Placeholder Routes & Places

Trip Report    

Mt. Tengu Winter Scramble

Windy and cold, but a beautiful day on a very moderate route to the highest summit in the Northern Yatsugatake cluter. Great snow conditions, and a winter-season mountain hut for hot ramen and coffee on the way down.

  • Snow and ice on road
  • Overall the route was in excellent condition.  Cold, consolidated snow almost the entire way, with just a few wind deposited pockets here and there.

    The road was too snowy for the rental cars so we had to park about 2.1 miles from the trailhead, so that extra distance, coupled with high winds and cold temps made it a bit more of an adventure than usual. 

A friend wanted to try out mountaineering, so I picked out Mt. Tengu in the Yatsugatake mountains, just southeast of the main Northern Alps range because it was doable in a day, moderate, but still a clear step above hiking.

We left Yokohama at 3am with the goal of stepping off around 6:15.  The road to the trailhead was just a bit too slick and steep for our rental cars with no chains or winter tires, so we stopped 2.1 miles short and just ate the extra walking distance. 

The walk from parking to the mountain hut at the end of the approach was 4.5 miles, 2,900' of gain and took 2.5 hours.  It was uneventful and smooth sailing, with hard packed but walkable snow, minimal winds and cold temps.

The last mile and 800ish ft of gain took 90 minutes.  Sustained winds of around 40mph and gusts well over 50 mph pushed the windchill below 0 and made for some interesting route-finding to avoid having to face the wind since we didn't have ski-goggles.  A handful of parties turned around at the point where you exit the protection of the trees for the last time.  We did eventually make the summit, views were rather poor due to heavy haze and windblown snow.  We had picked the east summit, which is a a handful of feet lower, but offers a bit more interesting route-finding and two 45 degree pitches where you can use axe and foot techniques without feeling like you are pretending; which I thought would make for a better first-time out for my friend compared to the walk-up to the higher summit.  We considered doing both summits, but the wind was only increasing over the next few hours as a large storm rolled in from the west so we decided to settle for just the east summit and get down.  After a quick toast of Japanese Hibiki whiskey and pictures we started back down. 

Mt. Tengu Climb-2.jpg

Mt. Tengu Climb-5.jpg

Mt. Tengu Climb-8.jpg

On the return, the mountain hut below the climb was open so we grabbed some hot ramen and coffee before finishing the approach exit.  The walk out was quick and easy.  Total trip time was 6 hours and 20 minutes, 10.7 miles and 4125ft of gain.  On the drive home the entire range had disappeared into a dark cloud, validating the choice to head down rather than bag both summits.

Mt. Tengu Climb-17.jpg

Mt. Tengu Climb-18.jpg

Mt. Tengu Climb-15.jpg