Climbing Mt. Fuji (film)

Is easily my greatest (at least physical) accomplishment. It took 7 hours to reach the summit and 5 more to go back down. At 12 straight hours of physical activity, it is also an accomplishment I don’t think I will ever attempt to outdo.

We were pretty underprepared.. bought a head light, hat and gloves just minutes before the climb.

We were pretty underprepared.. bought a head light, hat and gloves just minutes before the climb.

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All the Japanese climbers looked like they had bought outfits, backpacks, and gear just for this...so we felt a little unsure in out jeans and sweatshirts.. haha.

In order to reach the summit by sunrise we started climbing around 9:30pm. We took a bus from Shinjuku at 6pm, where it was hot and humid and all we could think about was how much we would love the cold of the mountain.. ha! So we took a bus to the area, then another bus to “level 5″ of the mountain, which is where we started the climb from. The summit is level 10.

Juliet at level 6!

Juliet at level 6 - getting pretty cold.. this is harder than we thought..

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We got a little worried about L. Ploy for a while there. She got a pretty bad headache from the change in altitude. She had also been out clubbing the two nights before we climbed! Insane right? So she deserves some serious applause for doing this I’d say. Some of the people on the mountain looked really sick. They were using oxygen containers and laying down and throwing up in the bathrooms… glad that didn’t happen to any of us!

It was dark and rocky the whole time so I didn’t take pictures again until we approached the summit. The best part about climbing at night was that we got to see stars! You can never see stars in Tokyo. We all got separated after level 9, which is when the path started getting really congested (seriously, only in Japan).  Around 45 minutes from the summit we were barely moving and I actually started to fall asleep  – which, once I realized I was, freaked me out enough to give me a burst of energy to finish the climb as fast as I could.

All the colors of their fancy clothes did look quite pretty against the brown and blue backdrop

All the colors of their fancy clothes did look quite pretty against the brown and blue backdrop

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I got to the summit alone just before the sun came up so I got to watch it rise. It was so beautiful and overwhelming that I actually got a little teary.

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It was also pretty moving to see all the people admiring the sunrise, clapping, praying, taking pictures. It was a pretty surreal moment.. This sounds cheesy but there seemed to be this immense feeling of peace and togetherness. It only lasted until the sun finished rising though – then it was mayhem and the summit became more crowded than a morning train. -_-

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Shaun, James, L. Ploy, Ben and I

Shaun, James, L. Ploy, Ben and I

There wasn’t much snow on the top but I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that cold. It might just be because we had stopped moving. As soon as the sun rose though I just wanted to get off that mountain! Haha little did I know how the descent would be..

Photos of that tomorrow!

*click images for full view

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16 responses to “Climbing Mt. Fuji (film)

  1. A 9 hour hike? WOW!!! and in the middle of the night too! I’m SUPER impressed! GOOD JOB!

    and I’m really amazed at how many people were up to do the same thing as you guys! It looks so crowded in your pictures!

  2. what an adventure! and so interesting to see the photos from it. great post allison. can imagine how surreal it must have been standing with all these people in in their fancy clothes looking at the sun rising. but it also sound like a beautiful and moving experience!

  3. I’m absurdly jealous of this experience! Thanks for sharing the memories and all the great pictures!

  4. Very cool! Now you’re almost obliged to climb Mt. Hood after you get back :^)

    Nerd note: And you’ll really remember Boyle’s gas law now, you’ve felt it in action! The air up there was under less pressure, air molecules were more widely spaced out and moving slower, and remember that temperature is just a measure of how much atoms or molecules are moving. By PV =nRT, the temperature went down (about 6.5 degrees C for every 1000 meters). Plus as you go higher up in altitude and the O2 and CO2 partial pressure decreases, there can be a lot of physiological changes, especially a shunting of blood to the body core…oxygen rich blood going to keep supplying the more vital functioning organs…so guess why your skin, fingers and feet etc felt colder!

    • Interesting! Actually all of our hands got really swollen too! I noticed that mine were huge first so everyone one else took their gloves off and it was hilarious!

      I don’t know about Mt. Hood…. didn’t you and mom and grandpa do that once? I think I might be done with mountains!

  5. The swollen hands could be peripheral edema, a sign of altitude sickness. And you can lose sodium just from perspiring a lot, which will mean fluid can collect in tissues because of electrolyte imbalance. Or….could also just be from all that exercise, a sign that you drink enough water and have healthy capillaries moving blood around as you exerted yourself.

    Mt. Hood is a nice climb…your G’pa has climbed it a number of times, he was a member of the Mazamas climbing club and led many of us up top. You wouldn’t have to start up Hood quite as many hours early as you did for Fuji…well, depending on where you started off climbing. But there are some *nice* sulfur vents along the route (if you like the smell of rotten eggs). Depending on when you climbed you might even get to slide down on your butt on the snow for a while instead of having to walk all the way down, but there would still be times when your knees would feel it on the way down. Whether or not you climb again, thanks for sharing this adventure with us, those are great shots and it was wonderful to read about it.

  6. So many times I told allison to take picture but she got piss off coz she couldnt control her hands and it was incredibly cold and windy..hahahaha..It was very very tiring

    As an advise: I would say 登らない方がいい!
    better not to climb..hehehe

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