every winter books earlier, faster and for more sophisticated trips. as more climbers switch on to Japan as a winter destination the demand increases, and rather than go for quantity we focus on quality. this means not everyone gets what they want.
starting the previous winter we schedule whats ahead. we dont run things randomly. early winter season we focus on the Asama-Fuji trips, winter walls, south facing routes and esoteric projects. after that comes peak demand as the ice fattens and the primary areas come into condition, including the ice along the tibetan border. the last half of the season is alpine mixed and gully ice thats less affected by the lengthening days.
by early autumn a lot of winter is booked, with chunks of calender going from early summer when the southern hemisphere climbers (in their winter) make plans. when things feel cold downtown the season is well under way. the numbers are simple:
~ theres about 16 weeks to the season
~ making about 115 days, of which about 35 are weekends
~ approach days & weather take up about 1 day a week
~ rest days another
~ we dont climb every day, theres other things to do
~ not everywhere is in condition all the time
work it out and you start to get an idea of what a season really looks like, and that from a planning perspective certain types of trip make more sense than others. we have a small footprint as a business and cannot be everywhere at once.
the way forward is to think what you want, be clear on it, know your window of time and be realistic about what you can acheive. then get in contact as early as possible and be prepared to confirm. ice climbing is not the sport for hazy ideas and a string of ‘maybes’. when the plan is made, the dates are yours, and you can start preparing. when summers over the ice forms fast.
priority goes to people with a process. we cant provide for everyone so we focus on climbers with interesting ideas. you dont need to be a pro, but thinking large gives you an advantage. telling us what youve done and where you want to take this can push you significantly up the list. by example, for the last few years we have done less trips per season but spent more nights out there. ‘more interesting’ usually equates to ‘more committing’ when it comes to ice climbing, and we like it that way. yes, we do short basic ice climbing trips, but we dont do too many. beyond a certain limit those trips start to cut into time we can devote to more sophisticated things like big frozen walls, alpine objectives and unheard of ice in China. things that demand more attention.
the carrot on the stick of more trips, easier trips, for more money doesnt gel with our ideas of ice climbing. more does not equal better. japan and its mountains are not the place for hoardes of intruders.