Haidee and I were still on a Ministry of the Environment monitor tour, ostensibly giving our impressions on a possible set of activities to be included in itineraries for inbound tourists to Hokkaido. So this time – as was the case for the Kogen Onsen Numameguri Trip – we had a professional guide with us.
We walked the short distance from our accommodation in Sounkyo (the trendy Hotel Kumoi) to the ropeway station and enjoyed the easy way most of the way up the mountain.
The hike up the zig-zagging trail up the huge face of Kuro-dake was relatively monotonous. Just up, up, up, with vistas only very slowly widening as we climbed. It wasn’t until we got most of the way to the top of Kuro-dake, after about 1 hour, that we really got a sense of how high up we were.
Soon we were at the rocky Kuro-dake summit. We snapped souvenir pictures, and hurried on our way.
We were now on the famed Daisetsuzan Range, roof of Hokkaido. From this point, all the way 40km or so southwest, there isn’t a great deal of altitude gain or loss. The short 20 minute stroll from Kuro-dake to the Kurodake Refuge Hut gave us a glimpse of what the 40km+ Daisetszan Grand Traverse might be like – high alpine vegetation, exposed and brutal landscapes.
Very soon, we could see Kurodake Refuge hut in the distance. Just to the right of it was Keigetsu-dake. Haidee and I had not really intended to climb up Keigetsu-dake on this trip – the trip was a traverse over to Asahidake – but at the hut we decided we may as well. It was only about 20 minutes walk away. At the hut we dropped our packs and completed the final short hop and skip to the Keigetsu-dake summit.
It was a wet and moody day, so we didn’t really get any great views. The next morning I got up early and ran up the hill to see if I could get any better views. This time, the morning sun was shining on the volcanic landscape.
On this trip, we carried on with the monitor tour plan of hiking the 6 or so hours over to Asahi-dake. It was a wet and moody day. But we could see how Keigetsu-dake, despite its minor status, could be quite a nice objective for a very quick and easy overnight hut trip.