Odasshu-yama Northeastern Ridge

オダッシュ山 | O-tes o-i

Posted on Mar 25, 2020
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Posted on Mar 25, 2020

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Reading time: 4 min
9.6km

Distance

5 hours

Time

818m

Ascent

1098m

Highest point

6/10

Difficulty

Snow Icon | Hokkaido Wilds
Dec-May

Best season

Odasshu-yama (オダッシュ山, 1098m) rises up out of the Tokachi plains at the northern reaches of the Hidaka mountain range. Once you're across the flat-land approach, the route lifts the climber up quickly, revealing expansive views across the plains and over to the Tokachi mountain range. From the summit, the northern Hidaka mountains all stand at attention. On the descent, the expansive eastern bowl below the Zenpo peak (前峰) awaits. There's a number of options, ranging from the expansive eastern-aspect side of the bowl, to a northerly-aspect slope further down. The spectacular downhill skiing makes up for the long-ish flat-ish approach from the road-end.

We visited this route on Mar 15, 2020

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

Odasshu-yama sits at the northeastern end of the Hidaka Range in central Hokkaido, just west of the sleepy little town of Shintoku-cho. The guidebook start of the route is around here, at the end of the snowclearing on Odasshu 7th Avenue (7号/オダッシュ通). However, we found that there was also ample parking on the wide verge at the t-intersection on 6th Avenue (六号), around here – starting here cuts off about 1km from the total distance.

General notes

The tree-skiing opportunities and occasional open slopes on the eastern bowl of Odasshu-yama are sublime, spectacular, and long. The 3km of only very gently ascending terrain and forestry roads to get to where the route actually starts climbing in earnest, however, are a bit of a chore. The incline is, however, enough to ensure there isn’t too much poling on the way back down. That said, the views are spectacular, and the skiing can be amazing. Overall we considered it very well worth the commitment to the flat-land approach.

Hut

None

Route details

After parking up well clear of the intersection at the 6th-avenue (6号) road-end, skin up the snowed in road, veering right at intersections, and skiing through underpasses. There’s a short section of washed out road to contend with, before a straight section of road. Cut up to the left on another forestry road at a sign that says オダッシュ山登山道登山口 (Odasshu-yama Trailhead). Turn left at the expressway, pass through the small underpass, and finally you’re out of civilization, walking through gently ascending forest.

After a small draw, the route abruptly starts climbing in earnest up to around 740m on the main northeastern ridge. The cornice should be manageable here. Follow the northeastern ridge all the way to just below the Zenpo 前峰 false peak. There’s no need to go all the way to the top of this false peak – cut across to the right through the forest on a gently climbing traverse to join up with the ridge again further up. There’s a final steep pitch to the summit.

On the descent, descend down to the Zenpo false summit. Either ski back down the northeastern ridge, or ski straight down into the eastern face of the eastern bowl. We encountered troublesome suncrust on this face, so traversed to the northern face on the other side of the bowl, dropping from a point at around 840m in altitude to the valley floor. In either case, strive to reconnect with your uptrack at around 600m altitude – any lower and the gully gets steep and tricky. From there, zoom along your uptrack all the way back to the car.

Route Timing
Up | 3hrs
Down | 2hrs

Transport

Public transport:

Shintoku JR Station is accessible by JR train from Sapporo Station (2hrs 15mins, 6,360yen, every 90 minutes, see the route here). From JR Shintoku Station it’s about 5.5km to the trailhead (near the Shintoku Animal Research Center 畜産試験場 chikusan shikenjo). There may be taxis at the train station, but it would pay to call ahead and book (Shintoku Hire 新得ハイヤー, TEL: 0156645155 , URL: http://city.hokkai.or.jp/~ishihata/).

By car: 

As mentioned above, the guidebook indicates the start of the route around here, at the end of the snowclearing on Odasshu 7th Avenue (7号/オダッシュ通). However, we found that there was also ample parking on the wide verge at the t-intersection on 6th Avenue (六号), around here – starting here cuts off about 1km from the total distance. If parking at the latter 6th Avenue trailhead, make sure to park well down from the t-intersection and well to the side of the road. It’s clear this road is used by large trucks, so they’ll need room to turn the corner.

