Sept 18-22: Akita Sawanobori (桃洞沢・赤水沢の周回), Japan's Largest Onsen, Top-100 Waterfall


Post by Adam »

Here are two different perspectives of Usagitaki for you to review. First person rappels, and the second one solos (no rope). ... JvI5hiYdw ... 6JvI5hiYdw

Post by Abhijeet »

The water level might be high due to rain. So, I think it is a good option to carry harness and stuff.

Post by Adam »


To all members, after reading over several trip reports I changed the Technical Grade from 3 to 5. The reason I'm changing it is because there are about 3-6 sections where most members will want to rappel down waterfalls. Usagitaki being the longest (about 30m).

I say "most members" because Experienced or Advanced people could do these sections without any aid. In other words, this is not hardcore. Experienced people would consider this an easy day-trip. But since our group is all intermediate or below, we will need the rappelling equipment (rope, harness, rappelling device, locking carabiner). I think everyone who has already signed up for this trip can do everything, but I want to make sure that everyone knows what they are signing up for. You need to view all the links I have posted.

Here is one other, very comprehensive trip report with many good descriptions and photos that can help prepare you for our mission. View this link! ... 9_06.html

Lastly, I need to know if you have all the required equipment. Respond to this post letting me know if you have everything on the list. If you need something, and you give me enough time, I will be able to help you get you what you need. But you need to let me know a week in advance.

Post by karthikleo84 »

Hello Adam,

I do not have any of these equipments including helmet, let me know where I can rent or buy these in Tokyo.

I read the updated post and fully understand the technicality involved.



Post by Nozomi »

Adam, I hope your hand is recovering. Thank you for the detailed research.
I’ll be sure to bring my helmet, harness, locking carabiner and belay device.


I was wondering if you are well?


Post by Abhijeet »


I can bring my bike helmet. Others I don't have. Can you suggest some stores to buy them?

Post by Adam »

Karthik and AB,

I don't know of any place that will rent harnesses or other climbing equipment. If you want to purchase your own, I recommend Montbell for reasonably priced gear, but still not cheap.

Another solution is to make an improvised harnesses from some of my equipment. I have some webbing which we can make into a "Swiss Seat" (used as harness). For a rappelling device, we can use some of my carabiners as an alternative solution.

I think the improvised equipment will be just fine to use for this occasion.
Let me know what you will decide to do so I can prepare.

Swiss Seat Video:

carabiner rappel.jpg
carabiner rappel 2.jpg
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Andy OCJ
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Hiking Level: Advanced or high level (上級)

Post by Andy OCJ »

Personally I would share a harness and belay device. It would be simpler and quicker to belay others of lower ability rather than let them do it themselves. They then have one or both hands free if needed to use for balance.
You could cover the harness with a cheap nylon (with holes in) or mesh bag if needed for protection or to avoid catching on rocks etc. Pull it back up for the next person. As long as they have a locking carabiner, another spring lock carabiner and a tape sling if needed to secure to some point if off rope.
Even if in the very extreme unlikely event you lost one or two or even 3 harnesses, you could use just a rope in an emergency (used in mountain training to get people down steep ground and crags).
A cheap alpine harness (best for sawanobori - no padding) is about 4,500yen minimum maybe. Quite a lot if not used again, and belay device another thousand. Worst case backup, just a locking carabiner could be used with Italian friction knot to belay.

Post by Asuka »

Sorry for being late. I have items on the list including the following-
harness, belay device, locking carabiner, helmet, and proper sawanobori shoes (I’ll use rubber ones).


Post by Tamara »

Hey Adam,
Hope you're fine now, I don't have a harness, the rest of equipment I have, I try to produce harness by tomorrow,
just look on eBay and, seems very cheap around 2,000 yen, but i want to try it personally so I'll shop this weekends.
the course seems very easy, as I look at in the picture, it's all BaseRock, when it dry very easy to walk by and can play around.,
but if it is raining and wet it seems slippery., water runs so strong, so everyone should wear helmet, needs ropes, harnesses, do belay etc.

Thanks Asuka san for the extra Sawa Nobori shoes, although I have a spare one, I'm not sure if mine is good, back in my country I used any shoes and outdoor sandal, beach shoes, in a tropical waterfalls and rivers. Nature seems desame but I dont want to under estimate the Natural forest especially the weather is totally different, I always gets wrong in my estimation in hot or cold elevation, so I'll bring what necessary I need and important., like Rain Coat and extra emergency Thermal Blanket :-\ All is well.

Post by Asuka »

Tammy, here is my extra pair of Sawa shoes.
It’s 25cm but fits my 24.5cm feet well. I think your feet is slightly smaller but it could fit you as well :) It has felt sole and has a unique toe design which is like Tabi, the old Japanese socks style. So you’d need special socks which has separated thumb for this shoe. You can use my socks as well if you don’t mind. My socks may be a little big (even for me it’s a little big and sometimes gives me a blister. If you wanna find perfect ones for you, you can easily find it at mont-bell.
Last edited by Asuka on Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Post by Abhijeet »

Yo Adam!

