stretch of the island has goods on offer so I'm going to start looking into it a bit more. The North Alps as well, maybe. The possibilities are vast.