Mount Fuji Climb 2013: Preliminary Preparation

Dropped by Camper’s Corner 2 days ago to check out waterproof jackets and then headed to Paragon where my friend, J, purchased a pair of hiking boots.  It’s mid-Jan now… another 6 mths or so to our planned Tokyo trip where the highlight would be climbing Mount Fuji o(^_^)o  Am starting to get hyped as the days go by, the more I google about it, the more I wanna go!

Yeah ~ gotta admit that I’m slightly bummed that my initial climbing partner wasn’t gonna be able to make it.  Was supposed to be going with a gaming friend, from the other side of the pond, whom I’ve known for like almost a decade now, but never met.  Instead of travelling to each others’ countries, it was discussed that we meet up somewhere that we both wanna go.  Unfortunately, stuff happens irl, and he reckons he wouldn’t be able come up with the funds needed.  By the time he pulled out though, I had already done some research and am too invested not to make the trip.  Hence I decided to just ask around to see if anyone would be keen… and I got lucky!

E is a regular visitor to Japan.  tbh, I was hesitant (still am) to make this trip with her.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s a lovely girl – been friends since Secondary school.  BUT our travel styles are totally different!  I’m a budget traveler who is willing to drop certain comforts to ‘travel cheap’ though I do have my limits.  On the other hand, she is from a well-to-do family who is accustomed to more luxuries in her life.  Also, I’m into walking around, sight-seeing & trying new stuff, while she’s the typical girl who loves shopping & eating.  Furthermore, she has gone to Japan many times already while this would be my 1st trip… so I kinda foresee myself trying to visit as many places as possible while she would wanna take it easy & go to her usual haunts instead.  Nonetheless, I believe we should be able to make it work with compromise on both ends (more on my part since I’m the more quick-tempered one).  Gotta keep my impatience in check cos this is one friend I don’t wanna lose! >_<”

J is someone I got to know through E.  Met her a few times, but she’s easy to talk to.  Unlike E, she seems pretty hardy so am not too worried about her – just her fitness, but we’ve got 6mths to train, so that can be built up 😀

Back to the topic.  Mt Fuji.  Here’s a map of the most popular Yoshidaguchi Climbing Trail (since it’s my 1st time… think it’ll be wiser to go for the most travelled route), which I lifted off the Fujiyoshida City Homepage.

Fuji climb map

Looking @ the map, the mountain is ‘divided’ into various stations.  Generally most people start their summit climb from the 5th station.  Climbers either head up in the afternoon, take a rest at one of the rest huts around the 7th or 8th station for a few hours then push for the summit to see the sunrise (4:30am); or they start late in the night about 10pm from the 5th station and go all the way.  I’ll be going for rest hut option, with a slight variation.  I will not be starting from the 5th station.  Right now, it’s starting from the Fuji Sengen Shrine where the original pilgrimage route begins vs visiting the shrine then taking a bus up to Umagaeshi which is slightly below the 1st station.  The distance between is about 2hrs of hike time.  While I would dearly love to start from the beginning, I have doubts about my fitness (+ my tendency to stop for photography) and am worried that I might not make it till the rest hut in good time – that will mean less rest before pushing for the summit.

My draft itinerary looks like this:-

Fuji climb schedule

That is based on the assumption that we start from Fuji Sengen Shrine & manage to secure a rest spot at an 8th station hut.  Should we end up at the 7th station instead, the night climb will be pushed forward to a midnight start.  No idea if the above schedule is realistic or otherwise.  Will do further research and discuss the starting options with J before amending the itinerary if necessary.  Am gonna try securing spots in the rest hut asap too.  The higher we start the summit climb, the better.  E is only gonna be joining us from the 5th station, and probably will stop at the rest hut w/o going for the summit, so it doesn’t affect her either way.

Yeah, doing the full pilgrimage route will mean about 13-15hrs of hiking one way.  Looks like I’ve got a lot of training ahead of me for the next 6 mths.  Gonna be meeting J for our 1st training session his Sunday, heading to Gardens by the Bay – it’ll be more of a casual walk & sightseeing than anything else, but I guess a start is better than nothing!  Will try to incorporate a good distance for the session, perhaps take a long detour along the Singapore River up to Clarke Quay after the Gardens.  Mhmm… it’ll depend how much J is up for, she is in a worse shape than I am x_X

I’ll post my packing list another day.  In the meantime, related links:-

My Tokyo Guide Climbing Tips – what to bring

Uncornered Market – from the Fuji Sengen Shrine to the 5th station

Travel Mag – the pilgrim route

Just an m-log – yet another pilgrim

PS. Should anyone planning to climb the mountain too, or have done so, happen to stumble upon this post of mine, it would really be great if you drop a contact or something… could share tips & all 🙂

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8 responses to “Mount Fuji Climb 2013: Preliminary Preparation

  1. The Mount Fuji sunrise is probably the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. You’ll LOVE it, mate. If you’d like some tips, here are some things I’d recommend:
    1) Come packed with your own food and drink, at least 3 litres per person. You can buy provisions on the trail but the prices are outrageous.
    2) If there is even a hint of rain on the forecast, be absolutely certain you want to climb. I’ve known from past experience how a forecasted little shower soon escalated into a fully blown typhoon. Not nice when you are exposed on a mountainside.
    3) Even in the height of summer, the peak is still cold, even below freezing in the night, so be sure to pack layers, hats, golves, etc.
    4) If you feel up for it, and the weather is calm, I would recommend climbing all the way to the summit in the night. It gets cold but not so cold you can’t sleep, and when the day begins to dawn you won’t be stuck in the queue of people trying to ascend when the sunrise happens.

    Sorry to give unsolicited advice like this, but you can take it or leave it, and I hope this helps. Hope you have a great time here!

  2. I’ll take it 🙂

    Quick question. When u refer to climbing all the way to the summit in the night, does that mean climbing maybe from like 10 or 11pm, get to the top really early and wait till sunrise?

  3. Philip F. McCracken, III

    I climbed Fuji in December 1991. Up to level 5, was 8+ hours from the temple at the base. Although there are many ancient sites to see on the way up. One night at the lodge, 10-12 hours from level 5 and back. Then a quick return on the third day.

    I had a Gortex outer layer top and pants and special layers of insulation underneath. And then a ice pick and crampons for the upper levels. A rope secured to you and your axe/pick and a smaller pack for the top levels. It was -8 C degrees on a sunny day.

    There is a great detailed map I picked up near Tokyo of the mountain and surroundings. All printed in Japanese.

    • December – that’s pretty much during winter if I’m not wrong? I think I can ignore the ice pick & crampons considering I’m going during the climb season (looking @ mid July to be slightly more precise). Mhmm… am currently looking at jackets from Marmort and Timberland. I saw this dual layer type in the stores. The outer layer is waterproof & the inner detachable layer is some kinda fleece material for warmth. Below those I’ll probably just have a pair of Uniqlo heattach top + leggings, a dry fit tee or tank top, then cargo pants for legs (will bring along rain pants just in case). Do u reckon that’ll be sufficient?

  4. Pingback: Dodging the bullet, Should I? « Simple Complexity

  5. I plan to go the Yoshidaguchi Climbing Trail in April 30th. However, I am confused about how to get the the fuji sengen shrine from tokyo. I plan to take a bus from shinjuku express terminal to kawaguchiko. From there, I heard there are buses to the shrine, but where do you take it from? What are the timings?

    And did you actually climb mount fuji in January?

    Thanks

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