Horokanai Minamiasaba-yama Ski Touring

幌加内峠南浅羽山

Posted on Mar 13, 2020
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Posted on Mar 13, 2020

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19 0
Reading time: < 1 min
3.9km

Distance

2 hours

Time

305m

Ascent

552m

Highest point

4/10

Difficulty

Snow Icon | Hokkaido Wilds
Dec-Mar

Best season

Minamiasaba-yama (南浅羽山, 552m) is a popular minor peak accessible from Horokanai Pass (幌加内峠, 278m). When snow conditions are right, the peak allows for some very accessible lappable slopes. Despite the peak's low height, Horokanai consistently has some of Hokkaido's lowest temperatures and very high snowfall, making this some of the best low-altitude skiing you'll do in Hokkaido.

We visited this route on Mar 02, 2019

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

Minamiasaba-yama is a minor peak to the northwest of Horokanai Pass in northern Hokkaido, about 1 hour north of central Asahikawa City. This route starts at the Horokanai Pass parking area, here.

General notes

Like most ski touring routes in Horokanai (Japan’s coldest and lowest population density town), this route from Horokanai Pass to Minamiasaba-yama is accessed via a road pass. This means plenty of parking, and some good elevation already gained.

Hut

None

Route details

From the Horokanai Pass parking area on the Horokanai town side of the tunnel (here) walk back up along the road to about 50m before the tunnel. From there, climb up onto the snow and start skinning. Find a good spot to gain the ridge to your left, and follow this up to the summit. There are a couple of quite flat spots in between, before a last sustained climb up to the non-descript, rather flat summit. There’s one lone small sign on a spindly tree indicating the approximate summit point. On the descent, any of the bowls to the skier’s left of the main ridge can be enjoyed, but watch for glide-cracks from late February onwards.

Route Timing
Up | 1.5hrs
Down | 0.5hrs

Expect about 1.5 hour from carpark to the summit of Minamiasaba-yama, and just over another 30 minutes back down.

Transport

Public transport:

This route is not accessible by public transport.

By car: 

There is plenty of parking at the Horokanai Pass parking area, here.

Physical maps
Official Topo Map: Takadomarichosuichi (鷹泊貯水池) – map no. NK-54-7-13-3

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

We’ve never seen as many glide-cracks anywhere in Hokkaido as we did on the slopes off the main ridge of this route (early March, 2019, and late Feb 2020). The main, wide ridge was not a problem, but care should be taken if venturing off into any of the bowls along the route. We’ve never seen glide-cracks on any of the other routes we’ve skies in Horokanai, so it seems to be a localized issue to this particular area directly west of Horokanai Pass.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Minamiasaba-yama
Onsen nearby

Just up the road is the excellent Seiwa Onsen (せいわ温泉ルオント, location, 500yen) next to the michi-no-eki. At 500yen per person, there’s an attached soba restaurant, plus sauna and outdoor baths.

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 areas north of Sapporo together with a local certified guide, get in touch with either Wataru Nara or Takao Miyashita. They’re both born-and-bred Sapporo-based guides. They both cut their teeth on peaks including those in northern Hokkaido, have taken part in major international expeditions, and are senior figures in the local guiding and outdoor associations here in Hokkaido. See a full list of English-speaking Hokkaido Mountain Guides Association (HMGA) guides on the HMGA website here

Yamano-Makochan's Video Report
Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

In search of the famed Horokanai powder, Rick, Hiro and I headed north from Sapporo City. It was the weekend in early March 2019, and the plan was to check out three short routes in Horokanai – this Horokanai Pass route up Minamiasaba-yama, the popular Bozu-yama route, and a more strenuous and challenging route up Santo-zan.

I’m not sure why I never ended up posting this Horokanai Pass route. Perhaps it was because of the snow conditions – there were glide cracks everywhere, and the snow on the ridge was average. 

In any case, this is one of (if not the) the most popular, bread-and-butter routes in the Horokanai area. It’s super accessible, pretty straight forward and easy even for beginners, and offers a plethora of terrain for the more experience skier, willing to study the map and make wise snow-safe decisions.

Comments | Queries | Reports

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

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