Niseko Back Country Hikes
The Annupuri peak is one of Niseko's favourite backcountry / sidecountry areas, accessible in just a few minutes hike from the top of Hanazono's King Lift # 4. The views are incredible and the run from top to bottom is phenomenal with a mix of wide open steeps, powder filled gullies and gladed tree runs.
The now iconic single chair is the beginning of your peak adventure and will have even the most experienced powder hounds hanging on tight first time around. No safety bar, no net, just you and the sound of the cable whirring through the pulleys. On a bluebird powder day, the peak is no secret so getting to the single chair as early as possible is the key to fresh track success.
Once you have safely alighted from the single also known as the meat hook hook or pizza box if you prefer, it's time for the hard part, to earn your turns! The hike is fairly short but it is up quite a steep pitch which is bound to get you puffing. Before you start hiking there is an avalanche beacon tester and avalanche information station so you can test your equipment and check the conditions before you set off. The first section of the hike is groomed up to the ridge and from there it is just a short boot pack up to the summit. From the top of the chair the hike takes between 15 and 25 minutes depending on your level of fitness.
On a clear day the views from the peak are spectacular with Mount Yotei to the south and the sea of Japan out to the nor west. On the summit you will also find a small concrete building where you can shelter if the weather is bad. Of course the next questions is which way down?
The video above shows the ever popular Fujiwara No Sawa which makes for great viewing from the pizza box and is the easiest way down. Taking this line also gives you the chance to pop out at the bottom and make it back onto the resort without hiking. From the peak the next obvious choice is to head straight down the main face which will then funnel you into one of the gullies below. All of the routes from the peak down the south east face will end at a cat track which you then hike up to get back onto the resort.
There are many other routes off the peak too with some great lines down the back side leading to the Annupuri Resort and to the Weiss and Goshiki Onsen areas. It is important to note access to the peak is via the Niseko Local Rules gate system and anything past these gates is out of bounds and un patrolled. If you are looking to experience the peak for yourself a guide is recommended and this is something that Holiday Niseko can arrange for you. With or without a guide you will need the usual back country avalanche safety equipment and to check weather and avalanche conditions before you go. See you at the top!