• Kisokomaga
  • 2956 m
  • Primary factor 1751 m
  • Japan
  • Location: North 35.78955, East 137.80455 (GPS on the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 1
  • Climbed August 1. 2016.


How to get there:
The point of reference is Komagane, a small place located about 40 kilometer south of the Hwy. fork near Suwa lake (south of Matsumoto). Take the road 75 west, there are good signs. The mountain is served by a rope-way (Gondola) that starts from the top of a very narrow road, with limited parking. Therefore, at least in the summer season, parking is down in the Komagene area, you should find a big pay parking on your right as you drive up road 75. The rope-way is served by a shuttle bus. This bus takes about 30 minutes from the parking to the base station of the rope-way.
Route description:
When you exit the cable-way, there are two trails, one descending slightly to your right, the other going left. These two trails form a circular route, however, the easiest and most direct route forks right. Descend slightly, but very soon, the trailturns uphill and climbs pretty sustained to the top of the rim. This trail has steps and is well maintained. On top of the rim, you run into a building. Take the trail that runs to your right, very soon it forks. The most direct route to the summit follows the left fork, the right (and most popular) trail climbs a false summit (2925 meter), with some nice boulders at its top. Climb this (together with everyone else!), then descend on its far side to a broad saddle. An easy trail heads uphill from there to gain the proper summit.
On your return, from the first saddle after just descending the first hill, fork right and bypass the false summit on your wy back. Now, as you approach the building, consider the very nicely shaped and much sharper summit beyond. A big trail leads up there. This is the second highest summit, Hokendake. This peak has an elevation of 2931 meter on the Japanese map (prominence is only 66 m). The last part of this route is protected by a cain, the overall difficulty increases to YDS class 2+. The summit block itself is a shapely rock, to ascend to the very top is YDS class 3. There are solid holds, but it may feel a bit exposed.
This route now continues along the ridge, all difficult spots being protected by iron and chains. First, descending toa point that looks extremely exposed, but there is a very nice, well protected way down. Next, this traverse runs a bit up and down, care is needed, but it is well marked and the route is easy to follow. The rating of this section is YDS class 2+ if you make use of the fixed protection, YDS class 3 otherwise.
When you hit a saddle with a sign and a trail with steps forking off downhill to your left take this trail, another trailcontinues to the next, small summit along the ridge. This trail will now easily bring you back down to the top station of the rope-way. In this fashion the circular route has been completed.
We had arrived directly from Norway, via Narita the day before. We drove to Komagene and stayed in the same place (Komagene Youth Hostel) as we had done the year before. We were up by 0600, breakfast around 0630, and on our way by 0700. A short drive across to the parking and bus-stop. We took the 0715 bus, the ticket was a round-trip including the rope-way. A discount is given to foreigners that can show a passport. The bus takes about 30 minutes and after a short wait, we left with the 0800 departure for the top station.
We started hiking at 0815, passing a lot of Japanese hikers. We then followed the crowd across the false summit, descended to the broad saddle and arrived at the proper summit at 0900. Interestingly, my GPS showed a significantly higher elevation both for the top station and for the summit. Good views with some intermittent clouds that created local fog, coming and going.
We left at 0915, took the bypass trail going back, but then decided to climb the more pointed peak along the ridge. We were on top around 0935, and all three wanted to sit/stand on top of the summit rock. Spending perhaps another 15 minutes around this sharp peak, we decided to complete the circular hike and continued down along the ridge. Nice scramble on very good rock, quite enjoyable. We returned to the top station by 1040, got the 1100 departure down, then a 1120 bus. Thus we left the area around 1200, headed for Kamikochi, the trailhead for climbing Hotaka.
Here is a quick summary of peaks climbed in our trip to Japan.