In May, Japanese climber Kazuaki Amano, 2009 winner of the Piolet d’Or, was a guest blogger.
In the fourth blog, people shared their experiences of their research on the “off-limits” island of South Iwo Jima.
There is a an island you cannot set foot on. It’s about 1,300 km from Tokyo. It is 60km south of the site of the fierce WWII battle, Iwo Jima, and it goes by the name of South Iwo Jima (Minami Ioto).
The island has a circumference of 7.5km and is located at the southern tip of the Volcano Islands group.
Due to marine erosion and land avalanches, the island is surrounded by 100-200m cliffs, and as a result, it is difficult to land on the island — the average degree of incline on the island is 45 degrees.
The volcanic island resembles the pyramid-shaped Japanese Onigiri (transportable food item very popular in Japan made from cooked rice wrapped in a single sheet of dried laver).
At a height of 916m, it is the highest peak in the Izu and Ogasawara islands. The summit area is a cloud belt and is often covered in mist.
Minami Ioto (South Iwo Jima) Gensei Nature Conservation Area. This island, where people do not live permanently, has the tightest restrictions on entry into the nature conservation area in Japan.
Because there is no fresh water, large mammals cannot survive. The Island’s only mammal is the Ogasawara flying fox.
Since it is a volcanic island, it was never connected to the mainland. As a result, the living organisms exist in their same original primitive conditions, so much so that the island could be considered an Asian Galapagos.
In 2007 there was an opportunity to set foot on the island. This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for the scientific investigation team. The island was reached by swimming there.
We supported the team as climbing specialists.
From the shore, there was rock to be climbed, jungle to push through, bird nests to avoid and vegetation to push through before reaching the summit, which stands at 916m.
The scene from the top was possibly even more impressive than anything that we’ve seen in the Himalayas.
South Iwo-Jima, where setting foot is prohibited.
One of the few places that thrives in its original pure and natural state.
Guest blogger：Kazuaki Amano