Advanced Ice Climbing in Raiden, Hokkaido
(Travelled Feb 2017) The trip was good, if a bit short for the amount of travel I had to do to get there (I was in Niseko). It was fun to see a different part of Hokkaido in a unique way. Takao-san was very good at instructing and climbing. I started ice climbing in Colorado and wanted to experience climbing in a different country. If I had come during the summer I definitely would have rock climbed or taken a guided climbing trip. I have a fair amount of climbing experience, but nothing too in-depth. Takao-san took that into consideration for the routes we did. The first day we did a short hike on snowshoes to the climbing, which was a bunch of shorter single pitch routes. The weather was pretty good, but definitely on the warm side. I think we climbed at the right time during the day, as there was starting to be quite a bit of debris melting and falling on the routes when we were leaving... The second day was a two pitch route next to the sea. The exposure and area was very impressive. Takao-san did a great job explaining what he wanted us to do and did a great job working with my level of experience or in-experience. Takao-san obviously has a lot of experience guiding and climbing and did an excellent job making me feel safe and sure about what we were doing. His technical knowledge, as well as his knowledge of the area we were climbing in was definitely great in making the experience a success. I would recommend the program, but I might caution a beginner climber that the climbing was a bit more involved than I expected. For example, I had the experience of lead belaying climbers, but I\'m not sure if someone who did not have the experience would be able to have climbed where we did. I found it interesting that nobody asked me (that I recall) what my level of experience was before the trip. I did like how Takao-san met the climbing to what he thought my abilities are. Yes, I definitely would like to do it again.
Heading out on an ice climbing expedition is one of the best ways to take in the stunning winter scenery around Niseko. Heading up to the top of a frozen waterfall or icefall means getting out into the heart of Hokkaido's mountains and enjoying stunning views of rivers and forests along the way.
Best time to visit:
December to March
Japanese yen (JPY)
How to get there:
Any trip to Niseko likely begins with a flight into New Chitose Airport (CTS). From here, it is easy to find a bus that takes you right into Niseko
What’s the weather like?
During the winter, the average daily temperatures hover just below freezing in Niseko. The area is renowned for the large amount of dry powder it receives throughout the winter