Hire a local certified mountain guide, Takao, for a 2-day ice climbing trip to explore the ice climbing scene in Sounkyo, Hokkaido!
Sounkyo Ice Climbing.
I’d like to introduce ice climbing in Hokkaido, in Japan, and show you that Hokkaido is not all about skiing! I will take you to Daisetsuzan area for 2 days, which is the best known ice climbing area in Hokkaido, with more than 10 large scale waterfalls. The scenic gorges have a lot of both ice and mixed routes.
This course is more for beginners or those with some prior experience.
Beginner / Intermediate – You will need to have had a prior summer rock climbing experience, as you would need to know how to belay someone. You need to be fit enough to walk the 30min approach, and be comfortable crossing a section of water with water level lower than knee height in wellington boots (available for rent if feet size in between 25-27cm at JPY 1,000 per pair) or on bare foot.
Beginners to ice climbing are very welcome!
Day 1: From Sapporo, we will drive to Sounkyo valley (140km, 3hrs), located within Daisetsuzan National Park. We will head to “Ginga no taki” (Waterfall of Galaxy) for ice climbing (120m, WI3*, 4 pitches). Overnight stay at an accommodation with onsen.
Day 2: Visit the “Kinshi no taki” (Waterfall of Tinsel) for ice climbing (100m, WI3/4*, 3 pitches). A relaxing dip in an onsen before driving back to Sapporo. Estimated time of return is around 6pm.
*Ice Climbing Grades:
WI3 – generally sustained in the 60-70 degree range with occasional near-vertical steps up to 4 metres
WI4 – near-vertical steps of up to 10 metres, generally sustained climbing requiring placing protection screws from strenuous stances
If you’re after a more challenging course then please have a look at my ice climbing programme for more experienced / advanced ice climbers.
Included in Price:-
Excluded from Price:-
Climate: Temperature in this area ranges from -8 to -15c. The waterfall is in a valley so it is not affected by the wind. Prepare yourself with layers of warm clothes!
|– Crampon compatible Mountaineering boots
– Technical ice axes
– CramponsItems such as ice axes, harness, helmet, and crampons can be rented at JPY 2,000 each (rental of ice axes are JPY 4,000 for the 2 days). Other ice climbing gears such as ice screws, quick draws etc. will be provided.
Accommodation options in SOUNKYO:
– Mount View Hotel: Onsen, lots of Asian tourists. Half board. JPY 10,000.
– Choyo-tei: Japanese style onsen hotel (half board). Great food! JPY 15,000-20,000.
Accommodation options in NISEKO: - Hotel Kanronomori: Japanese style onsen hotel (half-board). JPY 12000～20,000 (pp per night) - Goshiki Onsen: An Onsen accommodation in the mountains, far from ski resorts. Self catering JPY 4,000. Half board JPY 10,000. - The Woodpeckers: mountain hut-like accommodation, just below Niseko Moiwa ski resort. Half-board included. JPY 7,500. Accommodation options in TOKACHI: - Ryounkaku: Half-board with onsen. JPY 10,000. - Hakuginso: Self catering. Guide can arrange booking. Amazing onsen outside! JPY 3,000 Accommodation options in ASAHIDAKE: - Shirakabaso: For youth. Half board, JPY 8,000 Accommodation options in SOUNKYO: - Mount View Hotel: Onsen, lots of Asian tourists. Half board. JPY 10,000 - Choyo-tei: Japanese style onsen hotel (half board). Great food! JPY 15,000-20,000 Accommodation options in SAPPORO: - Route Inn Sapporo and Sapporo Aspen Hotel: Food not included. JPY 8,000-9,000 - Sapporo Grand Hotel: JPY 10,000-20,000 Accommodation options in OTARU: - Kourakuen: Japanese style onsen hotel (half board). JPY 20,000 - Musashitei: Japanese style onsen hotel (half board). JPY 20,000
- Clients need to rent or bring snowshoes and ski poles
I am an experienced IFMGA mountain guide, born and raised in Hokkaido, Japan. I started skiing when I was 3 and started climbing when I was 6. My high school years were spent in ski competitions and I joined mountaineering club at University, where I developed my ski mountaineering skills. I have been a ski instructor for Miura Dolphins founded by Yuichiro Miura (first ski descent of the Everest “The Man Who Skied Down Everest” and the oldest Everest summiting record holder at 80 years old) and also supported Yuichiro's Aconcagua ascent and ski descent in 1984 as a part of his 7 summits ski descent challenge.
