Even with the best planning, preparation and intentions things can still go wrong. We were supposed to enjoy 10 days of new-routing on perfect, untouched granite and explore this unique island.
We wanted to show off Kinkasan to the world in all its glory, with the hope that more climbers would visit this magical place – their money boosting the economy and speeding up the reconstruction process. However, the late summer typhoon had other ideas. It rained when we left the plane and while we drove through Tokyo to Yuji’s gym – aptly named Base Camp. It rained while we packed our bags and while we ate dinner. We even had to put our plans back by one day as the storm was making the ocean too rough for the ferry to operate.
Thankfully it was dry for the crossing and after unpacking our bags at the shrine we bouldered on a nearby beach for an hour before the rain came. With so much rock to see and so little time, we decided that despite the weather we would hike along the coast in search of potential lines. The rain became heavier, we became wetter and after four soggy hours we returned to the shrine, hopes high but spirits low. We’d been preparing this trip since September 2015, putting the team together, finding funding from sponsors, organising the local logistics, yet it would all be in vain if the weather didn’t brighten up.
A morning of rain gave us the excuse to sit down and record some interviews, though truthfully we had little to say as we’d done hardly any climbing. Toru Nakajima, ever the silent optimist finally dragged me out to the closest boulder spot during a break between showers and, surprisingly, we were able to climb. Toru lived up to his reputation of boldness and brilliance, making the first ascents of two of Kinkasan’s hardest problems.