This Makkimo Route up Yotei-zan had always piqued my interest, as it seems fairly popular, but isn’t listed in the Hokkaido Yukiyama Guidebook. In the end, our merry group of hikers numbered nine.
Mercifully, this route starts at a public car park, unlike other routes on the mountain. This means no sketchy roadside parking, and plenty of room to get gear ready.
After about 2km walking along the relatively flat approach, I was starting to get a feeling for why this is not the most popular route on the mountain. It does have one starting to think “are we going to start climbing soon?”
The climbing did start in the end, in gradual Yotei-zan fashion. Gradual at first, and then in earnest very quickly. Ben had some skin icing-up issues, but apart from that it was pretty straight forward skinning up an already established skin-track for the day. We were clearly not the only ones on the route today.
While I’m still a bit ambivalent about the approach on this route, the glades of white birch are in my mind enough to make up for the longer hike in. They’re incredibly picturesque. And as if on cue, the weather cleared for us as we traversed the 700m snow field into the forest.
As we were approaching 1000m in altitude, the kind party that had broken trail for everyone else today swooped past, clearly enjoying themselves. I was happy to see that it was a group with the locally famous Yama-no-makochan, a Hokkaido mountain blogger and Youtuber (with 17,000 subscribers to his name). I recognized him from his signature yellow jacket and blue pants.
“Are you Yama-no-makochan?” I yelled.
“Yes, that’s me!” he replied.
In the past I’d exchanged emails with him to ask for permission to share his videos on Hokkaido Wilds (see the video above).
Soon we were at around 1,100m, and the weather was once again closing in. We couldn’t see if things got less bushy above us, so we called it a day, and got ready to head down.
There’s not much to say about the descent apart from the snow was top-notch, the weather was great, and everyone had a great time.
And I caught my ski tip in a submerged branch, fell, and broke my ski boots.
RIP Dynafit TLT7 Expedition CR boots. A warranty claim was promptly submitted post-trip.