Posted on Jun 7, 2019
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Posted on Jun 7, 2019

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Reading time: 4 min
14km

Distance

6 hours

Time

1000m

Ascent

1547m

Highest point

8/10

Difficulty

Snow Icon | Hokkaido Wilds
Mar-Apr

Best season

This popular route up Shari-dake (斜里岳, 1547m) from Konpoku Pass (根北峠, 487m) offers some excellent skiing in the relatively sheltered Pankeniwanai valley in stable conditions. From the summit of this magnificent free-standing mountain, expect expansive views across to the Okhostk Sea and Shiretoko Peninsula, as well as peaks in the northern Daisetsu Range. To summit Shari-dake, while there are no technical sections, climbers will usually require the use of crampons with an ice axe for security.

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

Shari-dake is a free-standing volcano just southwest of the Shiretoko Peninsula in eastern Hokkaido. This route to the peak of Shari-dake starts on its eastern flanks from the main road pass – Konpoku Pass – linking the town of Shari with Shibetsu. The route starts at Konpoku Pass, here.

General notes

When we made our attempt on Shari-dake, we were turned back not too long beyond the treeline due to deteriorating weather. As such, we can’t comment much on the conditions beyond the eastern false peak at around 1400m. From reports we’ve seen, the upper reaches usually require the use of crampons, with fairly narrow ridges to the summit. The best skiing is said to be had in the valley directly south of the main ridge from the pass. Skiers can and do ascent via the valley also. See this video from another party on the same day as we were on the mountain. They started much earlier than us in the day, so managed to get to the summit, via the valley, before the worst of the weather.

That said, this route from Konpoku Pass seems to be the standard route for skiers in the winter.

Hut

None

Route markers

This route is not marked. The route cuts west from the pass through gently sloping native forest for 3km before emerging onto Shari-dake’s main eastern ridge. On the ascent, the gully can also be used, so long as snow is stable. From the false peak at 1400m, climbers should expect and be prepared for using crampons for the final hour or so of climbing to the actual peak. On the descent, either return along the safer (but not so good snow) ridge, or drop down into the valley south of the ridge.

Route Timing
Up | 4.5hrs
Down | 1.5hrs

Expect about 4.5 hour from pass to summit, and another 1 to 1.5 hours back down.

Transport

Public transport:

There are no public transport options for this route.

By car: 

There is a large parking area at the top of Konpoku Pass, here.

Physical maps
Official Topo Map: Sharidake (斜里岳) – map no. NK-55-31-6-1
Official Topo Map 2: Rubesudake (瑠辺斯岳) – map no. NK-55-31-2-3

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 vast majority of this route is beyond the treeline, so sudden weather changes can have serious consequences here. Make conservative decisions, and opt to enjoy some of the lower slopes if a summit looks unlikely.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Shari-dake
Onsen nearby

Try the unmanned Koshikawa Onsen here, a few kilometers back down the pass towards Shari. 200yen per person, this is a very simple shack with male and female separated tubs, with natural hotspring water.

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 Eastern Hokkaido or Shiretoko 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 including those in far eastern Hokkaido. 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

Quentin and I had spent the previous four days scratching about on icy surfaces on Mt. Rausu (an overnight trip) and Mt. Unabetsu. Overall, they’d been mostly Type-2 fun sorts of days. Low cloud, wind, and cold. To be honest we’d not expected much else, considering the forecasts, and the time of year. Anywhere out east in March is going to be pretty hit and miss with the snow conditions. But, with the area having the least amount of snow in recorded history, we’d spent our fair share of time dodging low pines, sticking out of the surface of the icy snow.

It was, therefore, with great glee that we parked up at the Shari-dake eastern trailhead, under blue skies and with a glorious 10cm or so of fresh snow. Driving towards Shari-dake from Utoro, this beautiful mountain stood clear and crisp against the sky. We were like giddy kids, at last with the prospect of getting great views and even perhaps a summit!

We clearly weren’t the only ones on the mountain. There were six other cars, with another pulling up as we were just hitting the trail. This time around, we chose to take the most common route up Shari-dake, across the plateau on the eastern side of the mountain at the Konpoku Pass. There is also a less-traveled gully route directly south of the plateau, which in hindsight would have been better for us on this particular day, even though we’d have been turned back by the weather either way.

When we set out, though, it was picture-perfect skinning along a very gently climbing plateau through quiet woods.

It wasn’t long after we started up the steeper ridge-bound climb that the weather started to close in. And before long on the ridge, we also hit the dreaded wind-stripped icy snow we’d battled with the previous four days. We dropped down to the lee side of the ridge to get out of the wind and found some softer snow, but the relative lack of snowfall this year made the going tough. At times we were bush-bashing through springy brush. Less than half the usual snow fell around this area this year in March, so had it been a usual year, all of this would have been covered.

After a while we retreated back onto the ridge. Better to be blasted with wind than take hours to force our way though the undergrowth. Not long after emerging onto the now wide ridge, the first flakes of driving snow started. We persevered for another 15 minutes or so before taking stock of our situation. The forecast was for deteriorating conditions in the later afternoon. Obviously those conditions had come early. We’d been genuinely positive about our chances on Shari-dake. But turning back was the only decent option for us.

The ski back down from where we were was great fun. There were some decent faces with some decent snow. And the final blast along the descending plateau was fast and thrilling. 

A few days later, a notification popped up from my favorite Hokkaido ski touring Youtuber, Yamanomakochan. Along with a few others, he’d started early on the same day, and managed to summit Shari-dake via the gully route. Predictably, they had atrocious conditions near the summit. Next time, I think I’ll be trying this gully route.

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Comments | Queries | Reports

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

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