Japan’s not the easiest place to find the climbing in. theres hundreds of places but aside from a core few most are quiet and off the grid. Unlike other destinations with hard climbing histories, many of Japan’s serious routes in the 5.13 – 5.14 range are surprisingly obscure. Even the Japanese complain about the lack of good, collective info. Mizugaki has long been the slightly esoteric sister to Ogawayama. the trails are less trampled, theres usually no one else out there, and aside from a few boulderers even weekends tend to be quiet. despite significant routes by Dai Koyamada and Yuji Hirayama and visits by Steve House attention is (welcomingly) minimal.

perhaps the start of a new wave of publishing, the new guide to Mizugaki is the book weve been waiting for. besides being a well done book with good (as in really good) data and images, theyve picked a location still with hundreds of routes to be done. Somewhat more daunting than Ogawayama and more popular spots, presenting Mizugaki like this could just be the thing to see significant new routes go up this summer, which could then lead to winter attempts on the higher routes.

note its all in Japanese but easy to figure out the basics for non-readers, and comes in two volumes covering different parts of the mountain. note too both editions almost sold out in the first week. hopefully – unlike other classics of Japanese climbing guides – it will go into extra printings.