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Going to climb Mt. Fuji - I made it! - added full story

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Going to climb Mt. Fuji - I made it! - added full story

Old 08-28-04, 01:57 AM
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Going to climb Mt. Fuji

Kumar J's thread last week gave me the idea.

Its 3pm Saturday in Japan and I have a ticket for the bus at 5:50. Right now there is light rain in Tokyo (shinjukju) so I might have a bad time but I am hoping it will clear. I have all my gear so I should be fine.

I get to Fuji around 8 or 9 pm. It will be at the 5th station which is half way up. Then I will start up. My plan is to catch a few hour sleeping before the top so I can adjust to the altitude because I am starting from sea level. I have a 40 degree bag but if it raining I will go to a hut at the 8th station and try and get it. I here they suck and you are shoulder to shoulder but it will eb cool if its raining.

Then I will head for the top before sunrise @5am!!!!

hope there is not too much rain

Let you know tomorrow!

Later

Last edited by bfrank; 08-28-04 at 02:22 AM.
Old 08-28-04, 02:07 AM
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LOTS OF PICTURES!!!!!!

wow, i'm jealous. really good luck, be safe and enjoy what the earth has to offer.
Old 08-28-04, 02:11 AM
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Wasn't the codeword actually "Climb Mt. Niitaka"?
Old 08-28-04, 02:20 AM
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Good luck and have fun. Right now I'm in the southern end of Japan (Kagoshima) and we're about to get hit by a typhoon.
Hope none of that bad weather makes its way up by where you are.
Old 08-28-04, 02:21 AM
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http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...1530&ncid=1112

Yeap me too. Its not raining here yet and I will be back on the bus at 1pm tomorrow. I think I am cool but I will have to watch out and be careful.

Might be pretty wet though
Old 08-28-04, 02:23 AM
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good luck B!

let us know how it goes!
Old 08-28-04, 02:26 AM
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here is a live cam and it looks cool right now

http://live-fuji.jp/fuji/livej.htm

Thanks D
Old 08-28-04, 02:32 AM
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Good luck climbing the mighty Fuji-sama. I'm sure you'll have a great experience.
Old 08-28-04, 02:34 AM
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excellent!
Old 08-28-04, 10:07 AM
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As I am writing this, it is around midnight in Japan. Gambate, bfrank.
Old 08-29-04, 01:49 AM
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Thanks!

Just got backI have been awake for 31 hours

It was hell up there - pouring rain and got worse the higher I went. Still there were others up there.

I will tell the whole deal tomorrow.
Old 08-29-04, 01:50 AM
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Oh - I made it
Old 08-29-04, 02:24 AM
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Originally posted by bfrank
Thanks!

Just got backI have been awake for 31 hours

It was hell up there - pouring rain and got worse the higher I went. Still there were others up there.

I will tell the whole deal tomorrow.
You didn't run into a pack of rowdy Hispanics again, did you bfrank?
Old 08-29-04, 02:25 AM
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(I was trying the Groucho approach and went sans "", just kidding What a cool experience, I'm jealous, even if it was raining and hell.

Old 08-29-04, 04:06 AM
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Hope you didn't run into this:
Old 08-29-04, 04:35 AM
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Congratulations man.The typhoon is rally bad, we got rain even today in Tokyo!
Old 08-30-04, 01:11 AM
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Originally posted by bfrank
Oh - I made it

Congrats man!

I evny you in so many ways, you travel a lot, ride motorcycles, climb mountians, and with all this you can still find the time to shut down threads in dvdtalk and raise a family.


Bfrank, take a bow 'cause U DA MAN!!!
Old 08-30-04, 01:22 AM
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Originally posted by Giantrobo

I envy you in so many ways, you travel a lot, ride motorcycles, climb mountians, and with all this you can still find the time to shut down threads in dvdtalk and raise a family.


While you're stuck in the ghetto reduced to smoking crack? Darn colored folks playing the race card...

...... (just messing with ya robo!)

Oh, and congrats bfrank that's awesome!
Old 08-30-04, 01:55 AM
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Wow dude that is way cool of you, Thank you so much.

However there is a suckekeke side to travel. I am here for two weeks and if not for Fuji this trip would suck out LOUD! Travel is not cool when its for work and you are stuck working the whole time.

I am away from my Family when I travel. That is super hard on me. Last year I was away for 13 weeks in total. THink how much time that is in the life of a seven year old daughter. I think you can understand- the grass is always greener.
Old 08-30-04, 01:57 AM
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Originally posted by bfrank
I think you can understand- the grass is always greener.
Oh, I understand...

