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Written by: William Habington
Date: 2012/10/25

 


Yesterday, Nagano awoke to a familiar, but always spectacular, sight.  For the first time since spring, the Norther Alps were blanketed with snow above the tree line.  From snowy Hakuba to the wind-blown peaks of Tateyama to the beetling summits of the Hotaka Range in Kamikochi, WINTER IS COMING!

 

穂高連峰

 

 

It was a big change from Monday, when no snow was visible at all.  But the appearance of snow atop Yake and other famous peaks is a sure sign that the entire park will soon be covered in the white stuff. 

 

 

焼岳

 

 

This is a bittersweet thing for us here at Kamikochi.  For all the beauty it brings, the snow will also mean an end to the regular hiking season in the park, when businesses shut down and trekking and climbing are best left to experienced specialists.

 

However...

 

This time of year offers the only chance to enjoy the sight of snow and autumn foliage at the same time, a moving and memorable sight.

 

 

 

 

The change of conditions is already evident around the Hotaka-dake Lodge, where over the past three days between 40 and 50cm of snow has accumulated. This makes a big difference to how accessible an area is as deep snow completely changes hiking and climbing conditions. Even closer to ground level, at Kappa Bridge, thin layers of frost and ice can make the ground slippery early in the day.

 

With temperatures ranging from around 0 in the early morning to 10 degrees at midday, you'll want to come equipped with a warm jacket, hat, and gloves (and a camera, of course).  And you will not want to miss these precious final days in the 2012 season. With color in the tree line and silver crowns of snow up above, the mountain panoramas are as beautiful as ever and definitely worth braving the chilly weather to see!

 

As always please feel free to visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/kamikochi , and leave any questions or comments you might have.

 

Sources of information:

National Park Guid Website: http://npg-alps.net/

National Parks Foundation Website: http://www.bes.or.jp/

Taisho-ike Website: http://www.taisyoike.co.jp

Shirakabaso Website: http://shirakabaso.com/