Jeff had things to do later in the day, so we looked around for something short and close to Sapporo. This seemed to fit the bill and we hadn’t been before, so we made an early start in order to nip up and back by early afternoon.
We were clearly too early, and out of season to boot. The park gate was closed, so we left the car outside and went around it and up the road into the deserted car park, leaving wet black footprints in the thin covering of fresh snow. Some signs had been wrapped in protective plastic sheeting, and the trailhead postbox was empty.
We started on up the trail. In places it was steep and slippery in the wet snow, but we were able to locate the ropes under the thin covering of snow and pull them out to get a grip and aid upward progress. On the final ridge the sun came out briefly and we could see the lake below us.
The summit itself had a panoramic marker showing nearby peaks and a good view across to the dramatic jagged crags of Jozankei Tengu-dake further west. The rocky prow seemed to remind Jeff of Titanic. The clouds were coming in again though, so we headed back down, sliding down the ropes in places. It enabled a quick descent. In fact, we were back down quickly enough to be soaking in the onsen at Kogane by 10.30am.