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10 People Die in Hokkaido Taisetsu Mountains

Sapporo, Japan
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10 People Die in Hokkaido Taisetsu Mountains

Shocking news in Hokkaido this weekend - 10 Japanese mountain hikers have died in the Taisetsu Mountains near Asahikawa.

They were an organised group - with guides - and they died in winds and rain.

The weather here is very unpredictable at the moment and this tragedy should remind us all that however beautiful it is up here - it IS wild and the mountains can be dangerous whatever the season.

Check here for the story

asahi.com/english/…TKY200907180082.html

If you are hiking here in the coming weeks you may well find nature guides and mountain trail staff checking that you are properly equiped. ALWAYS tell someone (the hotel/a taxi driver/other climbers) where you are going and if there is a book in a box at the trail head write your name clearly and the name of the last hotel you stayed in.

Happy hiking!

Amanda

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Hotel Taisetsu
Hotel Taisetsu
234 Reviews
Kamikawa-cho, Japan
Asahikawa
Asahikawa
Hokkaido, Japan
Sapporo, Japan
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1. Re: 10 People Die in Hokkaido Taisetsu Mountains

I heard today from my students that two of the guides for this group had never climbed this particular mountain before!

Just amazing...there are plenty of good mountain guides in Hokkaido, why the tour company didn't use locals I can't think.

In addition it was the last day of the tour, and they were under pressure to get everyone back to Chitose Airport for the flights home....

So sad.

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Chitose Airport Hotel
Chitose Airport Hotel
137 Reviews
Chitose, Japan
Tokyo, Japan
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2. Re: 10 People Die in Hokkaido Taisetsu Mountains

Hi. I love hiking in summer. I had ever lost the hiking path on Mt. Tanigawa-dake in Gunma; then made a phone call to the information center at the mountain's down base, then rescue people came in dusk. This story is recollected my bad memory.

I am wondering what kind of clothes they wore and carry. It doesn't have any information about it. They should not wear light clothes even in summer time. Didn't they carry Hokaron Body Warmers?? The worst thing I think is that the first guide didn't call to the police/rescue as soon as possible when the first people couldn't walk any more at 10:30am. Then 4 people couldn't move later at noon and the second guide wait with them. The guide thought they would be fine if took a rest. I heard the third guide call to the police at 3:55pm; this is the first call. They could save life if the first guide took the things seriously and asked "help" earlier time.

It's sad story in this summer. And it is a "must know" news for people who like to climb mountains.

Japan
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3. Re: 10 People Die in Hokkaido Taisetsu Mountains

Thank you for sharing this story, Amanda. How horrifying! Hopefully it may serve as a wake-up call for others, and that by following the recommended procedures it can be avoided in the future.

Thank you.

Tokyo, Japan
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for Hakone-machi, Minato
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4. Re: 10 People Die in Hokkaido Taisetsu Mountains

What's sad is that as the retirees/"middle to older" age group of mountain climbers increase, the rate of those in that category who die on the mountains are also on the increase.

Eight of the ten were from the same "tour" group and were all in their 60's. One does wonder why someone in the party of 18 wasn't brave enough to say, "Gee, the weather looks lousy. We should probably stay put." (It probably goes back to the "keeping the wa/peace" within the group by not making waves.) The people on the tour were somewhat experienced; none were novice hikers. So why did they rely on their "guides" so much? How can a tour guide NOT carry any water or emergency food??? (The survivors said they melted snow.) And WHY would the three guides split the group up when the first person fell ill????

All 10 people died of hypothermia. The specialists said that one of the preventive measures is keep your hands warm by keeping them tucked under your arms. If you have hot-warmy pads (Hokkaron), put them under your arms. On the other hand, if you've got heat exhaustion, keep your underarms cool.

Now it makes sense as to why Japanese thermometers are made for underarms and not for under tongues.

Sapporo, Japan
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5. Re: 10 People Die in Hokkaido Taisetsu Mountains

>What's sad is that as the retirees/"middle to older" age group of mountain climbers increase, the rate of those in that category who die on the mountains are also on the increase.

Well it certainly is a textbook case of how not to go hiking in Hokkaido, from breakdowns in planning to breakdowns in preparation of gear to breakdowns in leadership.

Even so, in my experience the fittest, savviest climbers tend to be the seniors. The higher the mountain, the older the climber you'll see at the top, firing up his or her gas stove for a spot of instant ramen.

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Fujieda, Japan
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6. Re: 10 People Die in Hokkaido Taisetsu Mountains

I had been weary of what might be called 100-Greatest Mountains fad. Some are easy climb but some of them are really tough particularly those of Daisetsu Mountains Range which may belong to top-risk group. Just because everyone is climbing one has to fill out every mountains peaks Fukada listed in Japan? That's becoming crazy. Another huge problem of mountain climbing in Japan is accident information is not fully shared. So similar accidents repeat in a couple of years time. And young people do not climb mountains any more and good guides become old and getting hard to find. I have to say that Japanese mountains tours are now in serious crisis.

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Tokyo, Japan
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for Hakone-machi, Minato
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7. Re: 10 People Die in Hokkaido Taisetsu Mountains

We just lost two people on Mt. Fuji this week. One was an American who was working in Tokyo. He and 10 co-workers were on a "company excursion." His friends recalled seeing Jerry Yu(sp) and his Japanese colleague at the summit on the 19th, and they had mentioned going back down the Yamanashi route. Two days later when work had resumed, the company reported them missing. They found Jerry on the Shizuoka route yesterday; they haven't found his colleague yet. The men were 30 and 23.

Hokkaido, Honshu or the top of the world. The mountains don't have a preference of who they take.

Do be careful and be prepared.

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Tokyo
Tokyo
Tokyo Prefecture, Japan
Shizuoka
Shizuoka
Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Sapporo, Japan
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8. Re: 10 People Die in Hokkaido Taisetsu Mountains

>We just lost two people on Mt. Fuji this week. One was an American who was working in Tokyo. He and 10 co-workers were on a "company excursion."

To hypothermia?

The mountains will take anyone they can, but they prefer the ill-prepared and unfit.

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Tokyo
Tokyo
Tokyo Prefecture, Japan
Tokyo, Japan
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9. Re: 10 People Die in Hokkaido Taisetsu Mountains

According to the latest news, yes, it was hypothermia. http://accident.fuji3776.net/

They found both men. The American had climbed it once last year. It was the first climb for his Japanese colleague. There were 22 of them who started the climb at 7 pm on Saturday, July 18, 13 reached the summit at 4:30 am, but the group split up due to the cold and the winds.

This is the first climbing season in years that started off with snow on top. I think the word "natsu yama" (summer mountain) throws people off. "Summer" equates warm and sunny. There's nothing warm and sunny about the tallest mountain in Japan. I can attest to being one of the "dumb" climbers who was clueless when climbing Mt. Fuji eons ago -- pre cell phones, computers, knowledge/education/information/common sense and Goretex. In retrospect, the few right choices we made saved us.

Here's a Mt. Fuji thread from March. tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294232-i525-k2557…

It's got my life story. LOL

Safe climbing!

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10. Re: 10 People Die in Hokkaido Taisetsu Mountains

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