Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Whiteout and the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Driving (Hyperpace Jump) in Blizzard   Flickr  / Mentatmark
Well, I made it home through a little freak blizzard tonight.  Driving back up to Edmonton with nice clear conditions until Innisfail and then WHAM - Highway 2 was closed off with 5 to 10 cm of snow on the ground and heavy snow falling.  For those of you who live in northern climates this isn't anything too unusual, but still it is bad driving.  Had to detour to a secondary highway (the 2a) and drive through about 30 km of miserable winter driving where you could barely see the road.  Some guy with B.C. plates was up ahead of us driving really slow - too slow - so that snow wasn't blowing off the windshield and melted on it instead - that's bad as you either pump more heat on or it eventually ices up.  You need to go 40+ kph to keep the white stuff off, and don't crank the heat up on the windshield as it makes it worse.  There was a huge line of traffic on this detour behind us.  After passing out of the storm, the roads were pretty much clear all the way up for the rest of the trip.  Not the worst driving conditions I've been in, but bad anyhow.

While I'm on the topic of snow, there's this one famous pass in the mountains of western Honsu, Japan, that gets LOTS of snow.  This is the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (立山黒部アルペンルート). The route is just 37 km in length, but with a vertical elevation up to 1,975 metres.  It is a famous mountain sightseeing route between Tateyama, Toyama and Ōmachi and Nagano that fully opened in 1971. It is famous for hiking and the 20 metre high snow corridor is a highlight during spring.  There are pictures of this snow corridor below and it is amazing.  It is like being in a canyon of snow.
Tateyama Snow Road  Flickr / tsuda

Tateyama Snow Road  Flickr / tsuda


More pictures here at Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/skyseeker/2580770482/in/photostream/

You can find more information about this mountain area and the snow road here:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7550.html#snow

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