Ep. 26 - Drytooling in Japan with Masato Nakajima

Jul 3, 2024

How many of you were inspired to start climbing because of a comic? I’m sure Masato Najakima is not alone, but he is the only person I can say with certainty that that's the case. (And if you’re curious, it was Gaku: Minna no Yama (in English, "Peak: Everyone's Mountain")).

Anywho, Masato is a leading drytooler in Japan and was one of a contingent from the country who sent “A Line Above the Sky” last year. Masato is a bit of a late bloomer — at 43, he’s one of the older athletes on the UIAA World Cup scene — and has made great progress since he started competing in 2016.

As one of the elder statesmen in his country, he’s trying to grow the sport locally. And despite 5 drytooling gyms in Tokyo — yes, you heard that right — it’s not easy… which we dive into in this chat.

Along with that, in this episode, we discuss:

  • 🧊 Overcoming health issues and getting into climbing

  • 🧊 The history of drytooling in Japan

  • 🧊 Efforts (and challenges) to grow the sport locally

  • 🧊 Where to climb in the country and the strict no-drilling ethos

  • 🧊 Unique perspective from a Japanese expat living in Canmore 

Resources and links:

If you’d like to learn more about drytooling in Japan, are thinking of visiting, or would like to help grow the community, you can reach out to Masato at @masato_drytooling. And here is the manga that inspired Masato.

If you’d like to learn more about Takeshi, here is an article about one of his routes in the Himalayas, and if you’re interested in going out for a day of guided climbing in the Canadian Rockies, you can connect with him at @taniyan_8000.


📸 : Most photos are by @kazuhiro_kodaira, courtesy of Masato.

Credits: Intro music by Hannah Noelle Enomoto (thanks, sis!). This episode was edited by Andrew Salomone of salomonesound.com. 

Sponsors: As always, a big thank you to Aniiu Gloves and Furnace Industries for supporting this show!

Patreon: Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed the conversation and want to help us do many more, consider supporting us on Patreon.  (And for less than the price of a bougie beer per month!).

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© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.