I was inspired by the works of mountain guides in Chamonix when I visited there in 1983, and decided to start guiding as a mountain guide in Japan in 1989 to share my passion and experiences in outdoors sports with other people, as well as to offer instruction to people enjoying the mountains to be better climbers / skiers. I have also contributed to the proper training of JMGA (Japan Mountain Guides Association) guides and the affiliation of it to IFMGA. I am responsible for the pioneering of the climbing and backcountry skiing scenes in Japan.
My main guiding arena is alpinism, whether it be mountaineering or ski mountaineering, mainly in Hokkaido. I usually take a small group of people (2-5) for Sawanobori (canyoning up waterfalls), alpine climbing, ice climbing, and ski touring in the more remote areas of Japan.
I enjoy finding the best experience for each client accordingly to their physical abilities, preferences, and weather/conditions. I guide because I like watching and feeling that people are enjoying and having fun, and see how this buzz infects other people through skiing and climbing. I find this invaluable as a mountain guide.
There is more to Hokkaido than skiing lift accessible powder in January and February. Please reach out to me to find your own customised way to enjoy Hokkaido’s mountains, natures and culture!
Olivia Grover Johnson
Thanks so much to my guide Takao! I had so much fun ice-climbing in Sounkyo. I would definitely like to do it again and will happily recommend this experience to other people! Hopefully I’ll come back next year!
Great, experienced guide. Very knowledgeable and professional and had a great time. Would definitely recommend.
We had a wonderful time ice climbing despite some rather crazy weather conditions! Takao was great company, very clearly experienced in the area and equipped with all necessary equipment. He was always on time and made exceptional efforts to get us out to the ice and back safely to Sapporo. The onsen, river crossing and thigh-high snow trek were as important as the actual climbing to the whole experience. We highly recommend and hope to be back to the area for summer climbing!
The traveller did not leave a comment.
Takao is very professional. I enjoy climbing with him very much. Also, the waterfall at 2nd day leave a good memories for me. If I climb in Japan again, I will find him again.
It was a really great experience and good for technical knowledge. He picked us up on time and was flexible with our schedules. The climbing itself was amazing and challenging. Beautiful scenery and the walk in to the waterfalls were interesting.
(Travelled December 2016) On the whole, we enjoyed ourselves very much! We love Japan and have a huge respect for our the Japanese who are polite, organized, professional and have some of the best food in the world :) Takao-san was very friendly, gentle, patient and genuine. We enjoyed his company throughout. Of course, we slowly learned that he is one of the most experienced mountaineers and guides around in Japan. In any case, we always felt safe with him. He also spoke well enough in English such that we could have simple conversations and understood the instructions. We would recommend him to others should they need a guide :) Sounkyo is interesting. The two waterfalls are beautiful and it\'s a privilege to be able to climb them. It seems we are there a bit early so the town was really quiet. Kin Shi waterfall was also great, first pitch was spectacular. It\'s our first time in Hokkaido, we are surprised how cold it is. It seems there must be endless reliable ice climbing routes here and the season is much longer than the alps. When we were in Champagny en Vanoise in end Jan last season, we were climbing on really thin ice. Routes are manageable, not too difficult. The first 30m pitch of Kin Shi was probably my favorite. Takao said that there are routes by the sea. That would be really interesting to try out when we next come back to Hokkaido. If there is a downside, I\'m not sure the value compares well to the alps. When we were in Champagny, the cost was about 350 euro a day for a local guide incl. all equipment rentals. We climbed routes that were 7-8 pitches long that took 4-5 hours. With Takao, the first day Ginga we did single pitch practices (it was a bone freezing -20 to -25 so just as well we didn\'t do the multi pitch), the second day Kin Shi was a 4 pitch climb we finished around 1230 back at the car park. I understand that the cost may be due to the limited number of guides, high cost in Japan, and transportation, but if the tour was about 20 percent cheaper that could be more attractive. I think it\'s a great job what Explore & Share is doing to develop the Japanese climbing scene and open the opportunities for foreign climbers like myself. Overall I\'m optimistic that there is much potential and I look forward to coming back.
Group of 1
|JPY 103093 each|
Group of 2
|JPY 72165 each|
Group of 3
|JPY 51547 each|
Group of 5
|JPY 15464 each|
Want a different number of travellers?
- Guiding fee
Accommodation is not included. Please note that clients will have to pay for the guide´s accommodation expense on the spot as well (JPY 10,000 per night, including half-board)