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Links to plan to hike to Fujisan [E]
 
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sanji
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PostYou have posted in this forum: Mon Jul 09, 2007 5:58 am Back to top

This small topic is dedicated to links that probably would help you to plan a climbing of the Fujisan (Mount-Fuji)...

A first reminder : the official climbing season starts the 1st of July and finishes the 27th of August every year. The opening can be delayed is there is still snow on the top of the mountain.





Weather

In English, general weather forecasts (4 next days, once a day) and a little more specific (2-3 next days, 3 previsions per day)

In Japanese, general forecasts (each 3 hours) and long range forecasts (1 week); also of interest, the temperature on the top (per hour for the last 24 hours).


Access paths to the top

There are 5 different tracks reaching the summit from different starting points... Here are the links for the pdf maps from the climber.org web site, with a map of the paths and a map of the summit. Tracks starts all from different 5th stations, the top of the mountain being 10th station and the bottom, at the sea level, the 1st. In old times, the climbing was starting from the sea level up to the 3776 meters of the Fujisan.

  • Kawaguchiko-guchi route : start from the 5th station at 2305 m. This is the most popular access, with lots of mountain huts on the way to the summit. Most of people coming from Tokyo use this route.
  • Subashiri-guchi route : start from the 5th station at 2000 m. Less crowded, this track joins the previous one at the 8th station.
  • Fujinomiya-guchi route : start from the 5th station at 2400 m. This is the shortest route and thus the easiest one. It is important to keep in mind that the sunset is not very visible from the slope of the Fujisan, so it is best to be on the summit before the sunset.
  • Gotenba-guchi route : start from the 5th station at 1440m. The longest route, and the less popular one, with only limited facilities on the way to the summit...



Access from Tokyo

To reach the Fujisan, 5th station, from Shinjuku, highwaybus.com has a transportation service up to 6 times per day (3 buses in the morning, 3 in the evening). Select on their web the option 新宿~富士山五合目線, and then the desired date (up to 1 month in advance). Possibility to reserve online or by phone at 03-5376-2222 (in Japanese only). It is recommended to book ahead, since it is significantly cheaper than the train+bus option. The one-way price is 2600 yen. The most convenient buses are often fully booked more than 24 hours in advance.
With a car, you can directly reach one of the 5th stations. See this bilingual road map. Keep in mind that some of the access road can be closed, especially around the o-bon period (middle of August); at that time, you will need to leave your car at the bottom of the mountain and take a shuttle bus to reach the 5th station.


Mountain Huts

Complete list of the mountain huts, with phone numbers, web pages and comprehensive details; available for the different tracks. Some mountain huts have staff speaking English. It seems that booking ahead is not needed during the week, but could be important during the week-ends...
Some details on the mountain huts .


Maps

Excellent colored maps of the summit and the different routes.


Off season & Winter

One of the regular questions concerns the climbing outside the official period. The answer is clear : only experienced climbers should attempt to climb the Fujisan from September to June. Accessing the mountain is more difficult (few or no buses are available, for example), mountain huts are partially or completely closed, and there can be a lot of snow. I personally climbed in September, and the last hour on the track was walking in the snow. You therefore need to be equipped for that. Before June and after September, it is an extremely difficult hike, and can be potentially very dangerous. For those who are still tempted, check the following links:

live-fuji.jp/fuji/scott/winter.html
www.pefferkoven.de/mt-fuji-winter-climbing.php



Other stuff & Links

  • Some other stuff Ė did you know you can horse ride the first part of the journey??

  • Live cam of the Fujisan

  • Lots of links on the live-fuji.jp web site (part of those links are broken, though). This site is one of the most comprehensive on the Fujisan, and is in English.

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secret-japan
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PostYou have posted in this forum: Tue May 25, 2010 6:13 am Back to top

Climbing MT Fuji out of season


I had planned to climb mt Fuji in May, but it was really hard to get reliable information. Whoever I asked told me that it is not allowed and that it is very dangerous. Even that it is not possible. However I did it, I had great experience, and I find it very doable, so thatís why I will write this report, for people in the future who will search similar information. I still donít recommend it to anybody nor want to take any responsibility for other peopleís destinies. So I will just write about my experience, my climbing history and shape, and my thoughts, so you can maybe relate to it and decide for yourself.

I came to Japan for two months April /May, and I wished to climb Mt. Fuji among all. I assumed it was doable. It is similar latitude as European Alps, up to 1000 m shorter than Alpeís tallest peaks. As May/June is the best season to climb Alpes, I thought it must be here as well. Slope seems pretty much same everywhere (20 degrees?), and there is no crevasses. But people (even outdoor guides in Japan) told me that it is much harder due to mountainís exposure and strong wind. Well thatís partially true. But of course you must follow the weather forecast and choose good time for climbing. Same as sunshine and participation forecast, there is the wind forecast as well. People told me that experience climbers die there regularly, and two of them died just few weeks before my trip. Thatís really sad, but unfortunately that is the fact on every serious mountain in the world.

