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Norikura from Matsumoto - Advice, Vending machines, parking, etc...

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
3,041
4,550
So I got talked into climbing the 2500m to Norikura from Matsumoto.
The conversation went like this....

Friend: I want to ride up to Norikura this week.
Me: OK.

So as you can see, I put up a fight... but going anyway.

The climb doesn't look horrible, just long. Anyone that has done it - advice on nutrition, water refills, etc...?
I don't want to conserve water if I don't have to and I don't want to be left dry for the last bit if I should have conserved.

Open to all feedback.

 

BeerTengoku

Maximum Pace
Mar 14, 2021
100
163
I've never cycled up there but been up there in a bus - and well - it's long and just unrelenting. There was a rest house on the way up there but we took the Echo Line up to the observatory and a few huts to sleep at, so they might have something along the way but depends if they're open or not.
 

SJ1

SJ1
Aug 23, 2009
82
75
Matsumoto to Norikura has many very dangerous tunnels. If you value your life then consider rental car to base of climb. Once there it is spectacular and there are fortunately there are vending machines at the bus station and the summit. Make sure the gates to the national park section are open on the day you plan to ride.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
3,062
1,483
Last big place is at the 乗鞍観光センター. I think it's the bus station that @SJ1 mentions, where what I think is rt 300 crossing the road up (84?). There are a few places with vending machines just after that--or were, pre-pandemic. Also from there, a noodle shop something like 1/3 to 1/2 way up to the top. Not sure I'd count on that.

From the bus station to the top, carry all your water and food, and be very ready for sudden showers (and cold).
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
3,041
4,550
Matsumoto to Norikura has many very dangerous tunnels. If you value your life then consider rental car to base of climb. Once there it is spectacular and there are fortunately there are vending machines at the bus station and the summit. Make sure the gates to the national park section are open on the day you plan to ride.
I am driving out there - so I will have my van. Where about do you think the best area for starting would be?
I am not planning to die this week... At least not this thursday.
 

SJ1

SJ1
Aug 23, 2009
82
75
Park at the bus station, jDD notes the correct name in Japanese.

There is a combined Onsen&Pizza place across from the car park, pizza was good.

If you want to do the whole climb, you can descend the few kms from the car park to the base of the climb, then u-turn to start. But I think most people simply start climbing from the car park.

Everything was open on Aug 20. Lots of food options at the summit. Many cyclists carrying running shoes and doing some small hiking at the top - worth considering.

But I imagine the road closes soon for winter - worth double checking it’s still all open…
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
3,041
4,550
So looking at the map

Rt 84 to Rt 5 is the best way to go?

BTW - thanks for everyone. No idea what I am doing?
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
3,062
1,483
My buddy just sent me this....


So maybe that is the new plan? (yay less climbing)
That's the 'back' way--from the pass up, instead of from norikura. There's a very large car park up from the main road over the pass (just north of the road and 'town' area). There's not much actual town there, tho some restaurants around. Some ryokan, but not as many as the other side (around the bus station and on below that).

One factor--near the bus station there's a pretty good public bath, with the (famous?) milky Norikura water, which would be a good way to rinse off, and warm up if you'd gotten wet. I don't think there's anything like that on the other side (where the above map begins), tho some ryokan there may have a rate for day bathers. If you're overnighting before the climb, I'm not sure which side would be cheaper, or have better options. (I'd go for norikura side.)

I think rain/showers develop there pretty easily/commonly. Start early.
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
3,041
4,550

This is what I am now expecting?
Half the elevation, so i am happy with that!
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
3,041
4,550
Quick Recap, but not as quick as the one liner above.

We parked at the recommended parking lot by the bus station. This lot was free and tons of spots. The area was busy, but I didn't realize it was also a holiday, so more than usual were out and about on a Thursday.

To get there, we drove through the tunnels and across the dams.... and as per advice above - looked sketchy AF and I am glad I did not ride them. But I did see 2 bike packers head through them... good on them as I saw them hours later as I was descending and they were ascending.

Temps at the parking lot were about 18c. Temps at the top were 5c with 50kph winds. - Bring layers.

While the climb is significantly longer than Yabitsu - any given segment of Yabitsu was harder than Norikura.
I left the saddle three times on this climb and mostly to change muscle groups for a short bit and get relief. We did stop often near the start for pictures, but then we decided a rhythm was more important. We planned to hang out in the 230-250w range give or take to ensure we could make it. It is only 20km to the top - but about 18km I started to develop a headache. Maybe a bit under nourished a maybe a bit elevation. A short 5 minute break and a chat with David and we continued. The break was enough to feel rejuvenated for a bit. We had to stop one more time to give room to 2 descending busses, but after that we just spun up to the top.

It took 2hr & 10m to get from the van to the top with breaks, pictures, etc... I am positive we could have done a sub 2 hour by simply being a tad more consistent - but I am not sure we would have had as much fun. It was a clear day, so the views were fantastic and worth it. The conversation made it go by faster that it actually took. We found ourselves pacing with about 5 other riders. A group of 4 and one single rider. We swapped positions regularly on the climb until the group of 4 stopped at the hut prior to the last leg of the climb, then the other one rider swapped positions with us a couple more times. He was riding a beautiful Seven with bright blue CK hubs. Just a beaut to look at!!

Only one rider cruised by us on a mission. We were 70% of the way up and he cruised by looking relatively fresh. We never saw him again.

Any anxiety I had over the climb was unwarranted. Even without having climbed much at all the past 6 months, this was not horrible.
It was a nice steady ride and it's biggest challenge was simply 20km of climbing.
 
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