We waked to a beautiful morning. Clear skies and warmer weather. We took the ropeway to Sugatami station ( Sugatami in Japanese means full-length mirror and the name relates to the mountain that mirrors in the ponds ). The station is located at 1600 meters. Excited we checked the map of Daisetsuzan park and learned the trail on Asahi mountain. Soon we started the climb on our first volcano in Hokkaido. Mt. Asahi is part of the Daisetsusan volcanic mountain range. It is Hokkaido highest mountain and reaches 2290 meters -this was our destination. We passed near the ponds that we saw yesterday evening, a short climb and we reached the smoking part of the mountain.
Standing at this spot one could here the strong whistling voice of the steams and smell the sulfur. As we raised our eyes we saw the Hiking trail like a narrow line on the Asahi mountain. We kept climbing on the rockfall .
Soon it became a considerable effort. An hour and a half into the climbing and the mountain seemed higher than ever. We stood panting. Two old Japanese were sitting on a rock, the husband with a napkin on his knees, eating Miso soup. We admired them for the willingness to carry extra weight. The trail continued, twisting between bolders, stretching up, crossing from left to right. At the last session there were ropes on the side of the trail in order to help the climbers and give a better grip.
Two and a half hours after we started the climb we finally stood on the pick happy and proud -we made it! Managed to climb 700 meters. The 360 degrees view that surround us was amazing. There we were, with only five other fellow hikers, smiling broadly to the world and breathing the cold air.
If you ever climbed down a steep mountain you know the feeling in your knees -the trembling muscles, the difficulty in stabilizing the legs…. it took us two hours to the ropeway.
We felt that we can call it a day but had to get into the car and drive two more hours to the other side of the park in order to check in to our next hotel and prepare for the next day’s climbing- the climb on mount Kurodake.