Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mt Fuji

Last weekend I finally climbed Mt Fuji, Japan's tallest mountain! I've been wanting to do it since last summer, so I'm really glad I got the chance to before leaving Japan. Fuji recently became a World Heritage site, so I'd heard that we would have to pay ¥1000 to climb it, but actually we didn't have to. Maybe because we climbed outside of the official hiking season? Anyway, it was an amazing experience! 

At Kawaguchiko station, I picked up an extra liter of water for the trek, and I was glad I had on the way up. There are stations along the way up the mountain where you can buy supplies and even sleep for a few hours, but the prices steadily rise the further up you go. By the 8th station Snickers bars were ¥300, and 500ml of water was ¥500! 

Here I am at 3100 meters! By this point it was pretty cold so I had my down jacket on, but I had taken off my hat because the exertion was making me hot. By the 8th station it was crazy cold though, and my hand holding my walking stick was frozen.

When we finally summitted, it was about 4am and pitch black and freezing cold! We took refuge in a little restaurant/rest stop on the top and took a little nap.

At 5am we ventured outside to take a few pictures of the sunrise just beginning, then hustled it back inside because it was seriously freezing. I'm surprised I could even get a decent picture because I was shivering so hard!

Then when the sun started to come up it warmed up a little, but was still really cold. 

The sky got steadily brighter, although unfortunately the sun itself was coming up under a cloud! It was still an amazing sight, though! 

The clouds cleared away a bit, and we could properly see the sea of clouds below us. It was so surreal being above the cloud line not in an airplane!

The horizon cleared and the view was just breathtaking.

It's hard to believe these aren't photoshopped! Nope, that's me, standing at 3776 meters!

We made coffee in the bathroom with Nick's portable stove, because it was too windy outside to get it to light and the restaurant we'd been at kicked everyone not buying anything out after the sunrise. Then, after fortifying ourselves with coffee, we started the descent. 

The first few legs of the descent were incredible. It looked like we were standing on the edge of the world! But then it quickly got monotonous. The trail down is just unending switchbacks of dry, dusty scree that made you slip and slide and get rocks in your shoes. After we entered the cloud layer the trail got easier to walk on and some vegetation started to appear, and when we reached the tree line the walk became a lot more pleasant. 

We finally reached the 5th station where we could catch the bus, and we bought souvenirs before heading out. I got some Fuji cookies for my work, and this Fuji cider for myself. 

I actually got this little pin on the summit, where they engraved the date on it!

Overall, I had a great time and am really glad I did it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This looks like it was a great adventure!