Posted on Mar 8, 2019
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Posted on Mar 8, 2019

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Reading time: 7 min
20km

Distance

10 hours

Time

1366m

Ascent

1792m

Highest point

8/10

Difficulty

Snow Icon | Hokkaido Wilds
Feb-Apr

Best season

Fushimi-dake (伏美岳, 1792m) is one of the more accessible major peaks in the Hidaka Range. There's a small hut at the base of the summer hiking trail that can soften the sting of the 7km forestry road approach. Like many peaks in the Hidaka Range, it does not lend itself particularly well for the skier seeking epic free-riding terrain. Your tree-skiing skills will need to be on point on the steep ridge-line descents. The topography is ruggedly beautiful, however, and the endless peaks upon peaks viewed from the summit are awe-inspiring.

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

This route up Mt. Fushimi is on the north eastern side of the Hidaka Ranges, west of Obihiro City. The route starts here, just before Bisei Dam.

General notes

Before the forestry road was damaged in the 2017 typhoons, it was possible to do this entire route as a long day trip in the spring months. However, with the multiple scrambles across washouts now required, it may take as long as 10 hours, depending on snow conditions. For our trip outlined below, we had some of the least snow this area has ever seen, which made the going very slow. Even above the hut, we were having to bush-bash through exposed shrub. In this sense, the Fushimi Emergency Hut, located 7km along the forestry road, then becomes a good base to approach the summit from on an overnight trip. We managed the entire route on skis, but depending on conditions, crampons may be required near the summit.

On the TOPOMAP+ printable map for this route, we’ve tried to include a few of the surrounding peaks. Pipairo-dake (ピパイロ岳, 1916m), for example, is a popular extension to the route, and will add at least another 4 hours (return) to the total time.

NOTE: In our trip report below, we did the route in the opposite direction, taking the northeastern ridge on the way up to the summit from the hut. This is the steeper of the two approaches, so we’d recommend the eastern ridge on the way up instead, which joins with the summer trail. In either case, expect some sections of bush-bashing, and picking your line through thick shrubs.

Hut

Fushimi Emergency Hut (full details here)

Fushimi Emergency Hut is a basic but very solidly built steel-beam A-frame cabin, located on the northeastern side of the Hidaka Ranges. It is about 50m below the Fushimi-dake summer hiking trail trailhead, and has a wood stove. Officially, the hut is designated as an emergency hut, so non-essential stays should be kept to a minimum. The hut would accommodate 10 comfortably. The forestry road that leads to the hut is, as of March 2019, currently closed to all traffic due to washouts.

Route markers

This route is not marked.

Route Timing
Up | 6.5hrs
Down | 3hrs

Expect around 2 to 3 hours from the main road (here) to the hut via the forestry road. When we were there in early March 2019, there were sections of the forestry road from the main road to the second bridge (here) which were not covered in snow – we had to walk these sections. From the hut to summit via either of the two routes, expect around 4 hours. The descent is on the same relatively narrow ridge, so expect around 1 hour from summit back to hut on skis. From the hut back to the main road, allow about 2 hours. Timing will vary greatly on the condition and amount of snow.

Transport

Public transport:

There are no public transport options for this route.

By car: 

There is a small area on the side of the road near the forestry road entrance (here) for a few cars. Be prepared to clear snow to make more room.

Physical maps
Official Topo Map: Oshiki-yama (妙敷山) – map no. NK-54-8-4-3

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

The Hidaka ranges are not like anywhere else in Hokkaido. The approaches are steep, rugged, and tough. The topography requires careful attention, as there will be multiple ridges to a single summit, all leading to completely different valleys and watersheds. Be prepared for long days exposed to the elements. Approaching the summit may be icy; make sure to pack crampons.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Fushimi-dake
Onsen nearby

The Shin-Arashiyama Sanso (国民宿舎 新嵐山荘, 270yen per person) is the closest place for a hot soak, being about 15km from the forestry road entrance. They also have very reasonable meals, and if you still want to do a bit more skiing after the abuse you took on Fushimi-dake, there’s also the Memuro Ski Area just outside.

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 the Hidaka Range together with a local certified guide, get in touch with Takao Miyashita. He’s a born-and-bred Hokkaido based guide, with IFMGA and JMGA certification. From a young age he cut his teeth on peaks in Hokkaido, including the rugged Hidaka Range. 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

Hiro and I knew that the forestry road to the Fushimi Hut was closed to vehicular traffic due to typhoon damage. But, with almost a full winter’s worth of snow covering the road, we figured it should be fairly easy going most of the way. Hiro was confident enough to pack a sled to make the going easier. We arrived at the entrance to the forestry road at around 2pm, with the idea to stay a night at the hut before summiting the next day.

