23 November 2009

Year in Review - 2009 Passes and Hills

Three or four weeks ago, I went into the Starbucks in the basement of my building for coffee. They were serving "Christmas blend", and the music playing was definitely Christmas carols. It gets earlier every year. ... so I guess November 23 is really not too early for a "year in review" post.

I thought this morning that I would try to list up the passes (峠) I have ridden in 2009 so far. I'm sure that some others (Tom, Ludwig and Michael, at least) have ridden more and further, and could come up with a better list -- leaving aside Transalp! -- and Jerome might match me, including Transalp, but my list is not too shabby. The great thing is that has been my 5th full riding season in Japan, and I still managed to ride lots and lots of places I had never gone before. ... and there are already plenty of new potential rides on the list for next year, not to mention a few that I might get in by year-end. Here is the list.

Passes/Hills of 2009
[blue text means ridden by me for the first time in 2009]

1. Otarumi (Kanagawa border)
2. Wada (Yamanashi border)
3. Kobu tunnel (Yamanashi border)
4. Kazahari
5. Umegaya (Jerome Hill)
6. Nikka-zuka (next route to the East of Jerome Hill – not sure pronounciation and thus the romanization)
7. Fue-Kami (heading into Chichibu -- just past Higashi Oume toward Nariki)
8. Ozawa (tunnel into Naguri -- Tokyo/Saitama-Chichibu border )

9. Yabitsu
10. Shiroyama-ko (Hon/Moto-zawa Dam – the short climb NE of Tsukui- ko)
11. 三増峠 Sanzou Pass (S. of Tsukui-ko on Rte 65 – first leg of Kanagawa Brevet)
12. Hakone Pass (Shizuoka border)
13. Ashi-no-yu Onsen Iriguchi (Pass on Rte 1 at top of climb – Odawara to Ashinoko – name??)

14. Tsuru
15. Tawa
16. Matsuhime
17. Oo-toge
18. Kamihikawa
19. Yanagisawa
20. Odarumi (Nagano border)
21. Yakiyama
22. Hinazuru (not Suzugane!)
23. Mt. Fuji 5th stage
24. Yamabushi Touge (the same name as the pass in Chichibu – but also the name of the pass/tunnel at top of Doshi Michi)
25. Dosaka (Pass between Doshi Michi and Tsuru)

26. Yamabushi (the “real” Yamabushi)
27. Shomaru
28. Nenogongen
29. Karibazaka (on the Green Line)
30. [Hannari] (not sure pronounciation/romanization -- on the Green Line)
31. Buna (on the Green Line)
32. Arima
33. [Nitazan] touge (pass on the Naguriharaichiba Rindo)
34. Shigasaka (on border w/ Gunma)

35. Mugikusa Touge(麦草峠)
36. Suzuran Touge
37. Yagawa Touge (矢川 – on the Gunma Nagano border,
approaching Karuizawa from the South via “rindo”).

38. Jukkoku (十石峠on Gunma-Nagano border Rte 299)
39. Tsuetsuki Touge/杖突峠
40. Bunkui Touge/分杭峠
41. Jizo Touge/地蔵峠
42. Hyoko Touge/兵越峠

Shizuoka [no Izu rides this year beyond Atami!]
43. Jukkoku Pass (十国-- on rte 20 Hakone to Atami)
44. Atami Pass (Rte 20)
45. Naka-no-Kura tunnel (中之倉) [at top of climb up Motosu-michi to Motosu-ko -- WNW side of Mt. Fuji on Rte. 300 during Brevet]
46. Fuji Safari Entrance - high point on Rte 469 on S. side of Fuji (pass between small Mt. Kurodake and big Mt. Fuji)

Europe (German, Austrian, Italian Alps)
47. Oberjoch
48. Alter Gaittpass
49. Hahntennjoch
50. Arlbergpass
51. Bielerhohe
52. Tobadill
53. Pillerhohe
54. Timmelsjoch
55. Stelvio
56. Passo Foscagno
57. Passo D’Eira
58. Passo Gavia
59. Passo del Tonale
60. Mendelpass
61. Fai del Paganella/Andalo
62. Passo del Ballino

Forgotten , added later:
63.  Nokogiri
64.  Kazahari Rindo 


TOM said...

