It looked like rain when I got to Seibu-Chichibu station around 7:30 AM of August 20. Outside of the station, I was picked up by Shibu and Sue. Sue said we will discuss today’s plan when Sam joins. I thought probably we will be hiking instead of SAWANOBORI (mountain stream climbing) due to the unfavorable weather.
While driving alongside the river, we could hear the roaring sound of water from down below. It had rained many days on and off. After Sam joined us, however, we just drove to the end of the road, parked the car at the shoulder, and without much discussion, everybody put the pack on the shoulder, and started walking. No discussion of Plan B. Just like we were destined to climb up the river. I think we were a crazy bunch.
The entry point is behind the two deserted houses in the mountain. We traversed the slope above the river, and passed 3 check dams (sand control dams) before descending to the river side at 8:50 AM.
The valley was kind of dark, with lots of fallen trees blocking the way. The water was rising, although none of us knew the water level of the normal time. At each waterfall, big or small, we decide whether to walk in the water, or just outside the water (climb the cliff), or make a big detour. With or without a rope. That judgement is crucial for the safe passage of the creek. You should be able to tell the waterfall in front of you is climbable or not.
At two waterfalls, we made a big detour, and at another two locations we climbed the cliff using a rope. Sue took the lead and secured us from above. We finished walking the valley at 13:05, and walked up the steep slope to reach the ridge line at 13:35.
From there we walked the hiking trail via Torikubi Toge (pass) and return to our car by 15:40. Then we went to a hot spring in Chichibu City to refresh ourselves.
It was Grade 1 SAWA (easy one). Another fun day of playing with water!