Mt FujiAugust 29, 2017 in Japan
So a group of 16 meet up at Tochomae metro to hike Mt Fuji. The tour is run by Fuji Mountain Guides with 4 young guys (3 Americans and a Brit) as tour guides. It takes a long time to exit Tokyo as we're on the road by 7am during peak commuting period.
The hike starts at the Subishiri 5th station, which is 1950m above sea level. Our goal is to reach Fujisan lodge (3400m) by late afternoon. We'll have an early night there, then leave for the summit at 2:30 am.
Being of a certain age, I've retired the backpack and bought modern luggage. So I've rented a backpack and 2 hiking poles from the guides. It's immediately apparent that I can't fit all my gear into this backpack, so my daypack comes along for the ride. It starts initially attached to the backpack but that's too awkward so it becomes a frontpack later in the day.
It's surprisingly warm and humid at 2000 metres. I'm wearing long trekking pants and sweating profusely (like most of the others). There's a lot of fog around so the views are non-existent. The 1st photo shows this. It's at one of the stations where we can take a break, have a toilet stop and buy drinks.
We eventually make it to the Fujisan lodge by 4pm. The 2nd photo shows its location above the cloud layer. The 3rd photo shows the track leading up to the lodge with hikers. So dinner is supplied and is a curry with rice. Filling and quite flavoursome.
We're turning in around 7pm. We each have a supplied blanket and sleeping bag but are tightly packed together. So if I lay on my back and stuck my elbows out I would hit 2 people. Some people sleep but my immediate neighbours both snore so I while away the hours in quiet desperation.
Finally it's 2:30 and time to trek upwards. We go single file and encounter wind and freezing rain. Turns out the waterproofing wax I bought for my boots isn't that great. Awesome time to find out. There are a lot of hikers after the same goal. We get to the summit and mill around trying to take cover from the wind and rain. It's very cloudy but suddenly the sun appears! The crowd goes "oooh" and a mad scramble ensues to take photos. 15 seconds later the clouds are back and the opportunity is lost! Only for a couple of minutes as magically the clouds roll away and the sun is revealed in awesome majesty. These are my last 3 photos, including the obligatory "summit selfie".
Anyway it's not smart to linger at the summit so we trek back to Fujisan lodge for breakfast. Chicken with scrambled eggs, very tasty. Everything is packed away and we make our descent. This is the reason that parts of my body no longer talk to me. With the weight I'm carrying my knees and toes cop a pounding. The terrain is mostly scree but there are sections involving rocks that were challenging. Thank God for the hiking poles!
Eventually I make it back to the starting point. Time for a drink, a bit of a rest and then I'm off to Gotenba in the van. And that's the end of my Mt Fuji adventure.Read more