Mt. Fuji in winter is quite a majestic experience, and definitely recommended to be tried once in your life. However, NEVER underestimate a mountain. Not just Mt. Fuji, but any mountain. More so when temperatures go to below freezing. Do not attempt a winter ascent if you don't have >10pt crampons and ice axe.
Budget: JPY6,000 (~USD57)
JPY4,000. Share with the car pool, per head.
JPY2,000. Train cost from home to the meet up place (roundtrip)
Hike Date / Difficulty
Summer Hike : July 2017 (Yoshida Trail), July 2018 (Fujinomiya Trail).
Difficulty is a full 5 out of 5. Snow plus that slope? Axes and crampons are needed, and you definitely need to know how to self arrest before hiking.
When to Go
Summer Hike: Around July to September.
Winter Hike: October to November, then latter March (a bit iffy still) to early May (late May and you might have slushy snow). No buses, just private transportation.
Gear. At least 10pt crampons and ice axe. Practice self-arresting with them. Make sure your gear can withstand less than -10c with strong winds.
For the winter hike, we are doing the shortest route up, which is on the west side: Fujinomiya (google maps pin). There is a parking lot with plenty of spaces. There was a store and restroom, but that was burned down early 2021, and will take years to rebuild.
Some people hike from Yoshida, but that's a significantly longer route.
Mountain huts. The entire mountain was closed
Camping: None officially. The "flat spots" are the areas surrounding the mountain huts that are fully covered in snow, and we had to dig.
Dayhike feasible from the parking lot, so you don't have to lug up your gear to the mountain hut. However, I do believe that staying even a couple hundred meters higher will help with the altitude sickness, so it's worth it.
08:00am-ish. We started driving to Kawaguchiko, on our way to the 5th station at Fujinomiya.
11:00am. Arrived at Fujinomiya. Started putting our layers and gearing up for the hike.
11:10am. Started our hike.
01:10pm. It started snowing, and there was minimal visibility. Lightning has caused our hair to go up and static could be heard in our backpacks, likely due to our foil sleeping pads.
02:40pm. We have arrived at a hut that is covered in snow, and we've designated that as our camping spot. We've started the loooong process of trying to flatten a spot enough for it to serve as our camping spot.
03:20pm. We've finally settled down, and can now wait the snow storm out in the comfort of our tents.
05:00pm. Dinner! Then we were off to rest. However, we kept on getting snow piled up on top of our tent, so we had to go out once or twice in the middle of the night to scoop out the almost foot high snow off the tent.
05:00am. Woke up, got ready for the hike, started eating our breakfast
06:00am. Started our ascent. Within two hours, I definitely started feeling the effects of the altitude.
11:00am. Reached the torii (Japanse arch) that marks the entrance to the top of Mt. Fuji (crater). An option is to go around the crater. I have gone around the crater before and as I'm suffering the effects of altitude sickness, I've decided to take the shortest route possible and turned left to the summit.
11:30am. Summit! We took pictures for about 5 minutes and descended.
05:00pm. Back at the parking lot. Done!
This is within five minutes of our hike. Take note that the entry point was filled with warnings saying it's closed for the season. Just keep going. Because, well, it IS closed for the season hence the winter hike.
For the first part, it was a very gentle slope.
He's taking a break while waiting for his companions as we were taking our time. ;)
And now the steep part started, and well, it never really ended. You can see the little holes that you can use to step on, but sometimes you have to make your own. There are also a lot of people who climb up and ski down.
Soon enough we were in the middle of a snowstorm. Those little black spots in the picture? That's snow.
Here's our camping spot, right next to a fully boarded mountain hut.
My toilet. Which is basically trying to find a spot my companions couldn't see. Haha. Coz there is NO cover anywhere.
Rise and shine! It's a new day!
The two foot-ish pile of snow that accumulated over the night. Had to dig through them to get our stuff.
And the climb for the day starts! As I've said, the ascent doesn't really ever stop.
There are a few sections where you can still see the rope. But more often than not, it's a "make your own trail" kind of process.
The first torii! Are we halfway there yet? Obviously we're not on the official "trail".
On my right I could see some switchbacks, that based on the tracks on the snow, nobody has used.
Finally! The torii to the crater! Almost to the summit!
On the left is the weather station where the summit marker is. But the crater is also filled with snow, and some people actually ski down the crater!
The fun thing with winter hikes? No crowds.
And so we descended, but the descent was way more fun than the ascent. I got to self arrest quite a lot, because I basically slid down my ass half the way down. Yipee!
Post a Comment
Comments are like mail in my postbox. Such a nice surprise. ^__^