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The Horse's Mouth

VIEWS: 49 PAGES: 10

									                                            The International Outdoor Club
___________________________________________________
Volume XVII number 6                                January/February   2010



   The Horse's Mouth
                   Volume XVII No.6 January/February 2010
                        Newsletter Editor: Madeleine
                     IOC website: www.iockansai.com




This Issue:
Climbing at Eboshi Iwa
A New Year's Hike on Mt. Maya
Bunagatake Winter Traverse
Shirakawago Snowshoe Hiking
Ontake San Snow Tour
Supplement: Ontake San Winter Climb
                                                                 The International Outdoor Club
___________________________________________________
Volume XVII number 6                                                         January/February         2010
Climbing at Eboshi Iwa
6th December
Dominikus, Mauricio, Ainhoa, Fiona, Michael, Ryoh, Sachi


                               There are two crags in Dohjo. One of them is Fudo-iwa where you can enjoy
                             several types of climbing. The other one is Eboshi-iwa which has routes for free
                             climbing. Eboshi means an old tall hat in Japanese. That area is suitable for
                             beginners and is the most popular crag in Kansai. There
                             have been many climbers at Eboshi-iwa recently, so it
                             has been very crowded. We went to Eboshi. Sachi and
                             I happened to meet Ainhoa at Osaka station. We arrived
                             at Dohjo station at 9:00 and Dominikus and Mauricio
were already there.
       In the morning, the 5 of us really enjoyed climbing despite the area being very
crowded as usual. Around lunch time, Fiona and Michael who came from Australia got
to Eboshi and joined us.   They are former IOC members. They had arrived in Japan (Kansai airport) the
                                     previous night at midnight (5th December)! Woo! They are tough!
                                             7 members enjoyed climbing this time, but I hope more
                                     members will join us next time.       Thanks Dominikus for arranging
                                     "climbing in Dohjo".
                                                                                                    By Ryoh
                                                                   The International Outdoor Club
___________________________________________________
Volume XVII number 6                                                           January/February         2010
A New Year's Hike on Mt. Maya
10th January 2010


        For my first IOC Kansai hike I was prepared for torrential
rain - waterproof backpack, boots, and rain slicker. I was wearing
more layers than an Inuit fisherwoman. Fortunately, the weather
was cold, crisp and clear that day.
        We met at 10am at Hankyuu Rokkou station, nestled at the
base of the hills that hug Kobe's shoreline. Our group of 20+ hikers
hit the pavement, threading our way along the steep roads and past
the tall houses that obscured the mountain from view.             An
extremely chatty person, I found myself lagging behind the group
many times and I had to scurry to catch up. Certainly the most
interesting component of a group hike is getting to know new and interesting people! And the trees were
lovely, too.
                                                        I was surprised when we left the tarmac behind and
                                                     found ourselves, precipitously, in the woods, no picket
                                                     fences in sight. The trees and shrubs were rather thin
                                                     around the base of the mountain and the sun exposure
                                                     warmed the air - it felt like late spring at some points
                                                     along the route. Occasionally, we met other hikers who
                                                     looked equally over-warm in their polar fleeces.
                                                        A few metal stairs and a restroom break later, we
                                                     arrived at a large pond sitting in the peak's morning
shadow. Ice tenuously extended several meters from the shore and crisply crunched under our boots as we
toed the water's edge.
        Past the frozen pond we found a run-off channel decorated with a waterfall of glistening icicles and
took a group photo. It was difficult to squeeze so many people into the narrow margin necessary, but we got
real friendly with our neighbors and squashed in
tight like Emperor penguins during a blizzard.
        The view from the peak was stunning and
unexpected. Kobe lay spread before us, seeping
into the clouds around the mountains and bays.
The sun was bright and the air crisp and clean.
        We were all very appreciative that the
nabe making supplies were brought up and then
the nabe was kindly prepared for us.         While
waiting for our two nabe to cook, the group
chatted, enjoyed the view, and drank wine. We
                                                                   The International Outdoor Club
___________________________________________________
Volume XVII number 6                                                           January/February         2010
were not alone at the top - several other families and couples enjoyed the cold view from the top.
       Once we had eaten our fill of nabe and cleaned up the picnic site we began the trek back down the
mountain, along a different, more forested path. Along the way we came upon an abandoned and demolished
shrine site. All that remained were stone foundations on a flat and grassy stretch of land with a clear view of
Kobe. A remarkable sight, surely.
       Back among the houses and cars, we said our goodbyes.
       I enjoyed my first hike with the IOC very much and hope that it is the first of many.