You remembered what happened to Paul McCartney and left it at home.
Old 08-30-04, 02:02 AM
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When you have time Bfrank, give me a call,I can take you around,show you a little bit of the town.
Old 08-30-04, 02:02 AM
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Looking forward to the pics. When are you coming back?
Old 08-30-04, 03:25 AM
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Originally posted by Preacher
When are you coming back?
hopefully never

Originally posted by bfrank
the grass is always greener.
green grass doesn't "smoke" as well as dry grass

yeah can't wait to see pics,

Last edited by Bacon; 08-30-04 at 03:29 AM.
Old 08-30-04, 05:44 AM
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The work server in Japan is blocking my upload of pics so I cant show you them until I return. Until then here is a long story if you want to read it..........



I had read KumarJ’s thread from a few weeks ago and though wow that would make a two-week work trip to Japan into something to look forward to. With a lot of help from KumarJ and research on the web a made my plans for climbing (or hiking) Mt. Fuji.

Background- Fuji is developed and has five main trails up. Along the way there are small huts that have sleeping areas and serve some food. The sleeping is side by side and you get a pillow width. The Huts are broken down into stations along the path. Most people start from the 5th station, which you can take a bus to. Then there are 10 stations on the main trial up. The 10th is at the top. The mountain is 12,388 ft (3,776 m) tall and is the highest point in Japan. The hiking season is July – August. Rain is common so it is recommended to bring rain gear.

I had all of my mountain and rain gear with me for this trip and expected some rain to be safe. My plan was to get to Japan and have my work help arrange the bus. I would start at in the early evening. I would hike high as I could and play the altitude as I went. I have a lot of experience in the mountains but I have never gone so high so fast and this was starting at sea level. I would just stop at the highest hut as I could and rest. I would rest a few hours and leave with enough time to reach the top but 4:50am so to give me time to see the sunrise at 5:10am.

Well, my work friends would not make my reservations when I first arrived because they worried about Typhoon Chaba hitting. So Friday came and I moved from our factory to downtown Tokyo (ShinJuku – that is another story!). My work was still recommending that I don’t go. But the hotel helped me reserve the bus for 5pm and return 1pm the next day.

Saturday I tried to sleep late but only could make it to 9am. I had breakfast and walked over to find the bus terminal and pay for my tickets. It was simple and that was my last logistical worry. Then I walked around town and then back to the hotel. I had an email from work warning that the Typhoon had turned and was now touching southern Japan (Fuji is in the middle). An arm of the storm was heading toward Mt. Fuji and it was starting to rain in Tokyo but it was not that hard. Still being alone and having work warning me did get my mind thinking. I tried to rest for a few hours but I was just freaking myself out. So I headed to the bus about an hour early. I got some late lunch and checked out a cool mountain shop near the bus. I went to wait for the bus about 20 minutes early. The bus got there but there was no one else waiting. Now I started to really phys myself out. In the next 10 minutes two guys, a couple and one Australian got on and we were off.

I talked with the Aussy on the way. He lived in Tokyo teaching English and had been to Fuji last year. He asked if I wanted to climb with him. He was heavy set so I was a bit worried but he had been there and he spoke Japanese.

We got off the bus at the fifth station at 8:20 and spent the next few minutes getting ready. We noticed two more Australians there and about 20 Japanese getting ready. It was raining but it was fairly light. Now I knew I would make it and felt stupid for getting freaked out.

The other to Aussy’s hooked up with us and we started out. No of these three were ready. They had cheap plastic rain suits that cost about $20 at the mountain. From the fifth station to the sixth is super easy dirt access road and the rain was still lightish. Could not see the mountain at all. Only at the horizon could I make out the perfect slope. I lead and the mountain got steeper. The two Aussy’s were already complaining of mountain sickness (elevation) but we were only at ~8,000 ft. I know then they would never make it and should not be out in a storm trying. By now the rain was hard and all three looked to be suffering in their cheap rain gear. At the first 7th station hut they said we should stop. I said it was far too low to acclimate and I would head up. They decided to follow. But at the next hut they had to stop. The teacher impressed me and kept pace.

There were four huts at the seventh station and it kind of a cruel joke. Another seventh station – crap! Each one was packed with not enough space to move. Because of the rain it was a mess as people tried to take shelter and make room. It seemed that everyone trying on this day was in these four huts. Outside of each were another 20-50 people trying to hid from the rain. CRAZY- I looked at these people and only maybe 15% had the right gear for this storm. Most were in the cheap rain suits and tennis shoes.

Around 7th Station huts and 8th stations we hit the log jam of tours and people that had started earlier in the day. The pace was maddening slow. Step- wait – step –wait. To understand the tail is marked the whole way and in many places it is single file and roped off on each side. I paced when I could and whenever a group would stop I would use all my saved up energy to get past. The 8th station was where I had hoped to stop but I could tell by the sea of people I had just past I started to rethink my plan. Good thing because when I got there it was just as bad as the 7th huts. Packed with people that should not have been on the mountain on a clear day. At this point I noticed that the teach was not doing well either. His suit had split at the crotch (like every other one on the mountain). He was shivering and needed to get out of the rain. At the Fuji mountain hut there is a second building that serves food for very high prices but you can rest. It was shoulder to shoulder but it was dry. I took of my poncho and found that my gore-tex Northface jacket was starting to give into the rain (its 10 years old and the coating is warn). The good news is my Mountain Hardware pants were fine. So, I to bought a cheap rain suit. Gave the pants to the teacher and switched to my polar-tech fleece and the rain suit jacket then my poncho.

After a cup of hot chocolate I could see that the teacher was not going to make it. He took of his shoes and his toes were very blue. At about the same time the Hut guy told us we had to buy more of leave. So we got some roman and just then a seat opened for the teacher. About 20 minutes later we were told to leave. I told the teacher he was stuip to go on but he said he was find and it was no problem. The storm seemed far worse now and after 100 meters he understood that he had to go down. I was no alone. The train ahead was clear and I had a half hour of rest – all that I was going to get. It was now 3:00 and I was way off my plan. But it was clear there was no sunrise to be seen for me.

For the next hour or so I hiked alone sometimes passing small groups on my way to the 9th station. It was very trippy. Hard to tell you but almost like a dream. Step, step, step… Then whole time I was just looking down at my feet to keep the wind from pulling my hood off and to stop the rain from pounding my eyes. This was the highlight of the trip for me. Some kind of religious personal experience far different then I had hoped I would have but still very special in a weird way.

The 9th station had lots of room and there were only a few people outside. At this point I just thought screw it. I am going for the top, maybe the summit will be above the storm. The wind now was very strong – maybe 20-30 mph and the rain was very hard. Ahead I could see a long line of lights. When I caught them it was the remains of two tours. Maybe a total of 40 people and they were moving as slow as was possible. ARGH, I tried to pass but it was difficult due to the thin trial markers and the volcanic rock shapes. There really was on one good place to step at any time. Still I moved through as I could.

Maybe an hour later I only had about 10 people in front of me and the pace picked up. Above I could start to see the shape of a gate in the clouds (like a Japanese shrine). I got to it and though good the 9th station. Some how in the daze of the night I forgot that I had passed the 9th station a hour or two ago. Anyway I walked passed the gate and in a few minutes was at a building. Then I realized it was the top from group of about 50 happy people taking pictures. I walked to the marker and ask if a guy could take my picture. Then I went in the shrine and had a small stick I carried up stamped. People buy walking sticks and get stamps at each station but I wanted to us my hiking poles. Outside I went to take a photo and my digital camera locked up. It would not turn on or off. The lens was just stuck half way – FUCK- all this way and no pictures. Did the last one work? I was bummed big time!

Well it was 5am and the night started to give but only to show how bad the storm really was. I hiked to the crater and found a large boulder to hid behind. I could only see about 100ft down but it was very cool to be on top of Japan and my first volcano. I sat and drank some water. At this point I realized I had only had ramen and Hot chocolate and my stomach was feeling queasy. I rested for 10 minutes, ate and drank all I could (very little). I grabbed some rocks from the crater and headed down.

The path down was empty. I passed maybe 10 people going up from the top. At the 7th station the trail down is different then the one up. It seems to be a road for tractors to bring supplies up to the huts. From this point there were lots of people down below.

About 10 minutes later I hear “Hey Brett”. It was the teacher. He was looking good. The guy at the hut we ate at took him in and put him by the fire. Below we could see all of the people that hid from the storm in all the huts. 100’s of people heading down and going super slow. At least here the trail was wide. But it was also gravel and easy to slide out on and land on your arse. My legs were tied and the extra energy to control sliding was brutal! The teach was well rested and moving fast and I had to work to keep pace.

The last mile my stomach was really bugging me but the rain was to hard to stop and pull out food. Just some water and get down as fast as I could.

At the fifth station I just collapsed. It was still raining hard so we went into a place to eat and got a coke, which is all I could take. It was 8:45am. I had been on the mountain for 12 hours and it felt like it. The bus was not until 12pm so the next few hours sucked just waiting, cold, tired and spent.

But I have be to the top of Mt. Fuji (the hard way )

Thanks KumarJ for the idea and the help!
Old 08-30-04, 05:48 AM
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KumarJ,

Thanks, I am in Tokorozawa now. I come home on Thursday. If not for Fuji I would have set it up. I was at the Prince hotel - MAN ShinJuku is a trip.....


Again this adventure would nothave happened for me without your post and help - A heart felt thanks!


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