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Spring backcountry gathering in Japan

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by damian, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. damian

    damian A Local

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    worse than the blowfish at the Sentinel Ridge campsite? Yes the Bush Patrol has been telling stories after a few beers.....
     
  2. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker Ski Pass: Gold

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    Meh, Selwyn on a bad day!
    Not bad though.
    OK, maybe a tad sick.
    Bestards, may all your Easter eggs be frozen.
     
  3. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    so you got him off his home mod tails after two days. well done.

    Just saw the vid - all 19 secs took an hour to load here. Doesn't look that good.
     
    #253 Snow Blowey, Apr 5, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  4. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    AAHHH i think i just worked out what story you are refering to. Did it involve peeing in very cold wind - or at least trying to? Had stomach cramps laughing about that one after the event.
     
    #254 Snow Blowey, Apr 5, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  5. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter Ski Pass: Gold

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    What has been seen can be unseen. I hope to be seeing at the next gathering [​IMG]
     
    #255 Telemark Phat, Apr 5, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  6. Rimey

    Rimey One of Us

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    Location:
    The modest end of the Great Divide
    This powder is friggin' relentless.
    This morning, all hands headed off to the top of the Tsugasaike Gondola, climbed up the cat track
    then headed off into the forest. Three horn runs later, it got too much for TBP. When the
    lads saw the stains on the front of his daks, enough was enough. Inky and Heinz were assigned to escort him down to the cafeteria. Heinz is a bit of a worry. We suspect he's turning Japanese. Sleeping in the Caf on a timber bench.

    Myself, BW and Damian were left to hang on to our skin track. 1200 vertical later,
    we called it a day. Off to the onsen.

    http://vimeo.com/39881228
     
    #256 Rimey, Apr 6, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  7. BrianWilson

    BrianWilson One of Us

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    Woke up to another morning of fresh snow. The official measure (a sneaker on the snow) shows about 10cms of new snow. Plan is to head off down the road and hit some more trees and if the visibility improves some more open terrain. Should be a great day (your gonna have a great day as the CP cat driver would say).

    Heinz is leaving us today and heading north. The rest of us will probably head out to the camp spot on Sunday for some real backcountry action.
     
  8. andrew7

    andrew7 Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Looks like you guys are having a terrible time [​IMG] Bring on Spring gathering 2013!
     
    #258 andrew7, Apr 7, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  9. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks guys, was a great week, just a bit much for me in the end. Still hard to believe the amount of powder for spring.
    Thanks especially to Damian for doing a great job in organsing this, generously hosting it and showing us a bit of his 'back yard'. Thanks also to Mio and Lloyd for making us feel welcome. Enjoyed the Onsen tour as well.
    Hopefully conditions work out for a good stay at Renge.

    Not really spring conditions in Tokyo either with a very fresh breeze. Wandered through the crowds in Ueno park and Shinobazu celebraing Sakura (Cherry Blossom) time with picnics (not really ideal weather for it). Ended up filling up from various street food stalls - skewered scallops, Yakitori, Grilled sweet potato & Okonomiyaki. Quite a contrast to the more austere look of Ueno park in winter that I previously seen. Checked out the markets in Ameyoko for a while as well.
     
  10. damian

    damian A Local

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    Thanks Heinz. It was good to meet you and share the times amongst us. We are all busy packing for an early departure for a week of camping. Mixed weather coming, with some rain, warmer temps etc. Not enough time to convert this winter snowpack into a great spring pack, but that is the price you pay for deep dry powder in April. Today was simple and fun with some smooth velvet in and out of trees. It snowed hard, then the sun came out with blue skies, then it snowed hard again. This weather is amazing. Tomorrow will be one perfect day for higher aline shots, a rare one. Pity we will be lugging a collective 100kg+ instead [​IMG]
     
    #260 damian, Apr 7, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  11. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Would appear that the guys have headed to the campsite at Renge as planned.
    Weather appears to have been fine all down the island as it is in Hakkoda now.
    This being the case their won`t be any updates from them for the next few days while they are there. Here I have just one old PC with a japanese keyboard (which keeps switching to katakana [​IMG] ), no wireless.

    Rain is forecast for most parts tomorrow, so they could be spending a bit more tent or onsen time. I'll just be skiing the resort up here.
     
    #261 Heinz, Apr 8, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  12. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Internet silence is golden.
     
  13. Ralph_implement

    Ralph_implement A Local

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    Like [​IMG]
     
    #263 Ralph_implement, Apr 9, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  14. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Definately a return to real spring conditions today up the top of the island here in Hakkoda. Warm, sunny and very little wind.

    Joined a japanese group today on a tour as the token Geigin. Was a pretty cruisy tour - probably only had to climb about 400m up two peaks. Got some wind blasted snow up high, then some not quite corn faces and finished with a very long run out in heavy spring snow conditions to the road on the other side of the range where a bus was waiting to drive up 20mins back to the start. Had time to go up the ropeway again for a another run in the resort.
     
  15. benchives

    benchives I forgot how to ski Ski Pass: Gold

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    [​IMG] nice Heinz, what's the name of this resort?
     
    #265 benchives, Apr 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  16. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    It is the Hakkoda range in Aomori prefecture. The 'resort' itself is just a ropeway and a chairlift, but the ropeway gives you access to quite a large amount of terrain you can hike to in good conditions - rare in winter, but possible now.

    I would imagine the boys would have a good day down at Hakuba today as well and had a go at the outdoor onsen at Renge.
     
  17. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    #267 skifree, Apr 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  18. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I was there around that time as well.

    Hakkoda never seems to stay benign for long when I am here. Did a short tour this morning with the japanese group again anticipating rain in the afternoon. More sticky spring snow but still fun. Wind up top just 14m/s. After lunch the rain didn't eventuate but the perenial Hakkoda wind did - 25m/s, so ropeway closed, so called it a day.

    Love the dinners here at the resort hotel though.
     
  19. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Doesn't look that much different now, although the powder has now well and truly gone. There are also still Juhyo (Snow monsters) to be seen but you just have to head a bit higher to see them.
     
    #269 Heinz, Apr 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  20. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    We enjoyed the food as well.
     
  21. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Great day of corn today. Didn't look likely at first with a white out and winds up top, but it all cleared to a sunny day. Did a couple of different routes - not even much skinning involved - very cruisy.
     
  22. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Meanwhile the guys should be re-appearing from their campsite in the next couple of days or so. Will be interested to see how they got on.
     
  23. BrianWilson

    BrianWilson One of Us

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    We have re-emerged from the backcountry today. Went out on Sunday with great weather and plenty of fresh snow. Got a couple of turns on the 700m decent to the Renge Onsen but skiing with the heavy pack didn't give way to many pretty turns.

    We set up camp on Sunday afternoon and enjoyed a great sunset with a couple of beers. Woke up to strong winds and rain on Monday morning. We were confined to the cave and tents for the whole day with no skiing possible. On Tuesday there was some newish snow up high and we skinned up most of the way to Tengu Gardens at 2000m. Wind blown snow and some softer stuff down the bottom led to some good runs. Fast Limey did a calf muscle on the first run and heading back to the camp whilst the Bush Patrol and I did a further two runs for a total of 1000+ vertical for the day.

    Wednesday was another wet and windy day being confined to the cave and tents. It got so wet that the roof of the snow cave sank significantly and some reinforcing with ski poles and a plank of wood was required. Bush Patrol, Inky and Fast Limey stuck it out in the cave even though there was more moisture than a hot onsen. Plenty of beers seemed to help their resolve.

    Thursday dawned bright and clear and Damian the Bush Patrol and myself headed a bit further out onto the range. A climb of 900m vertical in a couple of hours sorted the local from the visitors with Damian leading the way out front by some distance. The views at the top were worth the effort and whilst the skiing back down was a combination of wind blown sago and some heavier snow down below, it was still an enjoyable ski back down the mountain.

    Finished off the day with some beers around the campsite before watching a nice sunset. A perfect way to finish the tour. On Friday morning we packed camp and headed back up the 700m vertical to get back to Hakuba. With rain forecast for Saturday it was an easy decision to break camp a day early. The skin back out was pretty good on soft snow. A couple of tricky bits on the way back up with the Bush Patrol swallowed by a significant glide crack/crevase. One minute he was treversing, next thing he was neck deep in the soup. A quick drop of the pack and some ballet like flexibility to get his skis out of the snow and we were on our way again.

    The ski down from 2150 was difficult with heavy snow hindering progress. Fast Limey had some dicey moments and had some serious reflections on the amount of gear he took on the trip - pretty sure he will be halving the pack next trip. We all made it to the bottom without further incident and are currently enjoying some beers in Damian's lounge room.

    It looks as though we have paid the price for great powder skiing last week with the snow conditions this week. The snow is yet to corn and will require some more days with hotter day time temperatures with colder nights to get the conditions right for spring. We can't complain though as we have had a great trip so far.

    Will look to post some pictures from the trip in the next little while.

    BW.
     
  24. Camelot

    Camelot One of Us

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    Great stuff, sounds like you made the most of challenging conditions [​IMG]
     
    #274 Camelot, Apr 13, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  25. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sounds like THE GAP has a japanese cousin!!

    All sounds like fun - especially sitting in the snow cave with a pub just a short walk away - thats my type of AT. Choice. Snow cave mods sound very impressive also - no prizes for guessing who was responsible.
     
  26. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker Ski Pass: Gold

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    Apart from the vertical, it sounds like Oz BC conditions! [​IMG] Even beer [​IMG]
     
    #276 Untele-whippet, Apr 13, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  27. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hi guys, sounds like the weather may have even been a bit more favorable in Aomori even getting some corn yesterday.
    Was happy where I was and the easier pace, couldn't have handled your pace from the sounds of it.
    Now back amongst the cherry blossoms in Tokyo. Was a warm 22C not long ago, although cloudy.
    Powder, Corn & Cherry blossoms..
    and now a chu-hi
    Was good to have met you all. Head home tomorrow.