                                                                                                      By Erica
                                                                   The International Outdoor Club
___________________________________________________
Volume XVII number 6                                                           January/February           2010
Bunagatake Winter Traverse
January 11th, 2010


            This is one of the classic and most beautiful hikes in Kansai, especially in winter. I would normally
consider it as a 2-star event, but for Mana, who came all the way from Kobe in the morning, it was definitely a
three star event. The early departure at 7:45am from Demachiyanagi was probably the reason that no one
else signed up for the hike.
            I was quite surprised that the bus was so empty, especially since it was a Sunday and the weather
was really nice. The start of the hike at Bomura was quite chilly and the path a mixture of mud and ice. Soon
thereafter the trail became snow-covered and a bit slippery. But definitely not enough for the full equipment
that some of the Japanese hikers were carrying that day! We reached Bunagatake well before noon, partly
because the amounts of snow on the ascent trail were much less than we expected. This changed completely
once we left the summit and headed towards Iburugi-no-koba: we waded through deep snow until we got
deeper into the forest.
            At the bottom of the old skiing slopes, we ran into another big group of Japanese hikers and again
I got the impression that they were on the way to a five week Himalayan expedition, just looking at all their
gear. There was also a huge igloo that apparently had been built by professionals, since the walls were built
of regular square blocks of ice; even the entrance was lower than ground level! Mana and I could not resist,
we had to inspect the igloo and that’s where the funny photo is from...
            Those of you who know JR Hira station might remember that there is a small food shop next to
the station. When we came down from the mountains, an old lady - apparently the shop owner - was
desperately looking for customers and “from the goodness of our hearts” we decided to leave some money
there for delicious Takoyaki.


                                                                                                  By Dominikus
                                                                   The International Outdoor Club
___________________________________________________
Volume XVII number 6                                                           January/February           2010
Shirakawago Snowshoe Hiking
Jan.16-17
Leader: Koji
Participants: Darren, Noriko
                                                              Snow, snow and snow! Three meters of snow
                                                              and a perfect sunny sky were waiting for us at
                                                              Shirakawago, a world heritage town in Gifu. We
                                                              left Osaka at 9am and were standing at the
                                                              viewpoint at 3:30pm after 1.5 hours of snowshoe
                                                              hiking.
                                                              Koji, Darren and me led the way in rotation,
                                                              struggling to make our way across the newly
                                                              covered area. It was rather easy to get sweaty so
                                                              the gentlemen often offered me ‘ladies first’ -
                                                              thank you. People usually go to the observatory
by car and nobody else was wearing snowshoes like us… but there’s no doubt
that I really enjoyed the hike.
        After coming down easily, we headed for our lovely accommodation,
Toyota Shirakawago Eco Institute.


[http://www.toyota.eco-inst.jp/main.html]




        It’s a very cosy hotel owned by Toyota. We paid only 9,600 yen for a bed, a half course French
dinner, buffet style breakfast, nice onsen and 1 hour guided nature tour the next morning.            I strongly
recommend this place to those who want to enjoy the outdoors, Japanese tradition and a comfortable night at
the same time! It’s very popular and you need to book in advance. We had another hike up a hill after the
guided tour, had lunch - Hida beef for me and Koji, bear pot for Darren - and then came back to Osaka.
        Thank you Koji for arranging this well organised tour. I’m coming back to this place next year!
                                                                                                      By Noriko
                                                                     The International Outdoor Club
___________________________________________________
Volume XVII number 6                                                              January/February           2010




