Everyone needs a Mt. Chokai

I climbed Chokai-zan the other day from the southern Yunodai trailhead. Only by climbing did I realise why it’s not the usual route. That side of the mountain is tough. Extensive stretches of rocks that really test your stamina, and only barely visible yellow markings to show the way for much of it.

The whole climb took 9.5 hours, was 12km total, and had more than 1k of ups and downs. I ran out of water even though I brought 2.5l, thankfully there were a few snowbanks to get some, and by the time I got back to my car, I had 1% left on my phone battery, and blisters on my feet.

Needless to say, I hadn’t done a climb like that in a while. It was a reminder of why mountains are so good at keeping us in check. I totally underestimated the mountain, but thankfully we were still able to reach the summit, and reach my car before sundown (I always carry a headlight and spare battery just in case).

Part of the reason why we took so long is because it was such a good day, I kept stopping to get photos and video. Next time I do a hike that is more than 3 hours one-way, I’m going to be more strict on the type of footage I get. I’ll also be a bit more selective in who I bring, I think I’ll only take people on mountains if they’re trails that I know.

Either way, everyone needs a Mt. Chokai every once in a while.



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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


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