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Mt. Karamatsu in Winter [Photo Album]

This week I had the privilege of guiding a fellow American I met on the slopes of Tsugaike last month, up to the summit of 2,696m Mt. Karamatsu in neighboring Hakuba village. Though it is starting to look and feel like spring at the foot of the mountains, it is still very much winter at higher elevations - meaning this was a full-on winter hike requiring a comprehensive ensemble of winter alpine gear.

Mt. Karamatsu and the Happo ridge that lead up to it are completely exposed, and subsequently infamous for the howling winds that regularly whip across them and relentlessly batter hikers, often forcing them to turn back short of the summit. Yet, compared to the numerous other peaks in the area, Mt. Karamatsu is by far the most popular winter hike with easy and efficient access and a climbing route that is easily navigate and well-protected from avalanche danger. Oh, and the views are simply spectacular.

Rather than burdening you with the details of the hike, we hope you'll instead take a moment to experience the mountain with us - through some of the best visuals we shot during the climb.


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