winters looming so its been time to hone the sort of skills needed for trips in the pipeline. time spent on walls is always valuable, especially when its all about working stuff out, and usually thats easier done when its not -15c. this trip covered a lot of ground over almost 3 weeks, with time at Mizugaki yama, Yatsugatake, lower Kaikomagatake and then down to Tanzawa, each spot having its own stuff to work on.

rurp aid climbing walls alpine japan

theres nothing quite like a RURP, especially hanging from it when its in the underside of a lip

stacked wires clean aid alpine walls training japan

…tho stacked wires come pretty close

clean aid ball nuts alpine wallls japan
weird tools for weird placements: ball nuts fill a gap where nothing else besides nailing will

over the time we spent only 2 nights in hotels (the 2 nights when typhoons hit hardest), with the rest spent in portaledges, bivvys, tents and in-situ shelters. days were spent covering the logistics for foreign expeditions, playing about on dodgy aid placements, drilling systems, lugging huge loads, hauling water, reconning locations and refining the processes of extended periods being self-sustained – all the things that make the difference at the sharp end.

alpine walls clean aid hanging stove portaledge japan

living on a wall makes you rethink everything: hanging the stove between portaledges

clean aid training trip bivvy japan
after long, steep approaches its a luxury to stay right at the base of a wall

clean aid japan alpine wall training

getting onto the wall is only one part of a complex process, especially in a foreign country where you have to make all the decisions yourself. to succeed takes time spent not just on the sharp end, but getting a handle on the elements of a trip that dont get the romance and thrills that many overlook. by the time your clipped in above the ground youve already covered a lot of ground