Hardest Trad Multipitch Route in Japan - 8b+ R/X

© Keita Kurakami Collection

The world-class granite climbing venue of Mt. Mizugaki in Japan is now home to the country's hardest multipitch traditional climb at the strong hands of local climber Keita Kurakami.

His impressive new route - named Senjitsu no Ruri - is seven pitches in length and has climbing up to 8b+ in standard, with several desperate  pitches featuring granite slopers and run-outs of up to 20m above trad gear. 

Senjitsu no Ruri - 8b+ R - Topo Details
© Keita Kurakami Collection

Mt. Mizugaki (2230m) is in the Okuchichibu Mountains of Japan and is home to over a thousand routes from easy slabs through to super-hard boulder problems (Ondra was there recently - check out this UKC News).

Keita Kurakami on the 6m run-out of the 2nd pitch of 5.13c climbing...
© Keita Kurakami Collection

One of the most striking buttresses of the area is the Moai Face, a beautiful round pillar of granite, and this is what Keita focused his attention on.

The beautiful rounded pillar of the Moai Face
© Keita Kurakami Collection

"The entire length of the route is 255 meters", he told UKC,  "but it has 110m of smooth granite face climbing where there are not many features to place good protection." The 110m he is referring to is the Moai Face, and this is climbed by pitches 2, 3 and 4 of his new route.

The crux (8b+ / 5,14a) pitch of Senjitsu no Ruri featuring insecure slopers and a 10m run-out!
© Keita Kurakami Collection

"I managed to climb this 3 pitch section without placing any bolt for protection." he said "I only placed 4 bolts as belay anchors (for belays on pitch 3 and 4) in the entire route, after that I only used natural protection: cams, nuts and sky-hooks to protect the climbing." 

A nut, a small cam and a 'slider'. 3 pieces of gear for 40m of 8b climbing on pitch 4...
© Keita Kurakami Collection

It was last October that Keita started his journey toward the first ascent of this major line, freeing the line pitch by pitch, but then this spring he returned to the face with climbing partner Yusuke Sato and made a continuous push ascent, feeing all seven pitches in a row.

The pitch difficulties break down as follows:

1: 5.12R (35m)

2: 5.13cR (35m), Run Out 6m

3: 5.14aR (35m), Run Out 10m

4: 5.13dR/X (40m), Run Out 20m

5:  5.10b (40m)

6: 3rd (50m)

7: 5.8 (20m to top) 

Keita told us: "I'm proud of establishing this physically and mentally demanding route in a pure traditional style."

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15 Jun, 2016
Climbing on Mizugaki has a fairly long history, but it used to be really hard to access before the big parking lot, hiking trails etc were put up in order to facilitate the emperor's hiking trip to the area. The climbing (sport, trad & bouldering) is at around 1600 masl so it's a decent destination in the summer.
15 Jun, 2016
I read 'several desperate pitches'.
15 Jun, 2016
3 pieces of gear for 40m of 8b! oofft. This would make a great subject for a short film.
15 Jun, 2016
Excellent stuff
Yeah, that gear... yikes!!
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