First of all I have to tell you about my mountaineering experience. When I was 20 something, I was ambitious to climb big mountains, I climbed Mt. Blanc, and was preparing to climb Aconcagua, but once in the Alpes I had bad experience (stuck on the steep place) and I decided that dangerous situations and adrenaline stuff is not for me. I decided not (necessarily) to climb peaks but enjoy trekking. So I did quite some trekkings in my life Ė Himalayas, Patagonia, Alps, New Guinea, etc, etcÖ But thatís not too often. Maybe once or twice a year I do an Ďexpeditioní (1-4 weeks walking), and another 5 times I go for a weekend trip. I did some serious jungle treks as well. Other than that when Iím home in Croatia, I try to keep in shape by running (once a week, one hour) and going to gym (once to twice a week). Half of my time Iím travelling (Iím professional traveler Ė www.davorrostuhar.com) and then I mostly donít do anything to keep my shape.

So I guess I have pretty much better shape than average male of 28 years, but still Iím not sport freek, nor can I run marathons, climb big peaks, or do adventure races. I do it all for fun and for health, and for love of outdoors.

Since I came to Japan in the beginning of April I didnít do any outdoor or sports activities, but in early May I did 6 day (130 km) trek in Kii peninsula.

One person from this forum helped me with borrowing me equipment for mt. Fuji (ice axe, crampons, gaitersÖ), and I decided to go there alone. There is a guide service but it cost more than 500 euro, so I decided to go alone. I donít know the guideís name but his number inside Japan is 0555 237 554. He speaks English. Everybody told me that I need between 8 and 12 hours to get to the top and down, from Kawaguchiko 5th station (2300 m above see level) I will not write about how to get there, and other practicalities about that, as that you can find out elsewhere.

I was waiting for good weather. Could have chosen between Friday Ė clear, winds 30-40 kmph, or Saturday Ė cloudy, almost no winds. I have chosen Friday, as I prefer nice visibility in spite of winds. People told me that it is possible to do it if the winds are bellow 40 or 50 kmph.
I started walking from 2300 m at 6 am. on 21st May. I had just a tourist map but the path was easy to follow, as it is huge, and lined with huts (all closed out off season) At 2800 m. I had to put crampons on and change walking sticks for ice axe. I was walking pretty fast and outrunned few other Japanese hikers. There was altogether 15 people climbing the mountain from Kawaguchiko side that day. All of them who had iceaxe (only 6!!), didnít hold it properly, so I assume they donít even know how to use it. If you never walked in crampons and donít know how to hold and use ice axe Ė donít go there, because you really might die! I think it is relatively easy to use those stuff, but if you donít know it, it is really serious problem, and big risk, even of death!

To my surprise I reached the top of the volcano at 10 am, after 4 hrs walking! As I had more time than expected, I did a trek around the volcano ridge (some 2-3 kms), and that was beautiful but toughest part of the trip. Some pretty steep slopes (40-50 degrees) plus strong wind that few times threw me out of balance.

It took me one hour to do it and then I rested and lunched for half an hour. I descended the same way I came and that took me another hour and a half.

I had perfect weather that day, and perfect ice condition (frozen snow). Overall it was really rewarding experience! Mt Fuji is very impressive and powerful, and I have deepest respect for that mountain!


So the most important things to know or do when preparing for climb out of season is:

1) Respect the mountain, and donít ever underestimate it!
2) Be in good shape, and know well your own abilities, donít ever overestimate it!
3) Have all the proper equipment! (You should know what it is!)
4) Plan well the time for the climb. Weather forecast on Mt. Fuji is of crucial importance. This site may help: www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Mount-Fuji/6day/top

Consider all other rules important for climbing mountains.


It is not possible to rent equipment in Japan, because they are obsessed by following the rules. Logics is as this: If climbing season is only in July and August, that means that you have no reason to look for equipment out of that season.

There were so many warnings that I almost didnít do it, but later on I found it much easier than expected. Now Iím really happy I did it.
If you are in a similar position where I was, I hope this report will help you. But be respectful, responsible and donít be foolish. Most of the people I met on the mountain, and some that wanted to join me before that, didnít have proper experience to do it.

If you have needed experience and consider weather forecast carefully, you might have one of the most memorable climbs of your life, because Mt Fuji is really majestic and spectacular mountain with strong energy. And in this time of the year (late May) it is picture-perfect
snow caped, and free of tourists (who flock there in thousands every day during season)

Take care!


davor - www.davorrostuhar.com

republished with the permission of the author

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