A tiny island a little north of Hokkaido, the island is nothing but a volcano. A 1721m high non active volcano, fully covered in snow.
It’s been on our to-do list from the first day we’ve been on Hokkaido, the north Island of Japan. And the second weekend of March it was the time. We where done working, had still two weeks to play around Hokkaido and a big high pressure system was right where we wanted it to be.
After our last day of work we pack our bags and set up our car to be our temporarily home for the next couple of days. 6/7 hours later we arrive to the ferry terminal of Wakkanai, where the traffic signs are also written in Russian, making us realise how far north we are, and we convert our car into our bedroom.
We wake up with the sun rising out of the ocean and not a single cloud in the sky. A short nap on the ferry extend our sleeping time and we get to the island of Rishiri at 8.45h in the morning.
The volcano is looking amazing, the last week has been very snowy and there has only been little wind. Jackpot!
We definitely want to ride one of the north facing lines, and decide to bring up our sleeping and cooking equipment to allow us to spend a night on the mountain.
It takes us about 5 hours to the summit, where an amazing view with 360 degrees of ocean around us awaits us. In the distance we see the island of hokkaido and the even tinier neighbouring island Rebun. It looks like we can ski down on all aspects, but having the sun out all day we pick our lines distanced from the south face to get the best snow.
We pick a nice line and ski down to the a hut which we find on an elevation of +-1230m. The hut is covered in rime which makes it almost hard to enter, but with a little help of our ice axes we find our way in. The hut or bivouac how it seems to be called does not look like it has been of any use over winter and is not equipped whatsoever. But we came prepared and settle right in, after which we are right in time to see the full moon rise in the east and have the sun setting in the west.
We roll out our sleeping bags and cook up some ramen. And than try to keep ourselves warm in our sleeping bags which we also fill with our boot liners and gloves (the only way to sort of get them warm for the next day).
When our alarm goes of the world has turned around and we see the sun rise on the east and the full moon set in the west, it couldn't have been any more perfect.
we leave our overnight equipment behind and make our way back up to the peak. The day seems even sunnier than the one previous and the up-track goes quick. A little boot-pack and some so called ‘billy goating’ on a solid crust of ice on a 50 degree angle above no fall zone got us into the north face. Right where we wanna be, exactly on top of the line we picked out. 900 vertical meters with top to bottom blower pow on a big open face asking us to open up. Hands down, best line of the season.
Another line is staring at us, we make our way back up, pass by the hut and pick up our stuff and get ready to ride all the way back to the car, back to the ocean. More blower pow, more steepness, more opening up is happening, quit possibly there was some hooting and howling going on..
Mount Rishiri is all we could wish for.