Minami Komaga-dake (2841 m)


The Hike


35.42°N/137.49°E, Chuo Alps, Nagano-ken, Central Honshu

The Trail

Inagawa Dam Parking (1100m) - 50 min - Trailhead (1460 m) - 1 hr - 5th stage (1850 m) - 1 hr - 2411 m hill -1 hr 30 min - Minami Komaga-dake (2841 m) - 1 hr - Sengairei (2734 m) - 1 hr - Kosumo-yama (2613 m) - 30 min - Kosumo Hut (2360 m) - 30 min - Spring (2150 m) - 1 hr 30 min - Trailhead (1340 m) - 30 min - Inagawa Dam Parking (1100m)

The Hike

General Information Minami Komaga-dake lies very close to Kosumo-yama (2613 m), in fact it is possible to combine the two summits on a very rewarding day hike. Fewer people climb Minami Komaga-dake than Kosumo-yama, more often than not I don't meet anyone on this hike. There are no freshwater springs on the trail (at least not for the first eight hours if you do the traverse), so it is important to carry enough liquids; I would recommend a minimum of two liters, better three. If you plan to do the the Minami Koma/Kosumo traverse it is necessary to get an early start, not later than 7:00 AM, especially in the fall when it gets dark around 5:00 PM. That means leaving Nagoya around 4:30 AM or camping at the parking area one kilometer north of the Ingawa reservoir.
Approach Hike It was a beautiful day in late October when I did my third traverse of Minami Komaga-dake and Kosumoyama, this time solo. I left the parking area at 6:10 AM and after passing the gate followed the dirt road to the right. After 30 minutes I got to the head of the Kosumo trail, from here it was another 20 minutes to the actual trailhead at 1460 m.
In the Forest I crossed a little creek and soon after the trail went steeply upward. After a little less than an hour I reached the 5th stage, a nondescript signpost at 1850 m deep in the evergreen forest. At 1900 m the trail leveled out and there was a good view of Ontake (3067 m). The trail followed a little ridge for about 1 km before getting steep again. At 9:00 AM I reached the "2411 m hill". There is no view from this hill and the only reason that I mention it here is because it is marked on the hiking maps. After another 30 minutes I came out of the forest onto the summit ridge of Minami Komaga-dake.
The Summit Ridge The alpine zone begins here, the coniferous forest is replaced by creeping pine and birch. The trail follows the narrow ridge, the closer it gets to the summit the more big white rocks are there to negotiate. As long as there is no snow this doesn't present any problems, the trail is clearly marked with red spots and there are chains in one place to facilitate the climb.
View from the Summit At 10:30 AM I reached the top of Minami Komaga-dake. I was lucky with the weather, there were no clouds and all major mountains were clearly visible: the Minami Alps and Fuji-san to the east, Utsuki and Komaga-dake to the north, Norikura and Ontake to the west and Kosumo-yama, my next stop, to the south. I realaxed for 30 minutes before continuing.
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Minami Komaga-dake to Kosumo-yama Leaving Minami Komaga-dake, the trail descents the eastern slope of the ridge for about 150 m. This is important to keep in mind, if you continue on the ridge you will get lost among the big rocks (happened to me once in early summer when the east face was still covered with snow and the trail not visible). There are some steep sections on this part, chains are fixed in one place. After about an hour I reached Sengairei, a rocky outcrop 2734 m high. From here the trail became very gentle and it was an easy 60-minute-walk to Kosumo-yama where I arrived at 1:00 PM.
The Descent I enjoyed the scenery for about 30 minutes before I started the 1500 m descent back to the car. On the way down I stopped at the Kosumo Hut for half an hour, another brake was due at the freshwater spring at 2150 m. At 4:15 PM I was back at the car, tired and very happy about another great day in the mountains. All day I had been walking by myself, the only two people I met were another hiker on Minami Komaga-dake and the caretaker at the Kosumo Hut. This is another advantage of these trails: you really have the mountains for yourself most of the year.
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Chubu Map