getting into japan’s big mountains is a grind. you can sit there and think up all kind of shenanigans to try to get in easier…. snowmobiles, packrafts, the ropeway over there in shinhotaka, hut-worker-buddies w/ cars, mountain bikes, a horse that knows how to go back to where you want him to (apparently you can train horses to do this – jeff’s dad said so and jeff’s dad is wise), teleportation, etc, but the only way it works is to grind it out. and just ask the fine folks inside the nespresso machine i use at work – the secret is in the grind, man.
yari is called the ‘matterhorn of japan’. well, i’ve climbed both and yari is nothing like the matterhorn unless your trail mix is a bag of mushrooms. both are pointy though. both are easily recognizable too. and the similarities end right about there. oh, they’re both granite too. there’s nothing wrong with yari, i’m not trying to give it a bad rap, but whatever, it’s a fun slog. you should climb it. you’d have fun. it would be more fun with a packraft and a horse that knows how to go back to where you want him to, but you’re gonna have to bite the bullet and grind it out.
the boring stuff: yari is the northermost of the 8 3000m peaks in the hotaka subrange. it’s the 5th tallest mountain in japan at 3180m. it has been skied from the tippitytop but the chances of pulling that one off would be pretty darn tootin’ tough unless you quit yer day job (it don’t hold much snow). the valley that yari drains into on the east side is aptly named the yari valley and also drains 2 other 3000′ers (obami & naka – which are lame) and it’s the easiest approach to minami (which is rad). the topographic significance of the these 4 peaks would be greatly enhanced by the aforementioned bag of mushrooms, but let’s just say that the peaks are 3000m+ and the ridge isn’t and we’ll leave it at that.
linking these peaks together to ski is pretty contrived and no where nearly as cool as skiing the rad lines a little south in the karasawa valley, but again, mushrooms would help. minami-dake is rad actually. don’t take the mushrooms before you ski minami-dake. that would be dangerous. oh and there’s a line off the north face of kitaho that is extra-special. i’m gonna name it the amanda couloir, after a girl i liked in high school.
thanks for readin!