★☆★ Ontake san Snow Tour ★☆★
6th-7th Feb 2010


IOC members: Dominikus, Fred, Kanako, Koji, Mana, Noriko, Ryoh, Sachi, Seiji, Yuri


        This event really was a great one for me. Firstly, because it was a joint IOC and IAC event so we
made many new friends. Secondly, because it was my first experience of snowshoeing in such a nice setting
- read on for the details!
        Unfortunately, the day we set out for our trip was the coldest day this winter. It was difficult to drive to
the Ontake san ski area due to slow traffic on the expressways and an icy road leading up the mountain to
1680m altitude. As the weather forecast predicted, Saturday was really really cold with strong winds. I went
snowboarding, some other IOC and IAC members went skiing or snowboarding as well while the rest of the
group decided to opt for snowshoeing. This was probably a wise decision since all lifts except for the lowest
one were closed because of the strong gales. I was really hoping for good weather on the following day!
        After we arrived at our accommodation, the Kyukamura lodge, we enjoyed the hot bath before we had
tasty sukiyaki and nabe, accompanied by some beers. After dinner, we all met for a nice party, packed
together in one of our rooms. Dominikus made hot wine as usual and everybody brought some good drinks
and snacks. We had a good time chatting with known and new members of both clubs and it became quite
late.
        When I woke up the next morning, I saw that my wishes had been heard: it was definitely nice weather
although the wind was still very strong.       Ryoh, Sachi, Noriko, Yuri, Mana, Fuyuko (IAC) and me went
snowshoeing. We climbed from the bottom of the skiing area at 1,680m to the top of the Gondola at 2,240m.
Indeed, the wind was strong - again all lifts(except for the lowest one) were closed, this time right from the
morning. Which meant that nobody was on the slopes except for us - it was like private skiing!
        The sky was very clear and the views of the surrounding mountains were so amazing that it took my
breath away. Also, our snowshoeing team was a great team. I felt really happy that I joined this event and
that I could spend two days with so many nice people at Ontake san.


                                                                                             By Kanako Nishimura
                                                                    The International Outdoor Club
___________________________________________________
Volume XVII number 6                                                              January/February       2010
Supplement: Ontake san Winter Climb