After only about 700m along the road, any fantasies of a quick, easy skin to the hut were put in their place with a complete washout of the road. Not only this, but in places along the road, there was simply no snow. This was genuinely shocking, and not what we had expected. This area of Hokkaido does get much less snow on average than other snowy areas such as the Furano area and Niseko. But to this extent…this was quite the curiosity, and not to sled-pulling Hiro’s liking.

Overall, I’d advise anyone doing this route to simply assume plenty of scrambles and skis-off walks for about 2.5km to the second bridge (the Keikoku-bashi, 渓谷橋).

From that second bridge, it was mostly smooth-sailing. We diligently followed the forestry road, navigating the odd washout here and there, but with skis on for the rest of the way to the hut. The last large, hair-pin bend before the hut was clearly the victim of the brunt of the typhoon damage, however. A full 100m section of road had simply been reduced to riverbed. Mercifully, there was enough snow covering the rocks and trees for us to skin over the whole lot.

With the last of the day’s light waning, we finally arrived at the Fushimi Hut at around 5:30pm. Triumphant would be the word to describe how we felt. We wasted no time in getting the fire going, and Hiro set about working his magic – the man is a legend when it comes to hut cuisine. On the menu tonight was wild venison (shot by Hiro himself), braised in a pan inside the fireplace.

We didn’t want to take any chances as far as timing goes for the climb up to the summit the next day, so we set our alarms for 3:30am, for a 4:30am start. We were certain there’d be more snow higher up, but with the way the road was coming to the hut, we were expecting some more bush-bashing than usual. It was a groggy start, but we made good time, still in the cover of darkness. We’d never see the sun till we were well up through the morning low clouds, so it was well after 6:30am that we were finally able to climb without the aid of headlamps.

The going on the way up that northeastern ridge was far harder going than it should have been. We were contending with at least 1m less accumulated snow than I’d seen in other posts on the web for this route. Sasa bamboo grass, ivy, and twiggy shrubs thwarted attempts to make nice long climbing traverses along the ridge. In most places for the first 2 hours of the climb, there was simply no base to the snow. Our poles would sink down to the sasa underneath, and so did our skis. It was sweet relief when we made it to the short flat section of ridge at around 1115m, despite there being very little snow cover at all. At least we weren’t sinking.

It certainly wasn’t impossible, but many more kick turns were required than had there been more snow. In better conditions (i.e., a normal year’s snow), this steep ridge would be an amazing place to descend on skis.

As we ascended, it slowly became clear that we may get what we’d been hoping for – a peak popping out of a sea of clouds. There was hardly a breath of wind. A rarity indeed for the Hidaka Range!

Hiro was ahead of me as we finally made it to the main summit ridge. He let out a whoop, and thrust his arm up in celebration. The tough work had been rewarded with a massive clear-sky view of peaks in the distance jutting out of a thick sea of clouds. We could hardly believe our luck. To be fair, I had been somewhat expecting this, as the Windy.com cloud cover forecast had predicted cloud to 1700m. But it was a joyous feeling when it was clear as predicted.

From the summit we discussed whether to descend the way we had come, or take the original planned route via the summer trail ridge. At least for the way we had come, we knew what dog-soup conditions we were in for – lots of twiggy shrubs, but at least some good steep skiing for the first 500m vertical or so. On the other hand, the summer trail route might be all shrubs for all we knew. The summer trail route was the more popular one in winter, however, and we were keen to at least check it out. So off we went.

So good was this initial descent off the summit, that we made it about 100m vertical down before realizing we were on the wrong ridge. A quick traverse over to the right ridge set us back on track. Overall, this was an exhilarating descent, punctuated by making careful decisions on what line to take so as to not end up boxed in by twiggy shrubs. Oh for just 1m more snow.

Back at the hut, we had a full cooked lunch before sweeping the place out and tackling the forestry road back to the car. Overnight, there’d been about 10cm of fresh snow. Just enough to cover any exposed rocks, but not enough to stop them from scratching our skis. It was a nerve-wracking fast descent from the hut to the Keikoku-bashi Bridge. From there, we opted to just walk the 2km to the bridge just before the car.

Overall, despite the lack of snow, this was a great foray into the wilds of the Hidaka Range. It lived up to its reputation as a rough, rugged, and unpredictable place. The ‘other’ Hokkaido that people don’t really talk about too much in the winter skiing scene. 

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Comments | Queries | Reports

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

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