It was the last day of March. It had been a warm couple of days, with clear blue skies and below-freezing nights. This did not bode well for this walk up the southern side of Raiden-yama. I was fully expecting to have bulletproof conditions, but the weather looked stellar for the day, and this was one of the few Niseko Range routes I was still to tick off the list for the season.
As I set off from the trailhead at just after 5:30am, it was indeed very solid underfoot. At least this would mean easy skinning. And If I was lucky, perhaps the surface conditions would soften up just enough on the descent for some decent downhill.
This was a quick solo trip, so I took most of the photos using the drone. With the DJI Mini 2 being so small, I could just put it in my trouser pocket – setting it up therefore was quick.
As expected, the ascent was fairly quick and straight forward. Great old-growth forest from relatively low down. The ridge just as the treeline was incredible, with amazing views south along the Japan Sea coast to Shimamaki and Kariba-yama.
Because I’d left so early in the morning, it was only about 9am when I started the descent. This meant that surface conditions for most of it were very solid. But the surface was consistent, and the views couldn’t be beat. An amazing way to start the day – I was done by 10am.