On top of Mt Fuji & K's House Kawaguchiko

Kawaguchiko Travel Blog

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Sunrise at about 4:00am. The sun would not poke its head out until 4:30.

Woke up at 1:00am to continue the last assent to the top.  The 9.5th station hut we slept in the night before was at about 3200 meters, and we needs to go the rest of the way to the top at 3776 meters (12,388 feet).  Following along in the darkness, even with the head lamps you can only see a few steps ahead of yourself.  The person ahead of you and the person behind you pretty much become you entire lifeline to the mountain as you trudge up, one step at a time.  At one point, soaking with sweat, gasping for air, "Archur" passed out a few chocolate covered almonds to each person.  Ill tell ya, two chocolate covered almonds never meant so much or went so far until this morning.

In the cold and wet darkness of the morning, one can simply follow the long trail of lights.

The shadow of Fuji on the lanscape of clouds.
  When you look up for a moment, you can see hundreds of other people walking along with you, like a daisy chain of fireflies leading into the dark.  This particular morning, and during the entire night in fact, chanting and conch shells could be heard from the summit. When we finally arrived at the summit at 4:30am, the sun finally broke the cloud line and revealed a spectacle only ever seen on TV:  an entire landscape of just clouds.  The top also revealed the source of the chanting and honking:  hundreds of monks were already at the top chanting throughout the night, in full travel regalia.  The head monk had a staff with metal rings, clanging as he walked.

By about 3:00am, it became light enough to simply use the ambient light to see, although it was still many shades of grey and quite dark.

The long trail of pilgrims at the summit complex.
  When you can finally see around you, you realize that you are thousands of feet above the cloud level.  The air at the top my friends, is clear and crispy.  There is no need for oxygen tanks.  Although as we made out way by some of the huts above our's, i noticed a lot of people suffering from the altitude.  So a piece of advice here.  A lot of people make the trip in one fell swoop, eleven hours to the top all at once so that they dont have to pay the hut fees for the overnight.  This is mainly the cause of the altitude sickness, and staying the night gives you a much needed rest, as well as time to acclimate.  You will feel much better in the morning with dinner in your tummy and breakfast in your pack for the later at the top.
The torii gate at the summit.
  Having any food in your stomach in the early morning is not recommended.

Another piece of advice.  Bring adaquate SHOES!  I did this entire climb with Teva's on (and socks).  It is freezing above 3200 meters, and there is still snow everywhere in the middle of July.  At the very top, your extremities lose feeling after about 5 minutes of exposure.  On my way down, i finally got feeling back into my finger tips after about 2 hours.  There was in fact so much snow, that the half of the party that walked around the crater to the weather station (the real top of the mountain) had to turn around halfway as the trail to the station was completely snowed in.

Journal Entry:

2007.07.04

[Mt. Fuji, K’s House]

Twethuyvy (taking Fuji From Shingen Shrine)

Michael & Vivki - Mt.

GOAL!!!
Fuji Aussie Couple

One thing i’ve just noticed, when you’ve got it in your head to do something stupid, and you go to do it, you tend to meet other people who also have it in their head to do the same stupid thing.  There’s not so much a comradery that developes, but there’s something there.  You’re all there together doing it.  and looking in each other’s eyes in the darkness is the only thing keeping you going.  [and] then ur done, and all you can do is laugh, cause you have [all] just done a stupid thing, but you have done it together.

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Sunrise at about 4:00am.  The sun …
Sunrise at about 4:00am. The sun…
The shadow of Fuji on the lanscape…
The shadow of Fuji on the lanscap…
The long trail of pilgrims at the …
The long trail of pilgrims at the…
The torii gate at the summit.
The torii gate at the summit.
GOAL!!!
GOAL!!!
BiG is relaxing and trying to heal…
BiG is relaxing and trying to hea…
Front of Ks House, the best hoste…
Front of K's House, the best host…
My Fuji from Kawaguchiko...conquer…
My Fuji from Kawaguchiko...conque…
Vicki & Andrew from Australia shar…
Vicki & Andrew from Australia sha…
Kawaguchiko
photo by: Biglush_23