Mt. Soranuma-dake’s winter-only frozen swamp crossing

Mt. Soranuma-dake (1,251 m), a popular mountain with summer hiking courses that take in Bankei-numa Swamp and Mamisu-numa Swamp, boasts a winter-only course that takes in another swamp. On the Kara-numa Swamp Course, hikers walk on the frozen surface of the water.

 On March 13, we donned snowshoes and entered the trailhead from the national highway in the city of Eniwa. We walked along the ridge but there was no trail. The accumulated snow covered the bamboo grass, making it possible to walk among the trees.

Three hours later, we arrive at Kara-numa Swamp and suddenly the field of vision expands. We head toward the summit of Mt. Soranuma-dake and walk on the frozen surface of the water. The sound of the wind or birdsong cannot be heard; it is a world of silence.

 Looking south from the summit, beyond Kara-numa Marsh, we can see Mt. Eniwa-dake (1,320 m), Lake Shikotsu and the Pacific Ocean. To the west is Mt. Yoichi-dake (1,488 m), the highest peak in Sapporo; Mt. Yotei (1,898 meters) and the Niseko mountain range. To the northeast is the city of Sapporo. Sapporo Dome and skyscrapers can also be seen. I now understand why Mt. Soranuma-dake is known as the ‘observatory of the Sapporo area.’

(Photos and words by Kobayashi Motohide)

A climber aiming for the summit of Mt. Soranuma-dake with the frozen Kara-numa Swamp (center) in the background. Lake Shikotsu is in the distance on the left. The pointed mountain on the right is Mt. Eniwa-dake. March 13 at around 11:15 a.m.
The frozen Kara-numa Swamp with the summit of Mt. Soranuma-dake in the distance. March 13 at around 11:50 a.m.
The view to the west from the summit of Mt. Soranuma-dake. In the foreground is Mt. Sausu; to the right in the distance is Mt. Muine. March 13 at around 10:40 a.m.

Location

Mt. Soranuma-dake

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