       Like Kanako, I was looking forward very much to this trip. It required a lot of work to organize the
arrival and meeting of IOC and IAC people on Saturday morning. In the end, it turned out that only one
person could not make it to the meeting place in time - exactly the one with whom I was planning to climb to
the summit on that day!
       The weather conditions really weren't good for a summit attempt, strong winds at the bottom meant
that up there on the ridge (Ontake san is 3067m high), severe gales were to be expected. The visibility was
limited at the skiing slopes and dropped to less than 30m higher up, and it continued snowing. A good day to
relax in the hut? No! I decided to give it a go and start from 1680m to check out the snow and ice conditions
beyond the skiing area (i.e. above 2240m) and to explore the climbing route. In the back of my head, of
course, I was also considering the option of getting to the summit that day ...
       The weather conditions above the skiing area, however, were so severe that it was almost impossible
to navigate or to withstand the strong gales. The snow conditions made the climb much harder, but they
turned out to be safe from avalanches. The flat area and the gentle slopes immediately above the Gondola
were loaded with fresh snow and breaking the trail was tough. Higher up, where the slopes became really
steep and potentially prone to avalanches, the strong wind had blown away the fresh snow and all that
remained was a harsh - but not icy - layer of old and well-settled snow. The really treacherous aspects of the
climb were the extremely cold and strong winds and almost zero visibility. They forced me to turn around only
fifteen minutes before the summit! The positive thing about this was that my motivation to try it again on the
next day was even higher than before.
       On Sunday morning, the weather was indeed better than the day before, but the winds were still fierce!
My climbing buddy Yves and I planned to take the Gondola up to 2240m this time to shorten the climb and
therefore we queued up at the ticket counter at 8am. But the Gondola did not open because of the weather
conditions. Since no one could tell us if and when it would start to operate, we decided to attempt the full
climb from the bottom. This was quite annoying since it meant that we could have left earlier in the morning
and since I was tired from the long climb the day before ...
       As we climbed higher and higher, the clouds, which covered the upper part of the mountain in the
morning, rose higher as well and by the time we reached the 8 th station, they disappeared completely. Our
climb up to this point was facilitated considerably by a Japanese couple who broke the trail in the lower, snow-
loaded section. (My track from Saturday did not exist anymore due to the snowfalls and winds overnight.)
Also the temperatures were much more comfortable than the day before. Above the 8 th station, the climb
became a real challenge because of the gales and the steep slopes. There I realized why it is actually called
back-country skiing and not back-country snowboarding - simply because climbing with snowshoes and
carrying a snowboard on your back is way more exhausting and very inconvenient, compared to skinning up
with skis and the appropriate crampons attached to them. Yves had a hard time between the 8 th and 9th
stations, especially because the wind was pulling hard and continuously on his snowboard.
                                                                    The International Outdoor Club
___________________________________________________
Volume XVII number 6                                                   January/February 2010
             th
     At the 9 station, we decided to take a break, leave the skis, snowshoes and snowboard and then
continue on crampons - travel light and quickly! After digging ourselves into the shelter (which I could not find
the day before although I passed within 20 meters of it), we were surprised how warm it was inside without the
wind. A fresh supply of energy (many thanks to Calorimate), some hot tea and a much lighter pack revived
our tired legs and we headed quickly to the top. At 1:37pm, we stood on the summit, amazed by the great
views of the Minami Alps, the Kita Alps and, last but not least, the majestic Fuji san.
       By the time we came back to the shelter, we realized that the winds had eased considerably. We put
on our skis and snowboard and enjoyed fantastic free-riding all the way down to Ta-no-hara. After a short
climb uphill to the skiing area, we headed down to meet Mana and Yuri who were awaiting us at the car park.
The clear view back to Ontake san showed us how far we had climbed up and down in one day - 2.5 vertical
kilometers.
       Many thanks to Yves for being my partner on that challenging trip - I hope we meet each other soon
for another great climb to one of Japan’s summits.


                                                                                                  By Dominikus




                                                                                                  At the Summit
                                                                  The International Outdoor Club
___________________________________________________
Volume XVII number 6                                                          January/February          2010
Club Information


The Members
As of January 2010, we have 92 members (50 female, 42 male).


Website
Please check our website for up-to-date club information: http://www.iockansai.com/


Activity and Newsletter Submissions
Please send any activity proposals or new events to the Committee at the addresses listed below. Send all
articles and photos for the newsletter to Madeleine.


IOC Equipment
IOC equipment can be rented or borrowed from our Equipment Coordinator, Dominic. At the moment the IOC
owns the following items: 5 pairs of snowshoes, 4 tents, 2 pots, 1 slide projector, 5 slide trays, 1 BBQ set, 2
BBQ grills plus stands, 1 emergency kit, 1 emergency shelter, 1 shovel and 1 whiteboard and a wide range of
maps. We are currently working on a way for you to access more detailed information about the equipment
directly from our website. Until then, please be patient and contact Dominic for any requests.


IOC Maps
For a current list of maps please check our website: http://iockansai.com/members/hikingmaps/


Contact info
President:                     Dominikus Heinzeller          ioc_president@iockansai.com
Vice President:                Dominic Edsall                ioc_vicepresident@iockansai.com
Correspondant:                 Dominikus Heinzeller          correspondant@iockansai.com
Activity Coordinator:          Dominic Edsall                ioc_activities@iockansai.com
Special Events Coordinator:    Yuri Takakura                 ioc_specialevents@iockansai.com
Treasurer:                     Kuriko Ito                    ioc_treasurer@iockansai.com
Secretary:                     Junko Abe                     ioc_secretary@iockansai.com
Webmaster:                     Dominikus Heinzeller          ioc_webmaster@iockansai.com
Equipment Coordinator:         Dominic Edsall                ioc_equipment@iockansai.com
Newsletter:                    Madeleine Swann               ioc_newsletter@iockansai.com

								
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