Japan Alps – current conditions
April 2014: The Japan Alps are still buried in deep snow drifts, and with the warming temperatures and melt-freeze cycles, avalanches are quite common in the higher elevations. Keep an eye on the snow pack and conditions if heading out, and remember to bring your winter climbing gear and avalanche equipment. Those without proper experience should wait until June before heading to the Alps, as Golden Week is still too early to safely climb with ice axes and crampons.
Damian from Steep Deep Japan has agreed to provide us with periodic updates from Hakuba about the current snow conditions in the alpine back country. Damian is a full-time resident of Hakuba village and runs guided ski/snowboard tours during the winter season, as well as summer trekking tours in the Japan Alps. He spends nearly every day in the mountains and knows the Hakuba section of the Japan Alps better than anyone. Thanks Damian for your valuable assistance!
Web cams are also a good thing to check during pre-trip planning, so I’ve compiled all of the Japan Alps cameras below for ease of access.
Mt. Shirouma (from Hakuba village)
Mt. Goryu (from Goryu ski resort)
Mt. Yari (from the hut just below the summit)
Tateyama (from Murodo)
Chuo Alps (from the hotel below Mt. Hoken)
Mt. Senjo (Minami Alps)
Mt. Kai-komagatake (Minami Alps)