Physical maps
Official Topo Map: Shintoku (新得) – map no. NK-54-8-2-4

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

A large cornice develops on the southern side of the main northeastern ridge, so don’t get too close to this while walking up the ridge. We don’t see any references to avalanches in the eastern bowl either in the guidebook or online, but skiers may wish to take care when things open up a bit on the eastern side of the bowl.

EDIT (2020/03/25): Rick sent through a photo (see it here) of the eastern face of the bowl below the false peak in April, showing clear full-depth avalanches. We’d recommend avoiding that face – the one on the PDF map with the downhill route – in spring as temperatures rise.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Odasshu-yama
Onsen nearby

The Shintoku Train Station Public Bath (新得町営浴場 駅前温泉, location, 420yen) was an absolute gem of a place. Open from 2pm-10pm every day, it’s a bright, cheerful place for a soak. Their claim to fame is that they use hot spring water from up in the Daisetsuzan range, from Tomuraushi Onsen – it’s transported down to Shintoku Village by tanker.

Extra Resources
  • See the detailed write-up (in Japanese) on p. 328-331 in the Hokkaido Yukiyama Guidebook.
  • For some more photos and context, see Hokkai Camp’s report here.

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.

Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

Route blurb from the Hokkaido Yukiyama Guide (2015), p. 328 (translated by Hokkaido Wilds)

Odasshu-yama is a 1000m-plus mountain towering over Shintoku Village to the west. There’s a summer trail to the summit, and it’s a popular peak, known it’s great views for relatively little effort. Views stretch over the Tokachi Plain, and you can see east Daisetsuzan mountains such as Nipesotsu-yama, as well as the Tokachi Range and mountains of the northern Hidakas. In both winter and summer, access is via largely the same route, along the northeastern ridge. You’ll climb with the Tokachi Plain at your back, and you’ll enjoy skiing expansive ridges and slopes on the way down.

The previous night, we’d stayed at the amazing Tsurugi-zan Trailhead Hut. Unlike the previous times I’d stayed there, we weren’t the only group there last night. There was a group from Muroran, and a group from the same outdoor club Saoka is a part of. It was, overall, a very social night. We may have also been very happy that when we arrived, the other groups had already got the wood stove going. It was nice to be able to immediately gather around the warm stove.

We got away from the hut by about 7:30am, and made it to the trailhead by 8am. On the way, we stopped in at a Seikomart Convenience store to fill up on hot water and make some last-minute snack purchases. There was one other car at the trailhead – a solo skier who headed off about 15 minutes before us. There was a stiff, cold wind blowing, and we were all trying to keep warm because of the shadows of the large wind-break trees.

Soon enough we were on our way. We followed the forestry roads, weaving our way under train lines and expressways, until we were finally out of civilization’s grip, and climbing up towards the main northeastern ridge. It was a beautiful blue-sky day, and until we got to the main ridge, we were very much sheltered from the cold wind.

As soon as we were on the main ridge, we were being buffeted by the same cold wind we’d had at the trailhead. We threw on layers and enjoyed the amazing views as we trudged up the ridge.

The chap up ahead of us veered off the main ridge to the right just below the Zenpo false summit. This was a good call, as it avoided us having to get up to the summit and then descend again. Following the main summit ridge now, we made the final push up to the summit and were rewarded with incredible clear-sky views in all directions.

As somewhat expected, the descent down the eastern bowl was a process in trying to find the best snow to ski. The eastern and southern aspects were horrible sun crust, so we quickly turned our sights to the northern aspect on the other side of the bowl. We’d have to sacrifice some 200m vertical to get down to the ridge, but the remaining ski down to the valley floor was exhilarating. 

The descent back down the flat-lands to the car was surprisingly fast and easy, with very little poling required.

Before the express-way drive back to Sapporo, we stopped in to the quaint, traditional public baths next to the Shintoku Train station. They were a simple, modest salve to our tired muscles after two full days of climbing and skiing.

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Comments | Queries | Reports

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