• Iwate-San
  • 2038 m
  • Primary factor 1745 m
  • Japan
  • Location: North 39.85260, East 141.00098 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 1
  • Climbed June 25. 2015.


How to get there:

Here is a quick reference and summary of climbs in the summer of 2015.
Route description:
From the trailhead, proceed directly up the obvious trail. Very soon, you enter a more open, grassy field. Curve right here, pass a building structure and follow the trail as it descends a bit, crossing a small drainage before ascending a small ridge on the other side. From here, the trail runs uphill with many steps and turns. There are a few small variations, but basically, you climb in vegetation until this first, big slope ends and the trail turns left to reach a good viewpoint.
From here, the route continues a short distance to reach a big mountain hut. After this hut, continue to a signed trailfork. Go right (obvious if you have visibility) and complete a last, short section with vegetation along the trail.
As the trail exits the vegetation, it steepens and forks. The shortest route is left, up some loose scree, then to the crater rim. What remains is a very short, but nice stroll along the rim to the highest point.
We travelled from Sapporo airport by train through the long under-sea tunnel and arrived in Morioka in the morning. Here, we had booked a hotel within walking distance of the train station. The plan was to pick up a new rental car the following morning after the climb of Iwate-san.
As it turned out, this plan had one problem. I had somehow, the idea that the trailhead for Iwate-san was located near Morioka, but this was not (quite) the case. The hotel receptionist was rather astonished when I asked him to book us a taxi. He insisted we should take a bus. However, we did not have more time than needed, so a taxi was what we decided on.
I wanted the taxi to take us to the trailhead described by Rob Woodall, since his report was the only one I had read. The taxi driver did not speak any English and therefore drove us to the trailhead he knew about. As it turned out, this was most likely a good choice, it was obviously a trailhead for the correct mountain. We paid the taxi and set off at 0935. We still had clouds, but for the first time on this trip, it looked as if we might get some visibility.
Hiking up a pretty clear trail, passing some sort of building, the trail suddenly became mush smaller right next to a sign that we could not read. We realized that this was the wrong way and headed back, we should have turned more right and descended a little when passing the park building.
Now on the correct trail, we had no more issues with route-finding. The trail ascended nicely, there were a few forks, but aside from obvious side trails to local viewpoints, these alternatives merge back higher up. At 1140, I finally emerged from pretty dense vegetation to a nice viewpoint that marked the end of the first big hillside. From here, one could see that the route now would cross a more level area, then do a final ascent to the peak a bit more to the right hand side as seen from this location. Trailsigns with a map showing the different routes are not always immediately clear when you do not undertand the language.
Shortly, we arrived at a pretty large mountain hut. The weather was now pretty nice and we moved quickly through the flat section with vegetation, then up a steeper, scree slope to gain the craater rim. From here, a short an easy stroll to the highest point. A pretty nice view from here with open terrain and a well defined crater.
We had arrived at 1235, so 3 hours to the summit. It was nice to finally have some good weather. We left at 1250 and had a pleasant hike down, arriving at the trailhead at 1445. There, I ran into some park maintenance workers. They had been cutting grass and brush near the trialhead, but seemd to finish their working day. They did not speak any English, but I was still able to explain that we needed to find some transportation back to Morioka. After a brief exchange, I guess they decided it was easier to give us a lift than to explain how to locate a bus. In this way, we arrived back at Morioka train station - thanks to friendly locals!