Climbing Mount Fuji

Where to start? It was such an amazing experience. Not without its challenges, but in the end, very worthwhile.

There were four of us: me, CC, Satchiko, and Yoann. There were initial concerns that the weather would be a problem, but the thunderstorm completely passed and in the end, we had perfect weather. We did start later than we originally planned, however, to accommodate scheduling changes. That meant that we didn’t reach the summit for sunrise, but frankly, I didn’t care one bit. It was so astoundingly beautiful watching the sunrise from just below the 9th station, I don’t know how to describe it. I took pictures, but I don’t know if they properly convey the feeling.

Also, climbing at night was so much fun! I totally didn’t expect that. Although I should be honest. It really isn’t a climb so much as an extended hike. The path we took was very much man-made. There were a couple of steep sections, but nothing a person in reasonable health can’t manage. And certainly no verticals.

The one problem we had was oxygen. Speaking for myself, I’ve spent almost my entire life at sea level. Once we reached 9th station, I had to take each step slowly and methodically. If I moved too fast, my heart would start to beat frantically. It became something of a meditation. One step at at time. In the end, I’m not sure it was worth actually summiting. The view from 9th station was closer to the clouds, and therefore in my eyes probably more beautiful. At the top are shops and places to rest, which is not so worthwhile. There is the crater, however, which is very cool. I suppose it’s up to the individual to say whether the last stretch is worth the effort. It was definitely the hardest part of the climb. But if you do summit, you can also say that you’ve climbed a mountain, which is cool in itself.

One thing you should be prepared for is the climb down. In a word, it sucks. Okay, maybe that’s two words, but that doesn’t make it less true. It’s slippery and exhausting and boring. It’s just a switchback after switchback heading down and down and down. Three hours of a nears-Mars, lifeless landscape when your body’s tired. And if you’ve got bad knees at all, watch out. Mine are generally okay, but they certainly weren’t happy with me on the way down.

Once we were back in Tokyo and showered, Yoann and I joined up with his mom to celebrate by going to a very nice French restaurant at the National Art Center. A terrific meal, and very interesting architecture.

Enough rambling. Some samples are below, and I’ll try to get the rest of the photos uploaded to flickr later tonight or tomorrow. Enjoy!

On the Way to Mount Fuji 2Climbing Mount Fuji 2Climbing Mount Fuji 3

Climbing Mount Fuji 4Climbing Mount Fuji 5Climbing Mount Fuji 6

Climbing Mount Fuji 6Climbing Mount Fuji 7Climbing Mount Fuji 8

Climbing Mount Fuji 9Climbing Mount Fuji 10Climbing Mount Fuji 11Climbing Mount Fuji 12

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~ by Samer on July 24, 2007.

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