Posted on May 15, 2019
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Posted on May 15, 2019

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21 0
Reading time: 3 min
5.1km

Distance

3 hours

Time

467m

Ascent

2194m

Highest point

6/10

Difficulty

Snow Icon | Hokkaido Wilds
Mar-May

Best season

Antaroma-dake (安足間岳, 2194m) is one of the many peaks that make up the general Daisetuzan Range area near Hokkaido's highest peak, Asahidake (旭岳, 2290m). This unassuming peak offers some sublime skiing in the southeast-facing bowl it shares with Pippu-dake (比布岳, 2197m) when the snowpack is stable, or along its broad south-facing slope. The return trip from the Asahidake Ropeway can be accomplished on a long day trip (allow around 7 hours). However, it is arguably best visited during an overnight ski-camping trip to Nakadake Onsen hotspring (中岳温泉, 1840m). This route guide assumes a start and finish from Nakadake Onsen.

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

Antaroma-dake is just under 4km as the crow flies from the summit of Asahidake in the Daisetsuzan Range in central Hokkaido. This particular route guide accesses the mountain from Nakadake Onsen (here), to make it a quick half-day ski tour from a base camp.

General notes

As mentioned above, this route guide assumes skiers are starting and finishing at a base camp next to Nakadake Onsen hotspring (here). This makes the trip a very nice quick half-day trip, whereas a daytrip from Asahidake Ropeway would entail an extra 8.5km return for a total of almost 15km, much of this mostly flat plateau travel. Nakadake Onsen is a sublime place to camp in good weather (see the route guide here).

No route guide for anywhere in the Daisetsuzan Range should be complete without a severe warning regarding the mountain environment here. This route is entirely above the treeline in serious alpine terrain. There’s nothing technical on this route, but cold weather, avalanche, and navigation issues are exponentially magnified up here. The route itself, out and back from Nakadake Onsen, is suitable for intermediate backcountry skiers, but the approach from Asahidake Ropeway should only be attempted by experienced skiers or under the guidance of such, mainly due to the inherent navigation risks and alpine travel complexities.

Hut

None

Route markers

This route is not marked. From your basecamp at Nakadake Onsen hotspring, head down the gorge to the upper Susodaira Plateau. From there, head north towards the broad south-facing face of Antaroma-dake. You may come across a relatively deep gorge at the foot of this face, so just head east-northeast along the rim of the gorge until a suitable spot is found to cross. From there, it is simply a matter of zigzagging your way up this face to the top. From the summit, skiers can either descent the face they climbed up, or, if the snowpack is stable, drop down into the large southeast facing bowl below Antaroma-dake and Pippu-dake. This will allow an uninterrupted 400m vertical descent back to the plateau.

Route Timing
Up | 2hrs
Down | 1hrs

We took just under 2.5 hours from Nakadake Onsen hotspring to the summit of Antaroma-dake, and then another 1 hour on the descent back to the hotspring.

Transport

Public transport:

Asahidake Ropeway is accessible via public transport. See the Nakadake Onsen ski touring page for details.

By car: 

There is a large car parking area at the base of the Asahidake Ropeway (here).

Physical maps
Official Topo Map: Aizankei Onsen (愛山渓温泉) – map no. NK-54-7-2-4

NOTE: The official 1/25000 topo map(s) above can be purchased for 350yen from Kinokuniya bookstore next to Sapporo Station or online (in Japanese).

Snow and route safety

This high altitude (by Hokkaido standards) route is entirely above the treeline, and brutally exposed to the elements 100% of the time. The route, for the most part, is relatively featureless, and involves covering ground across expansive snow fields, which would be impossible to navigate in low cloud conditions, without a GPS and map/compass. Never attempt this route without consulting the weather forecast. The Daisetsuzan Range is moderate in altitude when compared with mountain ranges in other parts of Japan and around the world. However, it is not to be underestimated. It is difficult to overstate the seriousness of this mountaineering environment – be prepared for -20deg C and lower temperatures. On a warm spring day, one will wonder what all the fuss is about, but when the weather does close in, unprepared people do die in this area.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Antaroma-dake
Onsen nearby

Beyond the obvious Nakadake Onsen hotspring, if you’re itching for a soak after the descent to Asahidake Onsen area, then there is a number of onsen to choose from. Yukoman Onsen (location) was nice (800yen per person).

Extra Resources
No extra English resources that we know of. If you know of any, please let us know in the comments.

Guide Options

If you’d like to ski this route and/or explore other areas of Central Hokkaido together with a local certified guide, get in touch with Takao Miyashita. He’s a born-and-bred Hokkaido based guide. From a young age he cut his teeth on peaks around Tokachi-dake, Asahi-dake, Sandan-yama and others. He has multiple 6,000m-plus peak international expeditions under his belt (including a ski descent from 7,400m on Mt. Manaslu, Nepal). He is one of the leading senior figures in the local guiding and outdoor associations here in Hokkaido and Japan.

Photo Gallery

Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

Haidee and I had spent the previous night camping at the idyllic Nakadake Onsen (story here), and were almost about to give up trying to ski anything in the area. The ski up and over Asahidake, and down to the onsen was mostly over hard, icy snow, so we were expecting more of the same today. However, another camper who had been out in the morning came back gushing over the excellent corn snow on Antaroma-dake’s south-facing slopes. “It was the best I’ve ever skied,” he said.

This made sense, of course. The previous day we were mainly skiing on the northern aspects of the hills we were crossing. Despite a beautiful blue sky day yesterday, it wasn’t quite warm enough to soften the slopes in the shadows.

So today, at around 10:30am, we kitted up and headed down from the hotspring gorge to the upper Susoai-daira plateau. Once on the plateau, we put our skins on our skis. All around us were huge, inspiring, wide open spaces, with hills and slopes on all sides. 

It didn’t take long, making big long climbing traverses, to gain altitude on Antaroma-dake’s southern face. Behind us was Asahidake, Hokkaido’s highest peak, standing proud in the clear skies. Far in the distance, we could actually see the top of the Asahidake Ropeway. This gave us a sense of closeness to civilization, but only briefly. This would be a very lonely place if anything went wrong.

The summit of Antaroma-dake is at the end of the long whale-back flat summit ridge. From the tippy top of the summit, there are grand views down into red-rock cliffs and deep gorges. Looking back the way we came, the southeast slope at the top of the Antaroma-dake bowl looked like it had been sliced with great precision – a perfect angled plane of snow. Two other skiers were gearing up for the descent as we arrived, and soon took off at great speed down the slope.

The snow on the upper part of the slope was still relatively hard, and the skiing didn’t get really fun until part way down. From there is was absolutely gorgeous spring corn. A pure joy to ski – and finally a consistency that agreed with our wide (105mm) powder skis – this trip has made me think one really needs skinner skis in Hokkaido for the spring months.

Back at the plateau after a very quick blat down the bowl, we started our way back to Nakadake Onsen. The snow was relatively sticky, so we were able to get most of the way back without putting skins back on the skis. It was definitely worth the extra night at the onsen, to enjoy one of the many peaks in this area.

As with each ski touring, cycle touring, and hiking route guide published on hokkaidowilds.org, should you choose to follow the information on this page, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road/track closures. While traveling, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow leave-no-trace procedures. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this information, associated GPS track (GPX, KML and maps), and all information was prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. hokkaidowilds.org, its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individuals following the information contained in this post.

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Comments | Queries | Reports

Done this route to Antaroma-dake, or others nearby? Thinking of doing it? Please post any feedback, reports, or queries here. Thanks!

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