Purpose one: writing a travelogue to describe my various trips.

Purpose two: muse.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Yesterday I climbed Mt. Fuji. It was a bit touch and go, not with the climb itself, but in getting to the start. Not to mention the timing with the weather.

Fuji from Fuji-Yoshida

I had reserved a hotel in Fujiyoshida, not knowing the bus to the mountain actually leaves from Kawaguchiko. I got up early in the morning and hiked over to Kawaguchiko at 5AM, but the bus wasn't running that early. I had conflicting information about it from the web. The bus only runs from around 9AM to around 3PM this time of year (May).

I ended up taking a taxi to 5th station. It cost $130, but I figured it was my only chance to climb Fuji.

The climb wasn't hard. I did need an ice-axe the last 300 feet before the crater, but I wasn't about to turn around at that point! There was a runout 1000 feet below me, so I went for it anyway. Notwithstanding my comments about the Japanese and their crampons in my last post, on Fuji, the last 1000 or 2000 feet would have been faster with crampons. Had I been there earlier in the day, it would have been uncomfortable without them.

View of the North Alps

I did the Kawaguchiko route, mostly because I thought that was the one I could get to. It comes up to the crater about 120 degrees away from the actual summit. I went the long way around, which was a mistake as the snow was getting soft and it was a trudge.

View North towards Tokyo, on the crater, and on the summit

Compared to Mt. Shasta, I felt Mt. Fuji was about half the effort. Climbing Mt Fuji the route I used corresponds pretty closely to climbing Shasta from Bunny Flat to Thumb Rock. Except you start a little higher at 7,800', end a little lower at 12,500', and you might feel a little better from more oxygen at the lower latitude. When doing Shasta, Thumb Rock is three quarters of the way in elevation, but due to the exponential nature of altitude, often it is little more than half way in time.

The Actual Summit from across the Crater

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