Posted by: johnnysbigclimb | April 28, 2010

Guide Profile – Hiro Kuraoka


Guide Profile – Hiro Kuraoka

Age: 48

Hometown: Chibo, Japan

Occupation and personal situation: Mountain Guide, married with 2 daughters, 17 and 21, sponsored by Haglofs Mountain Clothing, and Hestra Gloves.

JD – Favourite food?

HK – My favourite food is sashimi with Japanese sake!

JD – Favourite place in the world?

HK – I like beach climbing in Thailand, not cold, easy to get beer and relaxing in the sunshine.

JD – How did you get started guiding?

HK – I was a young alpinist, but had an accident in 1985, falling 25m to the ground. It took 10 years to recover fully, but I started guiding in between, which isn’t as physically strenuous as hard alpine climbing. Some of my friends were guiding at the time which gave me the idea to make money using my skills, so I took the guiding exams to get my license.

JD – Where has mountain guiding taken you?

HK – I’ve guided mainly in Central Asia and Sth America. Its taken me to many other around the world, but particularly to 3rd world countries such as Nepal.

JD – Favourite Moments?

HK – Sleeping in the tent anytime!

I spent 4 months in Alaska in 1985 from Feb (winter) – June climbing Denali and Mt Hunter. We succeeded on Denali Sth Face, on the American Direct which was the 3rd alpine style ascent of the face. (Alpine style means no fixed ropes or stocked camps. Just put your backpack on, and climb from the bottom to the top in a continuous go).

JD – Favourite mountain?

HK – My first expedition was when I was 20 years old, to Gauri Shanker 7,134m, which at one point (a long long time ago) was thought to be the highest mountain in the world before surveyors came to Nepal.

Another very special climb for me was of Angel Falls in Venezuela, in 1984. Angel Falls is the highest waterfall in the world, and took 3 weeks of continuous effort. We didn’t know the seasons, and started to climb in the wet season, which was like climbing underneath a shower. Halfway up, the dry season started to take effect. It was warm, wet, and we had a lot of rum! Very beautiful waterfall.

JD – When first time to Everest?

HK – First time I came to Everest was in 1985 although I didn’t summit that time. I reached the top of Everest in 2004 and have now guided Everest 3 times.

JD – After the expedition?

HK – I’m looking forward to visiting Thailand after the expedition. I have a trip to India in September to climb Kamet, which is the second highest peak in India after Nanda Devi, which is another work trip.



  1. Hey Jonny,

    Hiro sounds like he would be fun to go on the sake with. Your in safe hands!!

    Take care and best of luck!


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