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Super Rain. Japan.
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Jan 7, 2009, 4:28 AM
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Super Rain. Japan.
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Tetsuya, Shin, and I took off from Yokohama at 4:00 in the morning. We headed down the Izu peninsula in the Shizuoka Prefecture towards our destination. I had been doing a bit of research into some of the more obscure and interesting climbs in Japan and was propositioned by Tetsuya - my climbing partner and fellow guide - to go and check out this climb. This happened four years ago.

He had been eyeballing it for three or so years and had been shut down on it twice before; once because the weather came in fast, and the other due to some horrendous route finding issues (more on this in a minute).

After enlisting the help of Shin, a long-time friend and climbing mentor to Tetsuya, we decided to head out and give it a go. The approach to the climb is a mile or so of unstable trail right on the ocean. Precipices drop off into churning waters below, sometimes 30m or more. After the hike you are required to down climb 20m of 5.4-5.5 terrain. Granted, there is a tatty rope there to assist you, but it would hardly hold my weight.


(Shin Fukuhara soloing 5.5 terrain on the approach trail. Yellow shirt, black pants. Right side of photo.)

Then the tricky part of the approach comes; you then get to traverse a sea-spray-damp 5.3 slab for 60m to the crumbly trail that leads to the base of the climb.

The climb



Super Rain is a 900' precipice the juts directly out of the ocean at the toe of the Izu peninsula. I eyeballed this cliff three times before while leading sea-kayaking tours in the area and always wondered if there was an established route up it. There is only one, but the potential for more is quite endless.

The climb (1) starts up a moderate 5.7 corner left of the blunted arete to a 5.6 exposed traverse. After which you gain a stand of trees and belay at the upper point in the trees. (2) Takes off on 5.8 slab terrain with the first piece being about 20m up in the start of a beautiful hand crack. After swallowing all of your double #2s, #3s, and the #4 you've brought you exit up and left to a shoddy two bolt belay. (4) Heads up a series of granite steps following another hand crack. Each step (and by step I mean they are giant steps) gets progressively slabby with the progression to the next step getting more overhanging as you progress; until you pull over the final portion with a 60 deg overhang and run another slab out for 15-20m to a rusted pin and a crack for a belay. 5.9+ (Belay 4 ledge) Here is a giant ledge to sprawl out on and have lunch; we nicknamed it the condo. {Remember my emphasis on there being only one route on this...} (Route finding becomes really important now. On the left of the ledge starts a 5.10 ramp. There are a few pins in the corner, but you find that this leads to nowhere and an insurmountable headwall. Left pin #1 and biner #1 and lowered down to the condo. On the right side of the ledge is a beautiful OW crack. It slants gently right 20 degrees off of plumb with a 70 degree overhang, that couldn’t be it, no... If one were stuck in a rain storm you could build an anchor in the OW and sit on a 2' wide ledge and have your feet dangle over 400' of nothing and keep dry. This 2' ledge continues right to another 5.10 ramp that also dead ends at an insurmountable head wall. Left pin #2 and biner #2 and lowered to the condo

We left the car with the intention of me climbing on my 9.8mm rope and Tetsuya and Shin using twins. They were practicing rope management for an ice route in Hokkaido that they were going to do in a month. Well, it would turn out that at the base of the route we realized that someone *cough* had left his rope in the car.

Not wanting to waste the 2 hours it would take to retrieve the rope and knowing that time was of the essence we decided to three-man the twins. Shin and Tetsuya both weigh in around 70 kilos (140lbs); I hover in at 100 kilos (200lbs); a fair weight difference.

Tied into one of the twins I realized just how small an 8mm dynamic twin is. It's a frail, fragile little thing, and considering that I am comfortable on a 9.2 - 9.8 lead rope I had apprehensive thoughts about the matter. They passed one offering of advice to me as I followed up my pitches. "Please, don't fall. You could cut through your rope on an edge." Shocked

I climbed with purpose and intent on pitches 1-4. I was especially nervous going through the roof sections of the P4 steps.

After we had our lunch on the broad ledge that made up the pitch 4 belay I was handed Shin's end of rope. It was my lead. (5) Pitch 5 starts up the overhanging, exposed like crazy, offwidth, 5.10a/b, which goes for about 20m before pulling a lip onto another semi-vertical slab/face, where 30m of runout climbing exists before you come to an impressive belay off some shrubs. A fall anywhere on the slab would drop you off of the lip and into thin air with about 400' of nothing between you and the ocean. I was the key to this climb as {1} I don't mind OW climbing; and {2} there is a key gear placement that needs to be made on lead that requires a loooong reach. These two Japanese men just don't have it. [This piece stays in place until you retrieve it on the way down.]

(6) My lead again starting up an arete you trend right to some face climbing which leads to a ledge with a HUGE crack behind it. (Again, I figured out why they brought me on this climb). After jumping across you climb another 15' and establish a belay on a cozy ledge overlooking the ocean. 5.10a. (7) Starts up some blocky ledges and gradually lessens in angle as you trend left. Really more of a zigzag traverse as you make upward progress. 5.6. (8) The summit pitch!! Starts up another arete and follows it for 30m to a hand-traverse over some exposed terrain 5.10a. Pull a lip and you're on reasonably flat ground. Then find a tatty belay.

Turn around and enjoy the ocean:


(The summit shot. Note the ratty tat over the arete next to me.)


asiaclimber


Jan 7, 2009, 5:01 AM
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Re: [epoch] Super Rain. Japan. [In reply to]
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got to love climbing in japan... great trip report. did you get to Ogawayama while you were in Japan? Kitagowa? Shonin Iwa? Joyama? anyplace up in the Kwanto?


Partner epoch
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Jan 7, 2009, 5:05 AM
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Re: [asiaclimber] Super Rain. Japan. [In reply to]
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I climbed a fair amount in Ogawayama, Joyama, and Jogasaki. Spent some time in some of the smaller places too. I have been thinking of taking a climbing vacation back there. It's a bit expensive and I know from living there that I'll need everything meticulously planned, else I'll be out an arm and a leg.


asiaclimber


Jan 7, 2009, 5:43 AM
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Re: [epoch] Super Rain. Japan. [In reply to]
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well if you do make it back hit me up with a pm and i can provide you with a place to stay. i have a car so transportation isn't an issue and i live 1.5 hr's from Joyama, 2.5 from Ogawayama. 2 from Jogasaki and have about 10 sport crags within an hr of my house. I think i may even know your friend Tetsy. does he work in Yokuska (spelling?).


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Jan 7, 2009, 6:06 AM
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Yes. Tetsuya works on the US base in Yokosuka.


sonso45


Jan 7, 2009, 11:18 AM
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A long while ago, I passed through Yokohama. Had no idea there was a rock that big nearby. Good story. Wish I could go back.


shimanilami


Jan 7, 2009, 12:42 PM
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Re: [asiaclimber] Super Rain. Japan. [In reply to]
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asiaclimber wrote:
got to love climbing in japan... great trip report. did you get to Ogawayama while you were in Japan? Kitagowa? Shonin Iwa? Joyama? anyplace up in the Kwanto?

I should be heading to Kyoto in February on business. Are any of these (or other decent) climbing areas near enough for a day trip from Kyoto? Can you suggest a resource (e.g. climbers group; web sites) for climbing in Japan?


asiaclimber


Jan 7, 2009, 1:49 PM
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those places are all real far from Kyoto. check out outdoorjapan.com for rock climbing on the forums and you might be able to find some people down in kyoto.


shimanilami


Jan 7, 2009, 5:21 PM
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Thanks, man. I'll check it out.


churningindawake


Jan 7, 2009, 6:27 PM
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Fantastic TR Jay!

Makes me want to go and climb in Japan!


asiaclimber


Jan 7, 2009, 8:22 PM
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churningindawake wrote:
Fantastic TR Jay!

Makes me want to go and climb in Japan!

please do i am in need of english speaking climbing partners. there is so much rock here and japanese people all seem to work on saturdays so i can usually only get one day outside a week.Unsure


churningindawake


Jan 10, 2009, 3:06 PM
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asiaclimber wrote:
churningindawake wrote:
Fantastic TR Jay!

Makes me want to go and climb in Japan!

please do i am in need of english speaking climbing partners. there is so much rock here and japanese people all seem to work on saturdays so i can usually only get one day outside a week.Unsure
I"ll let you know if i come to Japan... I need to make money first though. Flights are really expensive right now.


yotrepo


Jan 23, 2009, 8:15 AM
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Epoch,

I lived in Japan from 2001-2004 and climbed this route twice. Well, the first attempt was aborted after I was attacked by a hawk! I just Googled the route to show a friend and found your post. It brought back a lot of memories. That is a great climb. Wonderful, sketchy approach (I remember seeing the biggest spider of my life and a crazy looking snake). Beautiful surroundings. Great climbing. You may have rapped off of some of my slings as well... as the ones there when I climbed were as nasty looking as the ones you saw (my 4 year old slings are surely beat up and salt covered, if even there).

I also noticed you are from Maine. I grew up in Falmouth and now live in Boston. Not much of a climber these days, but loved to see the post. Thanks for the memories and pics!Smile

--Peter


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