Absolutely mind-blowing David! A lot more than what I did as I tend to stick to "set-piece courses". Ludwig is perhaps the only one who beat you this year...I was impressed again with Ludwig's knowledge of all those Hakone passes on Saturday!

Manfred von Holstein said...

Very impressive!

My passes are all within the last twelve months or so. I think I have done most of those you named for Japan - and none in the European Alps. And you have done the highest of all, Mugikusa Toge, which I couldn't get around to this year as the weather seemed never stable enough to give it a try. Next year!

There are too many other passes I have done in addition to the ones you named to try and list them all up. Let me rather add a couple of very impressive ones (for the scenery, not the climbing, though they are all not particularly low).

Shiretoko Toge (Hokkaido)
Konroku Toge (Gunma)
Konsei Toge (Gunma-Tochigi)
Yamaou Toge (Tochigi)
Buhei Toge and Ishigure Toge (both Mie-Shiga and actually not really passable)
Amagi Toge, the old tunnel (Izu, Shizuoka)
Karisaka Tunnel (Saitama-Yamanashi, closed to bicycles except for Tom and me)

I'm planning to conquer many more, high ones next year, a few lower ones throughout the winter. There is still so much of Japan I have not been to by bike!

David L. said...

Thanks, Ludwig and Tom. I'll try to get to the mountainous areas of Tochigi and further into Gunma and Nagano next year. ... and use the occasional Shinkansen return to explore further from town.

I think Odarumi (2360 meters elevation, climbing from 400 meters elevation at Enzan station) is both the highest and the greatest elevation gain I've come up against in Japan this year, and includes some steep stretches.

Mugikusa is only 2127 meters elevation, is forested and almost flat on top, is a gradual (6-8%) climb on a properly-graded road, and the climb starts from around 750~800 meters elevation, making it much easier than Odarumi. The descent toward Tateshina is a lot of fun.

You'll need to offer suggestions for Gunma and Tochigi next year.

In Nagano-ken, I want to try -- Norikura (2751 meters), Kurumazaka/Komakusa (2040 meters), Utsukushigahara and Budo Touge (the route through to Saku/Koumi that runs South of Jukkoku/Rte 299), as well as the ride through from Tokyo to Karuizawa.

I also want to try the Akiba Kaido/Minami Shinano route again, but hop the train to avoid the southernmost 75 kilometers into Hamamatsu, using the extra time to add Shirabiso Touge (1830m), which is supposed to have a spectacular view of the Minami Alps.

In Yamanashi, I want to try the Crystal Line from Yakiyama toward the west, and over Shinshu pass and down the valley toward Koumi/Saku.

And of course it would be good to get to the hills of Izu, the Nishi-Izu coastline and the Gaijin Cafe!

mob said...

Very impressive indeed, what could be added?:

Davis and me also did Bijotani plus adjacent pass this year. As we haven't found out the name of the pass yet we will temporarily call it Buse-Toge ( pass of the old hag).

I did some more passes in the Fuji and Hakone area (Mikuni, Niju Magari, Ashigara and Nagao) and also in Izu: Jaishi, Amagi and the complete Izu Skyline.

In Chichibu I also did Haccho and Shigazaka pass with Ludwig and Dominic, all the small mini toge on the green line (between Koburi and Karibazaka), Sadamine & Shiraishi, which probably David forgot, Tsuchisaka with Graham and Michael, Mitsumine with Laurent, Nihongi, Kayunita and Mase with Ludwig and Amamesazu alone.

Otherwise the list is very comprehensive and reflects pretty well the challenges that are awaiting hill climbers within 200 km from Tokyo.

Manfred von Holstein said...

Yes, one forgets that one has done the hardest pass already and everything else should be easy... Jerome, David and me can be proud to have conquered Odarumi cycling all the way from Tokyo via Yanagisawa Toge and the challenge is still out for anyone else to follow suit.

David, your plans for next year sound great - I will try these too. I didn't know there was a pass at over 2,700m. This is not to be missed!