Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Sounkyo - here we go again!

Time for at least one more trip before this year's winter season ends, so this time I'm off all the way up to Hokkaido at the end of the month (from 27th).

Take one group of volcanoes...

The Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group

...add a lot of flowing water...

Sounkyo gorge in the summer

...and then add winter temperatures down between -15 and -20C during the day...

What do you get? You get a gorge several kilometres long, lined with spectacular climbable ice routes of every possible description.

Ice in Sounkyo gorge during the winter

It's super cold so camping isn't an option. Luckily there's an onsen (hot spring) resort town right next to the gorge, which is empty during the winter, so excellent accommodation can be had for absurd prices.

A full buffet breakfast, a day climbing pristine multipitch water ice, an evening in a natural hot spring to get rid of all the aches and pains, followed by a real, hot dinner. It's almost too easy...

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