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Karamatsu Snow Hike (Hakuba)

Karamatsu winter snow hike

Karamatsu 2696m is an intermediate and very popular winter hike from the Happo One ski resort. It's very scenic with beautiful views and good to practice use of crampons and axe.

Weather at the peak is often bad in winter with high winds. Full winter gear including crampons and axe is needed. I would also recommend to bring goggles.

The hike is possible year round and during weekends always very busy.

⏲︎	Time: 6hKanji: 唐松岳 
⚲ 	Location: NaganoDistance: 9kmDifficulty: IntermediateElevation Gain: 950mDayhikeSnow: November to 
	early July


Start with the lift from Happo One ski resort in Hakuba. You can only buy tickets on the day and it will be busy. Line up at least an hour before opening if going on the weekend. Also keep in mind that you will have to wait in two lines. First to buy your tickets and then in the gondola line.

First lift 2024: 8:00

Last lift 2024: 15:20

Happo Alpen Line Ticket: 3.800¥ return

Don't forget to submit your climbing itinerary by the ticket office and double check the time for the last lift.

Trail description

After taking the gondola, change to the "Alpen Quad" lift and then to the "Grat Quad" lift.

You'll get out at the top of the resort, next to Happoikesanso. From there it's a straight 4-5h hike to the peak. Keep the time of the last lift in mind, as its a tight schedule depending on how long you have to wait to get on the gondola.

First part of the hike is not as steep and soon you can see the flat plateau of happo pond. After that it will get significantly steeper until the peak and through a small forest part. This is a good spot for a short break as it's sheltered from the wind.

The winter route is not quite the same as the summer and more to the left so stick to where the other climbers go up instead of following Yamap.

Once you're up to the ridge the wind will pick up so be careful in the more narrow and exposed sections.

When you reach Karamatsusanso (closed in winter) turn right and you should have a clear view of the peak.

This last bit of the trail will almost definitely have strong and very cold winds. The wind here can be strong enough to really destabilize you on the way down. Bring proper crampons and make sure you know how to self arrest with your axe.

Weather in Hakuba in winter is notoriously bad and I would not recommend doing this hike if it's not sunny/snowing. We had perfect weather and the peak was very cold and extremely windy. Also keep in mind that this is an alpine winter peak and avalanches are a common occurrence. Check the avalanche warnings and snow conditions before your hike!


If you want to avoid the line for the lift in the morning you can stay at happoikesanso (12.500¥ incl 2 meals)

Elevation Profile & Map



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