Tuesday, 17 April 2007


Mizugakiyama-9, originally uploaded by Jonas Wiklund.

Since I've enthused about the bouldering in Ogawayama, both on my regular blog and on ukclimbing.com, I may have to describe the bouldering in the neighbouring valley, Mizugaki (瑞牆), as well.

The boulders in Mizugaki are akin to the boulders in Ogawayama. Huge high-friction granite boulders with lots of natural pockets! In fact I would say that Mizugaki has even more heavily pocketed rock than Ogawayama. The day I went there I pulled on maybe one crimper, other than that it was just pockets and slopers, so you might want to train that open-hand strength before you go.

The boulders rest in a beautiful pine-forest. Because of the elevation, it should be possible to climb in Mizugaki during the summer as well.

The Mizugaki bouldering area is 40 min from Ogawayama by car, and is a very good complement to the bouldering in Ogawayama.

As far as I can see there are two main drawbacks. Firstly, the boulders are spread out on a wide area and are quite far apart, so you have to walk a bit between the problems. Secondly, most problems are either quite hard, from 1-dan and up, or very high.

Photos & Videos
I have a slideshow from our visit last Saturday on my flickr-account. There are some more pics here. Apparently there is a segment from Mizugaki in the video “Frequent Flyers”. A good video clip from Mizugaki can be found here, and another one here.

Check the local weather-forecast before you go on weather.yahoo.co.jp

Sutamacho-obi (須玉町小尾), Hokuto-city (北杜市), in the northern part of Yamanashi-prefecture (山梨県). Here's a map from mapion.co.jp.

Getting there
From Sutama-intersection (須玉IC) on the Chuou-expressway, drive in the direction of Masutomi Onsen (増富温泉). From the Shiokawa dam (塩川ダム) drive towards Shinkyu Touge(信州峠). Follow roadsigns pointing right to みずがき自然公園 (Mizugaki natural park, only signposted in Japanese). Close to Kuromori (黒森) turn up on 本谷釜瀬 forest road and go to Mizugaki forest (瑞牆の森). Park your car on the big parking lot that serves Mizugaki forest.

From Ogawayama, drive back to Kawakamimura and take left at Nanas Supermarket. After a kilometer or so turn left towards 信州峠 (Shinkyu toge, only signposted in Japanese as of now), then follow signs for 瑞牆の森 (again, only in Japanese as of now).

There isn't any topo for the bouldering in Mizugaki. Get there and ask around, there should be other climbers there during the entire season. For those of you who possess a modicum of Japanese there is a brief area guide with some essential information on the climbing hermit's website .