SUMMER STUFF: ASAMA / FUJI, ALPINE ICE, GRANITE WALLS & THE DARK ARTS

winters gone. this means 2 things: either jump on into summer or train for next winter – or both.

hard in winter, a circus in summer: combined with asama-yama before the crowds start in August the asama-fuji double header is a serious endurance trial

asama-yama + fuji the winter endurance classic done faster and lighter in summer. this is still a big undertaking, but a lot more doable. 1700m one day, 2500m the next. perfect for assessing your base endurance capacity. note this is still the FULL Fuji ascent, from the first station

light boots, t-shirts, easy sticks, +1000m routes: what’s not to like about spring alpine ice?

alpine ice routes extend well into early summer, with 1500m of gain on ice pack alone, then a few hundred meters of headwall on rock. lots of options, big routes on ice but doable in a t-shirt are an excellent way of getting in a few thousand meters of vertical gain on glacier-style territory to extend your yearly dose

400m of fun: gnarley 5.12 or relaxing 5.9, spring is the time to enjoy days on granite

granite walls once the snow has cleared and its warm enough to ditch the down jacket its time to get on Japan’s multipitch granite towers and walls. 3 and 4 day trips that have all the elements of exped climbing but minus the exped lead-ins. as training for bigger things, hard ascents in their own right or done easy as a vertical holiday, several days on the wall is far more than regular climbing trip

Nae Yagi on an M10 dry route in Hyalite Canyon: you dont get far on stuff like this without year-round practice

drytooling and aid climbing unspoken of in places, enigmatic history in others, neither drytooling nor aid is looked down upon in Japan – so long as its done properly. with the special equipment and ideal training ground, even a basic degree of dry and aid makes a HUGE difference to anyones winter or alpine climbing. with months until the ice comes back why let your hard-earned skills atrophy when you could hone them and start next winter better than the last.

like winter, things book fast. demand is high but life is short. make the most of your summer