whilst not true big walls, Japan has lots of long granite routes in the 250m-550m range that in summer are classic aided routes often awaiting free ascents, or in winter become 3 and 4 day alpine suffer-fests
obscure, unusual, cold and remote: japans alpine walls have their own standards and anomalies
topos of walls in the Northern Alps: no shortage of routes awaiting free or winter ascents
originally mostly aid routes from the 60s, these routes were the testing ground for Japanese ascents in places like Pakistan and the Pamir. today these multi-pitch objectives are A0 and A1 grades, many having been freed, but many others still as yet waiting. the majority don’t have winter ascents, and the combination of winter-free ascents is rarer still.
for a bigger blurb on Japans forgotten walls go HERE to see the blog post
as always, if these routes were in Europe or Nth America they would get intense interest, but being in Japan they are quiet, even in the warmer months. long crack systems, evil roofs, deep chimneys and thin seams make for focused climbing. many routes are between 350m and 450m high, made up of about 9 – 15 pitches, and most routes top out at between 2500m and 3000m.
logistically these routes are doable year round – relaxing experiences in summer (mid-April to September) or hard exped style in winter (late November to early April). Spring sees the snow taper, with approaches up long avenues of snow pack right to the base of the routes. approaches can be 1 or 2 day affairs.
getting your confined space living skills streamlined is a big deal on cold alpine ledges
on the routes themselves things are done ‘Alpine Wall style’, lighter than ‘full’ wall-style, but with stripped down wall gear. tents are used as a base set up, but then portaledges become the favored mode for when things go vertical. days hunkered down with winds and snow are not unknown.
we run these trips as MICRO-EXPEDITIONS yet give them their own category due to being more technical, requiring specialized equipment and being on established routes. climbers interested in Alpine Wall trips should have experience of alpine faces, big wall technique and/or cold conditions climbing.
if requested preliminary TRAINING courses can be arranged to pull together the necessary skills.
long approaches, serious climbing, self-sufficient: gear for alpine walls in Japan