Always having wanted to climb a mountain and with tickets booked to Japan I thought screw it, I’ll climb Mt Fuji!
As a solo traveller I booked a small group tour with Geckos Adventures and set off.
The regular climbing season for Mt Fuji is from June to late August each year. You can climb outside of the official season, however, mountain huts will not be open and it becomes dangerous with snow fall.
If, like me you get your first glimpse of Fuji San from the bullet train you might think oh, it looks so squat, this will be a breeze you’ll soon learn how very wrong you were!
We set off from 5th station at around midday opting to climb the steepest and longest trail being Gotenba. I would strongly recommend picking one of the less crowded trails such as Gotenba.
Heading out from the 5th station there’s some greenery and the terrain isn’t too difficult. But, Fuji is extremely steep the entire way up.
You’ll definitely want to bring some hiking boots with ankle support, a wind proof jacket, long pants, gloves, beanie and head torch for the early morning climb to see the sunrise.
At some point the ground becomes harder and the plants start to thin out. Eventually it’s just you, the clouds and Fuji.
It’s really important to maintain a good frame of mind and stay focused on the climb up. Bring plenty of small change to use the toilets at the mountain huts you pass. Also be sure to book your night at a hut well in advance, you’ll never be alone in climbing Fuji.
We stayed at the 8th station which meant a reasonably short 3 hour climb up to the top the next morning to watch sunrise. Mountain hut facilities are basic bunk style beds, but you will have the option of a hot curry for dinner. It will be the best tasting curry you’ve ever eaten after a solid day’s climbing!
Very early the next morning, around 1am the mountain hut bells will ring and it’s time to get ready to set off for that elusive sunrise! This is where your head torch and warm clothes will come in handy.
We made it to the summit after 3 hours of climbing. It was about 300 metres from the hut to the summit, but with Fuji being very steep this came as no surprise.
Luckily for us we made it to the summit about 45 minutes before sunrise. The wait up the top for sunrise can be extremely cold, we even saw some snow on our climb up!
The sunrise will be the best you’ve ever seen and a chance to congratulate yourself on a climb well done!
There is a shop up the top selling the world’s most expensive cup noodles – they’re about $10! But, if like my travel buddy you’re struggling with the near 4,000m above ground altitude you’ll need somewhere to sit and adjust.
On that note the best advice we were given pre climb was to take some chocolate as it can help with altitude sickness. You’ll also want to take about 1.5 litres of water for your climb and some extra snacks.
After watching the sunrise find the shrine for your photo at the summit. It’s evidence that you really made it!
Yes, you can expect to have wild hair after battling the wind, rain and conditions on Fuji! Your shower at the bottom will be the best of your life. Haha, but seriously you’ll be coated in red volcano dust!
Before climbing back down you’ll want to explore the cater rim and really soak in that you just spent a day on this great mountain.
Whilst climbing up Fuji is a mental battle coming back down is definitely the physical challenge. You can expect the climb down to take about half the amount of time as your climb up.
We were quite slow climbers, taking about 10 hours climbing time up and about 4-5 hours to come back down.
“A fool never climbs Mt Fuji, a wise man climbs once and only a fool climbs twice”.