Sounkyo – the centre of ice climbing in Hokkaidos
After these intensive days we chose to relax dawdling around in the high-tech world of Japan`s big stores. At the same time the snow storms were coming to an end and springtime was about to come – so we were headed to Sounkyo, the actual centre of ice climbing in Hokkaido. With temperatures around -10°C we climbed some classic routes, as well as the impressive line Little princess. This 200 meter climb offers varying climbing around M8+, A1, WI5+. Including the photo shooting we spent a whole day in this demanding route. As usual when you’re having fun time was running too fast. At the end of our trip we wanted to visit the spots at the east coast and to explore a peninsula for new routes.
Spring is coming – time to go back
Directly on the sea side we climbed on the scenic sea cliffs of Abashiri, surrounded by several sea eagles and tons of ice drifting in the sea behind us. This is a really special place, but sadly it was already too late in the season and the temperatures were too warm that we could only climb one route. At the peninsula we had to cancel an attempt doing the first ascent of the Furope-waterfall due to these warm conditions – only a few meters next to us a big ice roof broke down and so we were forced to leave the place immediately. Spring was finally arriving as well in Hokkaido; before we started a long journey back to good old Europe, we drove back to Sapporo and explored the Japanese night life, which turned out to be as different and unique as everything else over there.
Text: Albert Leichtfried