Japan Photo Hike: Kiso-Komagatake, Chuo Middle Alps

An easy 40-minute climb from the ropeway station at Senjojiki Cirque,  the approach to KomagatakeKiso-Komagatake, “Horse Head Mountain,” and surrounding peaks make an easy day-trip adventure into the alpine zone and thin air of high-mountain adventure. I’d write it up, but wes at Hiking in Japan has already nailed it. The only thing I’d add, and this is true any time you’re high up, is to remember the hat and sunblock. The air is thinner up here, and the sun’s rays stronger. Both R. and I were a little negligent, and we both ended up with sun- and windburn, and blistered lips.

Great views of the surrounding mountains. And, when we went in late October of 2014, you could see Ontakesan still smouldering in the near distance; a shrine has been built on Komagatakesan for climbers to offer up prayers to the 47 Ontakesan climbers killed in September’s eruption, the worst climbing disaster in Japan since the 1940s.

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