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(“Sawa” is Japanese for mountain stream or creak. River climbing in Japanese is “Sawanobori”).

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This is part 2 of my Sawa Nobori account. Click here for Part 1. By David B   www.griddable.com

My heart still racing from my death-defying first climb, I practically ran to the next waterfall. The second one was much higher than the first, and the guys decided it was best to rope up for this one. Sosha took the lead and set the anchor at the top. It had been a while since I last used an ascender, but it was really just for extra safety, as this waterfall was

Continue reading ‘River Climbing Part 2 – The Adventure Continues’ »

Read story: The Adventure Continues Story

This video is Part 2. See Part 1: Minami Sawa Video 1 by David B   www.griddable.com

From Shiretoko Peninsula up north in Hokkaido to Yakushima in Kyushu down south, only but 100 streams have been picked most worthy in this book  「日本百名谷」  with much debate over the chosen few. Difficulty of the climb, beauty of the stream, size of the falls and many other aspects have been considered. After all, Japan is a country of mountains and streams, and impossible to pick but only 100.

Still when looking at this list of the best 100 mountain streams in Japan, it is impressive to say the least. If a person were to climb this all, it would take considerable persistence, time and physical strength, if not impossible.  Top climbers have gathered for the composition of this book. Without the help of these climbers, this task would not have been possible. Though this lists the “best” river climbs, we would prefer if you don’t hold them in comparison with other rivers. Take them in for what they are, great streams for sawanobori.


Translated from 「日本百名谷」 白山書房

N0
都道府県     Prefecture
山域     Mountain Range
沢の名前     Stream Name

Sawa, zawa, tani, dani, kawa, gawa = river, stream, ravine…

34
新潟県 Niigata
御神楽岳 Mikagura
御神楽沢 Mikagura-sawa
35
福島県 Fukushima
那須連峰 Nasu
阿武隈川本谷 Abukuma-gawa Hondani
36
栃木県 Tochigi
男鹿山塊 Ojika
大蛇尾川 Osabi-gawa Continue reading ‘Best 100 River Climbs: 34~66’ »

From Shiretoko Peninsula up north in Hokkaido to Yakushima in Kyushu down south, only but 100 streams have been picked most worthy in this book  「日本百名谷」  with much debate over the chosen few. Difficulty of the climb, beauty of the stream, size of the falls and many other aspects have been considered. After all, Japan is a country of mountains and streams, and impossible to pick but only 100.

Still when looking at this list of the best 100 mountain streams in Japan, it is impressive to say the least. If a person were to climb this all, it would take considerable persistence, time and physical strength, if not impossible.  Top climbers have gathered for the composition of this book. Without the help of these climbers, this task would not have been possible.

Though this lists the “best” river climbs, we would prefer if you don’t hold them in comparison with other rivers. Take them in for what they are, great streams for sawanobori.

Translated from 「日本百名谷」 白山書房

N0
都道府県     Prefecture
山域     Mountain Range
沢の名前     Stream Name

Sawa, zawa, tani, dani, kawa, gawa = river, stream, ravine…

1
北海道     Hokkaido
知床半島     Shiretoko Peninsula
サシルイ沢     Sashirui River

2
北海道     Hokkaido
天塩山地     Teshio
藻興部川氷のトンネル沢     Mo-okoppegawa no Tonnerusawa (The Tunnel Stream of Mo-okoppe River)

3
北海道     Hokkaido
大雪連峰     Taisetsu
クワウンナイ川     Kuwaunnai River Continue reading ‘Best 100 River Climbs: 1~33’ »

Full account here:  Sedono Sawa Story

5 November 2010

by Yuji Ohira

By David B

Read Story:  Minami Sawa Story

HAJIMEMASHITE!! I’m Yuji Ohira, a university student in Japan. Sawa climbing is my favorite hobby. So, I want to introduce my activities in this wonderful blog. I belong to Waseda university expedition club and I often go to Sawa with members of the club. This is our record of Sawanobori 5th.Nov.2010.

