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June 2010

06/27/2010

Climbing Mount Fuji

There is more way than one to scale a mountain. Many have several routes to the top.  Mt Fuji has four.  Along the trail, there are huts, big and small, where weary hikers can stop and rest. You can hike during the day, but most people choose to hike at night so they arrive at the summit in time to see the sunrise at about four thirty a.m.  It means the walk up starts at 10 or 11 o'clock the night before.

Of course you can also try what four people are going to do this fall.  They will climb Fuji four times in 24 hours to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.  That means on average it will take them six hours to go up and down. It will take us 10 to 12.  

Since I have only read about the huts and trails I will wait until we have firsthand experience before going into more detail.  I will tell you we are doing this without a guide.  The trails are marked and because there are so many other hikers we should be fine.  We will follow the pack and hope they are going in the right direction.
 

As this blog goes out, we should be arriving in Tokyo.  I will have more in a day or two, provided all gadgets are in working order. 

-- Diana Williams

06/26/2010

Diana Williams heads to Mt. Fuji

Another year, another mountain and this year it is Mt Fuji in Japan. My family and I will attempt to climb Japan's highest mountain next Thursday.  We are gathering gear, climbing poles and more, and hoping that the mountain roads on Fuji will be open by next week.  Right now they are still closed.  Climbing season for many mountains is during the summer because there is less snow or none at all.  Apparently, there is still a great deal of snow on top of Fuji.  It’s a long way to go to find they have hung out a "closed to climbers" sign.  So keep fingers crossed for us.

 

Mt. Fuji’s climbing season runs from July 1st to August 31st.  There are four routes to the top and none of them is scenic.  More than 200 thousand people climb the mountain each summer. Think of trying to walk along crowded 5th Avenue at Christmas time. That's how jammed the trails get near the top.  Sometimes you just shuffle along with the crowd.   It will be cold, crowded, and possibly rainy, and at 12,388 feet, one or more of us may be sucking on a can of oxygen.  As my kids say, another fun hike with mom.

 

Majestic Mt Fuji-San is a sacred mountain.  It is named after the Buddhist fire goddess Fuchi.  Summiting is more pilgrimage than climb.  The spiritual element is what makes the crowds, the weather, and the grim rocky landscape all bearable.  At least that’s what I keep telling the family.  We will also spend some time in Tokyo and Kyoto.  My first trip to Asia, so if you have any advice, please feel free to leave a message on my Facebook page.  I am hoping all my gadgets will work on the other side of the world.

 

Tomorrow I’ll have more details on the hike itself. 

 

- Diana Williams