About Oodou Sea Coast:
At the far soutwestern end of the island of Shikoku lies the Oodou Sea Coast(kaigan). Here, steep, white granite cliffs meet the wide Pacific Ocean. It is an area know for its winter sunshine, summer heat, and fierce typhoons in the fall.
Climbing here stretches far back in Japanese climbing history and it is one of the first areas to be climbed in Japan. The climbing is almost entirely crack climbing, so a good sized rack and the skill to use it are prerequisite.
They are a few bolted routes, the most famous being Chokoku Rock(5.12a), but most sit forgotten as they are steep and forbidding with their ancient bolts rusted by the ocean mists. You definitely want to be getting on the cracks at this area, it isn't a sport climbing area.
The area is broken into seven sections, with the Monkey Area being the most popular, and probably the most fun. The anchors can be old, so it is wise to carry some slings to back up the old ones for rappels. Generally, top-roping and lowering is difficult and not recommended.
The grades are pretty close to Yosemite or Squamish, with 5.9 being pretty hard. On my visit I saw a group of 5.12 face climbers each in turn getting gripped out on the crux of a 5.8 hand crack. Such is the difference between a crack climb and a bolted face climb. caveat emptor.
Recently, a guide book has been circulating the climbing community here in Shikoku and elsewhere in Japan. Apparently someone in Matsuyama made it. It is quite good and detailed even if you can't read a word of Japanese. Finding the aproach trail is kind of difficult, but not impossible.
Chances are if you are gunning to go here, you live in Japan or know someone who does, so if you ask around in gyms and among your Japanese climbing friends, you can get some decent beta. The area is actually quite well known, if infrequently visited due to its remote, yet spectacular location. It is worth the effort to find yourself here.November to April is the best season to climb. Spring might bring rain, but certainly perfect days are to be had. Summer is just too hot and humid for decent climbing, and Fall brings dangerous typhoons and high waves.
|Nearest town or city:||Kochi Prefecture|
|Directions:||From either Koichi City or Matsuyama city head south and west to the town of Sukumo.
In either case you will take highway(using the term loosely) 56.
From Sukumo head south on 321 to Otsuki Town.
Here you will see sign for the Oodou Kaigan and route 43 which heads to the tiny village of Kashiwajima at the end of the cape.
Follow the winding and somewhat dangerous route 43 until you come to a small lookout viewpoint platform and a parking area.
The platform is flat on the top with some stone benches built underneath. From the platform you can see the eastern sections of the climbing area, including Chokuku Rock.
The Monkey area is more less below you at this point and hidden from view. Park here and hike west, toward Kashiwajima, on the road. After about a quarter mile or so you should see a good sized boulder on the left, seaward, side of the road. There is parking here for two or three cars. A bit before the rock is the trail head. There is a small sign hanging from a tree to mark it. Follow the trail down to where it forks. Take the left fork for the Monkey area(the right fork takes you to the Harbor Area.) Scramble down the fisherman's trail until you come to a scary old rusted ladder. Climb down and then left to the climbs.
The Eastern Areas can be reached from a seperate trail which lies a bit east of the main parking area. It isn't easy to find, so the best advice is to make a friend!
|When to Climb:||Autumn|
|Quantity of Climbs:||Month|