Is it possible to carry the required equipments for me this time. That would be a great help.

Thanks in advance.

Post by Adam »

Greetings all,

I made some major updates, so please reread the original post.

I changed the meeting time, created a rough itinerary, and revised the pack list. I recommend reading it over more than once.

Tammy, I'm still waiting for your confirmation about having all the proper equipment for the sawanobori, RSVP. Everyone else is A-OK for the sawanobori.

If you want to bring one camping chair for yourself, that's OK. Otherwise, everything MUST fit into 2 carry-on size bags (I recommend 1 duffel bag and 1 day pack). The only acceptions are a camping chair and sleeping mat. Don't bring a pack that has a rigid frame. If there is too much gear we may leave some of your things behind in a coin locker in Ikebukuro.

Volunteers needed:
  • Coffee (24 servings) by Tammy
  • Compact camping stove with fuel by Nozomi
Last edited by Adam on Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:55 pm, edited 6 times in total.

Post by Nozomi »

Hi Adam,
I’ll bring my stove with fuel to share.

Post by Tamara »

Hey Everyone,

All my bags are pack, I'm ready to go, I'm standing here outside my door....!!!! 8)

sawanobori shoes, ----- Thanks to Asuka san
harness ----- yes
1 locking carabiner ------yes
ATC or other rappelling device ----yes
helmet -----yes
comfortable hiking shoes for day-trips and camp bring 1 pair only - Yes
cup/mug, bowl, spoon, water bottle ----- yes Set
a basic sleeping bag & camping mat ----- yes Set
1 day pack and ------ yes
1 duffel bag no large backpacks ----- yes
Bug spray, -----No because I bug them all
LED headlight ----- yes
fleece ------ yes
long underwear for sleeping ------ yes 2
Swimwear ----- yes kinda wet suit
onsen towel ---- yes
light rain coat and rain pants ------ yes

miscellaneous is it ok?
First Aid ----- yes
Gloves ----- yes
outdoor slipper ---- yes

Should I bring Life Vest for Kushal, :) I have one
I'll bring extra brewed Coffee

Post by Adam »

Tammy, are you providing 'extra' coffee or all 24 servings? It's unclear to me.

All those miscellaneous items are OK to bring so long as it all fits into two 'carry-on' size bags.

I'm not sure if you are being serious about the life jacket, but it will not be necessary.

I'm following the weather forecast, but not so closely, as it's always changing. One good thing is there are no typhoons right now. Even if we do get rain, there are plenty of options in the area for us to choose from.

It's about time to start packing everyone. I'm excited for this!

Post by Tamara »

Hey Adam,
Yes, I'm bringing 30 bags of brewed coffee, you ask for 24 serving, I need more for me.
Yes, I'm serious about the Life Jacket, it seems it won't be needed so I will not bring it.
I'm trying to bring a compact bags of stuff as much as possible.
I'm looking forward to a Fun Sawa Nobori with all you guys.
In God's will, I rely on fine weather, a good campsite, and safe travel.
Let's discover Akita, Let's enjoy the Nature.
All is Well. ;)

p.s. Thank you Andy for the Harness info link.

Post by Adam »

Hi All,

Less than 24 hours until kickoff. Hopefully everyone is almost finished packing. As we all know, to make it from almost done to done takes the greatest amount of effort. Keep hammering away.

I need people to take the two carry-on size bag rule seriously. That means EVERYTHING (with the exception of your sleeping pad and group food) MUST fit into your two bags.The forecast is not cold at all. I'm getting my forecasts from the top of Moriyoshizan, and the lowest it will get is 13C. So, you won't need puffy down, winter hats, or anything of that nature. I'm not even bringing pants, just my rain pants. Please abide by the rule and let's avoid having to use the coin locker.

If anyone wants, I have two extra compact sleeping pads (half length, down to your knees). If you want to leave your bulky foam pad behind, I will pack a sleeping pad for you. Let me know by 6pm Friday.

The forecast is looking good. I expect us to be able to do the sawanobori. If the forecast looks better on Monday versus Sunday, we may adjust the schedule. Either way, we can anticipate seeing quite a lot on this trip. Many places which are seldom seen!

PS, Tammy, I still have the leftover salad dressing you bought during our last trip together. I'm going to bring that along in hopes that we can use it all up. We all look forward to having your big and delicious salad.

Post by karthikleo84 »

That was surely a most memorable hiking experience I have ever made. Thanks Adam for organizing and leading us throughout the trip. Your choices and decisions were spot on👌🏼

Thanks Ab, Asuka, Tammy and Nozomi for lending your hands (literally 😉) at the right moment, without which I wouldn’t have completed the hike.

See you guys soon on another trip!