JANUARY 2015 JAPAN ICE CONDITIONS UPDATE

weve said all along this winter was a good one for ice, and now after the first quarter its time to update

裏同心 Ura Do Shin F8: weve never seen this in before. in the old days it was WI4, this year about M5. a very rare opportunity

as the ice has fattened with an early weather pattern that brought mid-winter freezes occillating with warm spikes to form the best ice in years, recent snow dumps have covered some areas already, the well known Yatsugatake area especially so. where early freezes had made the ice good, associated early snow has covered it up meaning some areas are already choked, avi-prone and over-baked. oh well.

gully routes in some places that look like this in the first week of December…

….look like this now. thankfully most other places are not the same.

the good news is that other areas have had little of the bulk snow, but just enough that combined with the early freezes to make ice forming well in places weve not seen it before. in these areas lots of esoteric and quality ice up to several pitches high presents itself as a rare objective.

so far the weather patterns have been accurate to about 85%, and ahead looks like more deep freezes. heading towards mid winter the conditions for less-frequented stuff look excellent though colder than normal. beyond that into the second half of winter we are expecting the fattest ice yet for peak season.

fuji, where we have been focussing, is covered in a total layer of hard ice that starts well below 1400m. again, unusual.