Monday, March 27, 2006

Akakura Gorge: different angles

I say 'gorge', but I'm not really sure what kind of mountain term you'd use to describe the area I photographed today. The word 'gorge's is often used synonymously with 'canyon', but I wouldn't go so far as to call this place one of those. Whereas a canyon is either created by a river over time, or has at least got a river running through it, the Akakura area was created by volcanic eruptions in years past. It does have a small river running through it, but that's water flowing from the mountain itself. Anyway, I'll look into it and maybe talk about it some other time.

Today I managed to make my first ascent this year to the top of Akakura dake. It was a grand old day outside today, and so long as you didn't stand close to the edge there were no 30m/sec winds to bend you sideways.

The snow was patchy, with icy areas and soft stuff that had drifted from elsewhere on the other side of the mountain. You could see it traveling, being whipped up into brief tornado formations by the wind.

I wish I knew how to handle Photoshop a bit better because then I could stick these three shots (above) together. You can see where they meet though.

Patchy snow. This is the bowl that must have been created by the eruption. When the snow's gone you can see a landslide effect of reddish rocks and debris.

Close-up from deep down inside, the other side.

It's a great big area and the thing I find cool about it is that there's absolutely nothing going on down there. It's a very dangerous place to be at any time. In the winter because of avalanches, and any other time of year because of falling rocks. After I was nearly knocked flying by a surprise rock hurtling down the ravine on the south side of the mountain about two years ago, I'm uninclined to put myself in any potential firing line again.

Nearly at the top with this one.

Truth be known, I set off early today and got to Akakura (roughly 1450m) at around 11am. There was plenty of time to stroll towards Iwaki dake (above) and gently make my way up for the first time this year, but I didn't feel good about it, not knowing what the snow-pack was like. Also there was hard wind shooting over the upper ridge, and I had no idea what it'd be like further up. While down here in town springtime seems to be settling in, it's still winter up there and the wind speed is still typical of winter months. I decided to call it a day and stroll back down along my new route, the adjacent ridge.

Brief Edit:

A friend of mine put the three pictures (mentioned above) together and mailed me the image:

Good work, Nick. Thanks a lot.