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Published: August 26th 2010
The Japanese say he/she who has not climbed Fuji is a fool but he/she who climbs it twice is an even bigger fool! I came through Nogoya and several other places on my way here, stopping at Shin Fuji station. Then I continued onwards to a base town called Gawaguchink. I was here to tackle Fuji and I'd be doing it during the night! At 3776 m, Mt Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and considered it's holiest. It has a near perfect symmetrical cone shape to it and is one of the most famous symbols in all of Japan. Numerous people make the trek up each year, luckily I've come here during climbing season which is only July and August. Any other times are quite dangerous with fatalities to show it. Some people have literally been blown off the mountain. Also it's still considered an active volcano and is overdo for erupting. Clouds usually cover the mountain making it difficult to see even up close. When I arrived I had no idea which way the mountain was.
I began the climb at the 5th station, it was relatively warm and about ten in the evening. A lot of
people climb during the night so they can witness the sunrise, and I was no exception. I was also doing it to avoid the heat and intense sun rays that would have come with climbing it during the day, as the mountain doesn't have much vegetation for shade past 2500 m. It was simple enough for the first bit but then everytime I approached the next station, there was a bottleneck of people! We're talking serious traffic. So being someone with limited patience in these situations I just got off the track and literally climbed up the rockyside of the mountain. Up and up I went, it was difficult to really see the top in the darkness but I definitely realized when I passed levels of clouds. The terrain was pretty straightforward itself as well. It was really cool seeing the trail of flashlights from both above and the bottom. The moon shown brightly, like a beacon for everyone to follow. The cold was beginning to wear at me and I was happy to have my jacket even though it was thin and of course my beanie which I'd be missing without.
On and on I went up, more
or less decent pace except when hitting the stations. It was fun going around all the folks that were moving like zombies. All and all arrived at the top at around three fifteen in the am. Way too quick I realized. Damn. And man was it freezing up there! Still better than the cursed humidity I'd been facing for the past few weeks though. I found an isolated area on the peak and curled up in a ball. I couldn't really sleep, only shiver for the next hour or so. My hands started going numb since I didn't have gloves. Finally at around four thirty, dawn broke out. A beautiful aura of light appeared above the clouds, which I could now see properly for the first time. It was like flying, totally worth the climb up! Everyone else seemed mesmerized as well, no on spoke as the sun peaked out of the clouds and then continued climbing. An amazing sight! After sunrise I walked the entire crater peak which took about a half hour. There was even a makeshift post office on the top. It was really cold still even though the sun helped warm things up.
down at about seven and this was the hardest part I think. It was tough on the knees and mostly loose dirt making it difficult for the feet to grip. I was sliding everywhere. I noticed Fuji is one hell of an ugly mountain up close just dirt and more dirt. I'm guessing it only looks really picturesque during the winter. As the sun got higher and higher it was also getting too warm again. Talk about an extreme temperature change! It took me about three hours to make it back down and boy was I glad that was over. And the soles of my shoes were wrecked!
Tot: 0.036s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 14; qc: 30; dbt: 0.0073s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb