Summited on July 8 via the south route, Fujinomiya. It was still early in the official climbing season and the south route was sparse with hikers which made for an enjoyable experience. The time estimates in the brochures are not markers for the avid athlete - it can be done in 5 hours or less - there was even a team of runners doing laps around the crater at the top! Beautiful Classic Climb!
Fuji-san in winter was a bitter cold experience! I arrived late in the afternoon at Kawaguchi-ko fifth station and reached the crater at 1 or 2 AM. There was a lot of snow on the western slope whereas the eastern slope was almost void of snow I used crampons from an altitude of around 2800 m.Winds were strong and I have never felt so cold before. Conditions here were harsher than on either Elbrus or Damavand. The hardest part for me was the altitude - going from sea level to almost 4000 m it made itself felt! Nevertheless I have no regrets and I'd gladly go there again even in winter albeit better prepared!
After 37 years of life, this was my first mountain. I chose this mountain actually as a way to kill time instead of going to my in-laws house in Okinawa, where my wife is from. At the time, I approached this climb as another exercise session, in addition to my daily running and biking sessions. But, it turned out to be so much more than that, physically and spiritually. It also taught me a big lesson about higher altitudes and clothing.
After a 12 hour flight from Chicago, and two bus rides later, I arrived at the normal tourist starting spot, the 5th station of Kawaguchiko. I arrived about 7:45PM and started climbing in the dark at around 8:15PM or so. After reaching each station and taking a few breaks, I summited around 12:30. After not having much sleep, I took a nap on a door of a summit shop that was still closed.
This is where Fuji-San taught me a lesson. Since Tokyo was sweltering in 95'F heat, I thought just a single layer of pants (my marmot precip) and a light jacket would be enough for the summit. Wrong. I woke up after two hours of sleep shivering from the 35'F temperatures that were only made worse by a howling wind. The only thing I could do to keep warm was to descend a few hundred feet and find shelter behind a large overhang.
After two hours behind this shelter, and seeing the sun start to come up, I summited again to watch the sun pop up from behind the horizon. At this point, I felt a huge overwhelming feeling of warmth. Overlooking the cities below, feeling the fresh mountain air, and taking it all in, I realized this was something I've always wanted to do my whole life, but somehow became lost along the way. Now, the addiction to mountain climbing has started.
In two years, I plan to come back and start from Fujiyoshida, from the temple far below.
Did the climb in bad weather, but had to do it while I was there. 100 ft visibility at the top, high wind, and bitter cold made for quite an experience. Never even really saw the mountain...
Took a day off from a scientific meeting to climb Fuji-San. Hard to find my boot size in Tokyo, much giggling from sales women. Arriving at the trail head joined forces with three English-speaking Japanese (two high-school girls and a businessman). Had a most enjoyable climb in beautiful weather, nice sunrise and view of the Pacific. Many people on the route, though.
Not sure about the date, it might have been December 1994. Hiking to the summit was no problem, but on the way down I took a wrong turn and got lost. It was getting dark, and I didn't have warm clothes, bivy bag, or headlamp. Luckily, I found a mountain hut where I could stay for about $50. The next day, I had to hike part-way back up the mountain to get to the main trail.
Took a taxi in 0 visibilty fog up to the 5th station at midnight. From there we climbed up through heavy fog and constant rain. At about 5:30am we got to about 1k ft away from the summit. After 30 minutes and 90+ mph winds we descended back down to the 5th station. On the taxi ride back, our driver said that there had been a typhoon. What a wild time. Kamisama no kaze wa tsuyosugita.
This mountain is not as pretty when you're standing on it as when you are 50 miles away. For me, its grandeur was eroding just like its rubble hewn scree fields. By late December, there still wasn't much snow. And at this time of year there is no public transport up to the usual tourist trailhead. I had to hike all the way from Kawaguchiko train station. I wasn't in the mood for paying $50+ for a taxi to shortcut my FujiZen experience. It was so cold; I should have brought my Feathered Friends. Anyway, I ended up getting stranded on the summit overnight (80mph winds and -20C). Unfortunately my camp gear was several thousand feet below. Needless to say, I got frostbite in my toes and after limping down the mountain (all the way back to Kawaguchiko because don't even think about hitchhiking in Japan, even if you have swollen blistered feet) I couldn't walk for 5 days.
I spent the week in Japan on business and after a nice long day at work on a Friday I caught a bus to Kawaguchi-ko and on to Station five. We picked of a few supplies at the Unjyo-kaku store and headed up the mountain by about 9:30pm. We climbed up out of a near white out fog into a crisp clear night sky for a fantastic evening of climbing. Arrived at the summit just after sunrise. Traffic near the stop slows progress to a crawl. Staying awake was the hardest part of the climb! Should have stopped and taken a break. Instead we pushed through to the top and then home by 3pm the next day.
Needed crampons above 3200 m, 7th station hut was open because they were doing construction, took the route from Kawaguchi-ko
1 day round trip from Tokyo, bus at 7h10 from Shinjuku, arrival at Gogume (fifth stqtion) at 10h30mn. In spite of my efforts, the last bus at 2:30 pm was too early for me (4h30mn round trip ascent, 2h30 mn for the going-up), but hitch-hiking allowed me to avoid to walk down to Kawaguchi-ko bus station.
Sunny but pretty cold because of the strong winds at the top. As a matter of fact, snow was icy beginning at 3200 m and I had to put my crampons.
No more than 2 or 3 climbers met
What a great experience. Made it to the summit in time for sunrise
Did a 6 month tour in Japan, and did the climb on a saturday morning. Great views when finally above the clouds.
Had only one day to spend on hiking Fuji, and reached the summit within 12 hours of landing in Tokyo. I took regular trains and started hiking from Lake Kawaguchiko, which is at ~800m. (The fifth station, from where 97% start is at 2300m - halfway up the 3800m mountain.) The lower part is quite nice through slightly mysty forrest, had noodles in a small joint at the 1st station. Hiking/running from the lake took about 6 hours (the last 1h20 with cramps in both quads), summiting at sunset. Sleeping outside was very cold, but the sun-rise well worth waiting for. Going down, at 5th station, a taxi arrived with two hikers, wanted some silly 10kyen for taking me back to the train station, but then realised he had to drive down anyway, and took me down for 540yen.
Philip Michael DeSemlyen and I detrained in Gotemba on our way from Kyoto to Tokyo, the last leg of our journey across Asia from Istanbul. I recall that we took a bus from the railway station to a point well up on the mountain and proceeded to climb all night to reach the crater at dawn where we observed the sunrise along with a horde of white-clad Japanese. Through the morning we circumvented the crater, pausing only to investigate a number of souvenir stands and tea houses. We then descended in long sandy strides back down to the road and Gotemba and caught a train to Tokyo where I remained for two years, teaching English to make a comfortable living while eating sushi, drinking beer and playing pachinko. All these activities were inexpensive back then for the almighty gaijin in the two decades before the 1970s when the dollar dropped and life for the gaijin in Japan became prohibitively expensive.
Excellent climb. Started out from 5th Station at 11:30am, in mild conditions. However, temperature dropped about 30 degrees F between 8th Station and summit - went from synthetic Tshirt to sweatshirt and jacket in the last hour and was still cold at the top! Unfortunately, summit was very cloudy (2:30pm) - couldn't even see into the crater... but, had good views during the ascent and descent. Path down allows for very rapid descent and easy on the knees - but requires you stop and empty your shoes 3-4 times. Roundtrip took just under 5 hours - in time to wash up and catch the 5pm bus out.
Was expecting hundreds of people, but I'd estimate a max of 50 climbers on the mountain that afternoon - most on the lower half.
Unfortunately had to turn back at around hachi-ten-go-gome ("8.5 station") to make sure to catch the last bus back, as no mountain huts are open this time of year and we didn't have bivy gear.
Fuji-san is definitely possible in winter and spring, but you do need crampons and an ice ax. Not too steep, no need for belays -- I'd rate it F+ on the French grading system.
Interesting experience, unfortunately did not reach the summit. Took the last train from Tokyo to arrive late Friday night. Hiked straight from the train station, through town, and after a long time reached a parking lot at ichi-gome ("first station" - you usually *start* at the go-gome ("fifth station")!!). Kept going, and finally laid down the sleeping back in an old deserted shrine building at I think around san-gome ( "third station").
Early morning but not early enough -- reached up to hachi-ten-go-gome ("8.5 station") and had to turn back because otherwise would have meant missing the last bus back to Tokyo. Unfortunately, as weather was great and I was feeling perfectly fine.
For anyone wanting to do this route, it's 2700 vertical meters (8500ft) gain from town to 8.5 gome, a little more to the summit!
Completely different experience than the summer and thank god for that. No huts open. Only a couple dozen on the route. Really peaceful. Lots of little toris (Shinto wooden gates) and shrines along the way. Quite cold, but really not a problem. Don't listen to anybody that tells you "the mountain is closed" -- you can climb Fuji all year round. Just mind the bus schedules.
Cool experience! Gotta do it! Take a jacket.