Location: Niki, Yoichi-gun/Kyowa, Iwanai-gun
Altitude: 793m (~500m elevation gain)
Length: Half day (~6km round trip)
Hiked on: March 15th, 2016
Rubeshibe, in the Ainu language, means “creek at the mountain pass.” Aptly the hike begins at Inaho Pass, which connects the Niseko area with the Yoichi/Otaru area. Park your car just outside the tunnel on the Kyowa side of Inaho tunnel and cross the road (be careful people drive fast here) and start the hike up the service road.
The road bends in a big curve, crossing the stream underneath, and wraps back around to above the tunnel. Climb onto the ridge on the left side of the road after crossing the bridge, I waited until the point where you are directly above the tunnel, but it may be easier to climb up the small gully (look for the traffic mirror on the right side.) The ridge bends left after a bit to join the main ridge which connects all the way to the summit. The views are fantastic with the towns of Yoichi and Niki to your right, Ginzan and Yoichidake behind you, and Mount Yotei and the Niseko range to the left.
The trees get sparser and sparser and eventually you’ll see the reflective panel which marks the summit (there is no summit sign.) From the other side of the broad summit you can see the mountains of Shakotan and the town of Iwanai and the Sea of Japan. While it was a rather nice day when I was there, it’s probably not the most pleasant place to be in inclement weather as it is exposed in all directions.
While there are many potential skiing lines from the top, the only way to really get back to the trailhead is to follow the ridge back. I would recommend against going all the way down to the bottom of the gully to skier’s right of the ridge, as there are some waterfalls and the ridge sides were sliding everywhere when I did the hike. If you drop into any of the gully/ridge sides, best to climb back up and go back the way you came up.
It’s been very satisfying exploring these minor peaks that you can hardly see yet offer vast possibilities once you start exploring them. From the top of Rubeshibe, there are several other unnamed peaks that would be interesting side trips and has some great looking lines, so I’ll definitely be back (I feel like I say that way too often these days.) Just look out for the gullies as they run deep and long and may throw some surprises if you’re not careful.