We moved into a place in Niseko town, a 15 minute drive away from the office where we have our morning meetings before we head out every day, chasing pow. This 15 minute drive gives us an amazing view on Mount Yotei (whenever it's a clear day).
Mount Yotei is an inactive stratovolcano 1898 meters high. As soon as the first clear day came around our mind was set, we where going to ride this mountain, ASAP.
The 5th of Feb was such a clear day, it was even forecasted days ahead, and we where definitely not the only ones with the idea of climbing this beauty.
An early alarm made us able to enjoy a beautiful red coloured mountain while the sun was rising in the east. We had planned to hike the south-east side and come down in one of the good looking chutes down that same side. The skin track was put, there where several early birds ahead of us, and the first climb in a little gully through the trees warmed us up. Before we knew we where at the bottom of some big avalanche paths and we decided to stay on a high ridge along the paths to make a nice, safe and easy to climb skin track. This is where we lost the crowd, who manly followed up the summer route which included a good amount of boot packing.
Winds picked up a bit while getting into the alpine, but the sun kept shining on us, and a bunch of switchbacks later we found ourselves cracking a beer at the hut located just little ways away from the peak. Sheltered from the wind and with our faces in the sun we enjoyed our lunch and planned our decent.
We climbed the last few meters, summited Yotei and got to ski down the crater! Yes, you can ski down in the crater of Yotei, where it actually holds it's best snow, some smooth soft turns got us excited for the rest of the decent down the actual face. We got back onto the ridge, walked a loop around to see how the northside is looking from the top (next clear day, check.) and dropped into some wind hammered snow op top which soon turned into some boot deep pow down the chutes on the south/ south-east side of the volcano.
A great day, a great adventure, a great mountain.