Thursday, July 22, 2010

A hard days work!

The view of the Kuju mountains as you drive towards them

Two mountains were left on my 'to climb' list as of last weekend. W
ith the rainy season over and the long hot sunny days of summer well in control I took advantage of the 3 day weekend and set off to the Aso-Kuju National park. My goal was to climb 2 mountains; Mimatayama and Taisen, both about 1750m.

The Valley between the two peaks I, green and more green!

The solo self timer summit shot (Yufu dake in the background)

Up and away by 5.30am I was almost the only car on the road. Thick cloud and the dreadful feeling it would end up raining accompanied me for most of the 1 1/2h
r drive inland. Fortunately as I exited the forest onto the Kuju plateau I was greeted by cloudless blue sky and the towering peaks directly ahead! I had bitten off a lot on this trip as most people would take two days to climb both these mountains. Leaving the car at 7am I could tell it was going to be a great day!

View from the summit of Mimatayama looking down over the valley and Taisenyama in the distance

The climb up to Mimatayama was stunning; 360 deg views, low cloud in some of the valleys,no one else around and the steaming vents of an active volcano as a perfect b
ackdrop. The route off was a little more frustrating as I selected a closed and no longer maintained track. The bruises on my bum and scars on my legs show it was not as much fun as I had hoped. After reaching the valley floor the only way to go was back up the other side as I started the climb for the summit of Taisen.

More stunning views....

By now I was feeling a little tired as I'd hardly stopped to rest but with another mountain peak only an hour or so away I knew my reward would be a lengthy break at the top. However as I reached the tops some clouds rolled in and the view was gone! By now I'd finished all my water and thirst was setting in. It was 11.30am and I set a
goal of 1.30pm at the car and home by 3pm.

This didn't leave me anytime to dwell on the task at hand so instead I proceeded to run down the track choosing speed over steady footing. On a number of occasions other Japanese climbers gasped at the young white man who was rocketing passed. After filling up my water bottle in the valley I had yet another climb up and out over a pass before descending back to the car.

The cloud in the distanced is caused by the active volcano on Aso san

Amazingly I made it home bang on 3pm. A great day out climbing two mountains with a total of 1310m ascent!

Half way up Taisen looking back towards Mimatayama (right)

A little caterpillar I found, the longest break I took was photographing him!