Watch video: Sedono Sawa Video

Early morning 6am, we gathered in crowded train on the way from Shinjuku to Shibusawa (Kanagawa prefecture). When we go to mountain, we always have to wake up early morning or go to mountain by last train the day before activity. Continue reading ‘Sedono Sawa Migimata’ »

Awesome video & story by David B, from our Sawa nobori trip last month:

Watch Video: Minami Sawa 1

When I first encountered the Expedition Club at Waseda, I was amazed at their stories of adventure around the world. Their main activity as a club is sawa nobori, best translated as river climbing. A mix between hiking, scrambling, lead and aid climbing, Sawa nobori is what you might call an extreme sport. Considering it’s such a combination of other sports, there’s a lot of knowledge and equipment necessary for a successful expedition, which could last anywhere from one day to several weeks. Because of all of this, it’s a popular sport amongst older, wealthier outdoor adventurers in Japan, which is where the sport originated and has evolved in the past century. There isn’t much information on it available in English, so to remedy that, Sosha has started his own sawa nobori site for videos, information and advice: www.RiverClimb.com I knew my only chance to get a taste of it was to tag along with Sosha and his club. My time at Waseda came and went without being able to try sawa nobori, but my story doesn’t end there.

Since I was going back to Tokyo for the slackline competition, Sosha not only offered me a place to stay, but an even more enticing opportunity. If I came a few days early, I could go on a sawa nobori trip with him and two of his kouhai. “Just bring your climbing harness and some waterproof gear and we’ll take care of the rest.” The trip had already been carefully planned and the itinerary was set as required by the official club rules. Clubs in Japan are notoriously strict; Sosha got in trouble from some club alums when he was president and made an executive decision to clean up the infamously messy club room. Traditions are hardwired into Japanese clubs; you don’t mess with the status quo.

Normally, only members were allowed to go on trips organized by the club, so it wasn’t unreasonable to expect my addition to the roster to be rejected. I’m a first-timer and this was a dangerous undertaking; the previous week a freshman broke a finger slipping on a rock and had to finish the hike with his pinky pointing out at a 45 degree angle from the second joint. If something happens there aren’t many options other than tough it out. …Continue reading:  http://griddable.com/?p=3840

CarabinerHelper RopeMountain TransceiverPetzl Hammer

River climbing, as you probably have guessed by now, is not the safest of activities. The best we can do is be prepared and minimize risk where we can, and some equipment is absolutely necessary for this. Helmet, carabiner, sit harness are a few examples of needed Climbing & Safety Equipment when preparing for a trip. The difficulty of the river you are going to will change how many of what is needed too. I hope this 4 part equipment guide has helped. Please enjoy your trip and feel free to comment with any questions you may have!

∞ = always take items with the infinity mark

Helmet

To protect your head. Not only for climbing waterfalls and hill slopes, but for protection against falling rocks and debris.

Helmet

Harness

Since long amounts of time are spent in the water, your skin may get irritated if your harness is tight or belt fat. A simple, thin, lightweight sit harness is recommended.

Harness

Sling & carabiner

You can make quickdraws (2 carabiners & 1 sling) as in rock climbing, but generally it’s preferred to use 1 carabiner and 1 sling per point. Depending on the route and number of people, each person should have on them a few 60cm slings, locking carabiners and non-locking carabiners. Wire gate carabiners are lightweight and popular. It would also be useful for a group to carry some longer 120cm and 240cm slings for setting anchor point and natural points.  As with all climbing equipment, only bring inexpensive products on a sawanobori trip. This is because water erodes metal (carabiners) and greatly shortens the lifespan of all products. Even without that, your belongings will smell of sewer water and campfire when you get home. If you are also a rock climber, you probably want to keep your favorite and pricey toys at home.

SlingCarabiner

Climbing rope

8mm to 9mm ropes, 30~50 meters is generally used. Again, this depends on the route you take.

Climbing Rope

Hammer

Depending on difficulty of the route, have a set of hammers, pitons, camming devices, nuts. Not needed in Japanese streams that are popular sawanobori routes for beginners but necessary if you are going to one of the difficult or newer routes, especially in a country outside of Japan. Camming devices and nuts should be used when possible as an earth friendly alternative to pitons.

Petzl Hammer

Belay/rappel device

one per person.

Petzl Reverso 3

Helper rope

Having 5~10 meters of 6mm~8mm rope or tape can be extremely helpful. Used by leader to help a follower climb a waterfall or slope, when taking out climbing a hassle and unnecessary. Make sure to keep where you can take out immediately.

Helper Rope

Life Jacket

Useful when there is a lot of swimming involved, keeping you afloat and warm.

Life Jacket

Ascender

Safer and easier for beginners to use an ascending device than a prusik knot. However, ascenders tend to damage rope so beware when using repeatedly.

Ascender

Transceiver

Normally not needed, but useful for communication between multiple parties and when climbing falls.

Mountain Transceiver

Check my other posts for an easy-to-understand guide of Wear & Footwear, Camping and Cooking Gear and General Mountaineering Gear.