    Cheers.
     
  28. BrianWilson

    BrianWilson One of Us

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    A picture of the boys at the end of the trip.
    [​IMG]

    The reinforced cave

    [​IMG]

    Fast Limey with evidence of being stuck in the tent for 12 + hours

    [​IMG]
     
    #278 BrianWilson, Apr 13, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  29. smitty484

    smitty484 Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Epic [​IMG]
     
    #279 smitty484, Apr 14, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  30. benchives

    benchives I forgot how to ski Ski Pass: Gold

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    Great stuff!
     
  31. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter Ski Pass: Gold

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    A new theme for men of the backcountry 2012 ? [​IMG]
     
    #281 Telemark Phat, Apr 14, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  32. DJM

    DJM One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    [​IMG]
     
    #282 DJM, Apr 14, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  33. Ralph_implement

    Ralph_implement A Local

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  34. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker Ski Pass: Gold

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    Day 2 & 3 pix goodly.
    How are the Voile BC Vectors performing perchance?
     
  35. andrew7

    andrew7 Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Awesome work guys- nice pants FL!
     
  36. damian

    damian A Local

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    No Vectors were on the trip, but they possibly would have worked well once the powder went away.

    The campsite, including the cave:

    [​IMG]
     
    #286 damian, Apr 14, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  37. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oops, my bad, I meant to post in Boodwahs TR, my dementia!
     
  38. Rimey

    Rimey One of Us

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    While they're toasty, I wouldn't call 'em streetwear, well maybe in Japan ...
    On that score, the boys are suggesting I look a little oriental in that snap.
    They're thinkin' I should change my screen name to Rimey.
     
    #288 Rimey, Apr 15, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2013
  39. andrew7

    andrew7 Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    fast Rimey [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    #289 andrew7, Apr 15, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  40. BrianWilson

    BrianWilson One of Us

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    As all good things come to an end, so to has the ski.com backcountry gathering in Hakuba. Inky made trails yesterday and Frast Rimey was on the first shuttle out of town this morning and it is now the Bush Patrol and myself holding up the bar. There have been some good stories told, some epic skiing and even more epic fails on the snow (yes there is footage [​IMG] ). With the lessons learned we are sure to be the wiser when we visit this fine destination again.

    Some more photos and hopefully footage will be on display in the future as a reminder of the good times shared by this motley group.

    BW Out! [​IMG]
     
    #290 BrianWilson, Apr 16, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  41. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    What is going to happen to the supply of stir fry dinners after you guys leave?
     
  42. damian

    damian A Local

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    The last two (Bush Pig and Padmé Amidala) just departed. What a great time - making friends with guys from home who ski and board the terrain there, and now, ski the terrain here.

    I still have 2 more weeks before the snow melts in my garden, and 2 more months of skiing above the treeline. However quieter, more solitary days of effort they will be. Cold early dark starts, solo summits, sweaty feet for company. That sort of spring thing....
     
  43. damian

    damian A Local

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    In addition, thank you for the very kind presents, classic books. Skiing the Western Faces Kosciusko, by Alan Andrews. And Australia's Alps, by Elyne Mitchell, my copy of which was printed 30 years before I was born. Having a yellowed original is far more than I deserve. Thank you all. I will look after it.
     
  44. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    It was Fast Rimey that did the leg work on that. The rest of us agreed it was a good choice which you have confirmed. You did deserve it.
    Thanks again for your invite and hospitality and imparting a bit of your knowledge, even though I was never going to up for the camping trip.
     
  45. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Created my own thread in travel covering my time here as well as the rest of my trip. Powder, Corn & Sakura
     
    #295 Heinz, Apr 17, 2012
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  46. Myazma

    Myazma One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    my surname is Priest and those two books are my BIBLES
     
  47. damian

    damian A Local

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    The spring weather is here. Which you were all beautiful.

    The Hakuba I didn't get a chance to show you guys, took these photos today. I've been out and amongst is a bit in the last days. Yesterday skied one of those ones in the right hand side middle ground of the first photo. 400m x 50 degrees of 10-20cm dry-ish snow with a crust on top and ice underneath. After an 8km walk and 1600m climb in warm weather it just is not possible to get you boots tight enough to deal with that.

    [​IMG]

    This one...
    [​IMG]
     
    #297 damian, Apr 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  48. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hmmm, nice. But 1600m - not a chance!
     
  49. damian

    damian A Local

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    What, not even for steep crust-on-dust-on-ice?

    [​IMG]

    No really, it skied like a dream...
    [​IMG]
     
    #299 damian, Apr 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  50. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ha! Would have take me 2 days to get there and I wouldn't have been able to ski it after that!