Mount Fuji - climb Fuji or admire from a distance

What do Mount Fuji and Superman have in common?

Do garbage dumps and 400,000 climbers sound enticing?

Having fist hand experience climbing Mount Fuji, I can say that up close, Mount Fuji resembles the worlds biggest dump truck pile of scoria. We're all familiar with scoria right? That purple or red volcanic rock which looks nice around rose bushes in gardens? Well, that's the same material which dominates the latter part of a hike up Mount Fuji.

Another point of interest you can encounter on a climb, is the high altitude; keep this in mind, pilots flying in non-pressurised planes will wear oxygen masks above 10,000 feet (Mount Fuji's summit is 12,388 feet above sea level). Now, when you're lumbering up a mountain at a similar height, altitude impacts on you as kryptonite does with Superman; No matter how powered up you are, the life is simply sucked out of you. As the expression goes, I was "sober as a judge" when I started my climb, but soon after I felt like I had downed my sixth can of beer. Most people know that it's no fun being drunk on a long flight, but being sober and having the undeserved sense of overindulgence on a mountain is even less fun. If you're one of the unfortunate few who gets a little light in the head when marching up a dormant volcano, the climb becomes more of a quest than a leisurely stroll, with making the summit the sole source of inspiration think I can see the top!...FIGHT!

Arriving at the summit justifies the six hour climb and gazing into the enormous crater will reinforce the sense of accomplishment (sorry no lava or smoke though). Once you have finished gazing at the 800m diameter crater and had your Fuji hiking stick stamped with the you've made it! hankos, its a 3 hour skidding slide to the fifth station where either buses or taxis await you.

There's a Japanese proverb that goes "He who climbs Mount Fuji is a wise man, he who climbs twice is a fool". Hey! wait a second! "HE"?!! Obviously this proverb came about when it was prohibited for women to climb the mountain. However, in 1868 an English woman gave Japanese government officials the finger (not literally but it would've been cool) and climbed Fuji-san making her the first woman to climb Mt Fuji in recorded history. With the sexism out of the way, let's pick at this proverb one more time. I understand that many people wouldn't be inclined to do a second climb after the taxing first hike, but let's consider how a follow up climb could be more rewarding:

You already know you can do it!
You may consider taking a different trail, I for one never saw the Hoei crater up close (a point of interest given that it was this crater that unleashed the 1707 eruption)
You may have over prepared last time and lugged too much it right the next time!
You may have lucked out with the weather the first time (fog!!!)
You may have climbed overnight to see the sunrise, only to do a weary and jaded descent. Try an early climb, enjoy the day and witness a sunset.

So what do you think? Does that sound like a checklist for a mountaineering moron? A day climbing doofus? Maybe one climb is all that some people need, but don't let a proverb knock your self esteem, in fact, I ENCOURAGE A THIRD CLIMB! Now that's new territory for those interested in Haikus! Make up your own like I did:

"He OR SHE who climbs a third time is a well adjusted human being and obviously not wasting their life in front of TV"

OK, so I went off on a micro rant there, but the moral of the story is, if you like your holidays to be about comfort and relaxation, perhaps its best to enjoy a lakeside view of Mount Fuji while having a picnic. Its here that you will get the best view of Fuji, and while you're breathing in plentiful oxygen and consuming a healthy meal, you can spare a thought for those who are panting their way to the summit, sustaining themselves with biscuits and water. If you can't get to Japan, enjoy Mount Fuji in even more comfort; on your couch at maybe only a few feet above sea level. I recommend the following for both sentimental ex-hikers and lovers of natural beauty:

  View Mount Fuji from every angle from the comfort of your home. It doesnt get any easier than this. Climbing Mount Fuji may not necessarily be for you.

One of the extremely few Mount Fuji DVD's available is Spiritual Earth - Mount Fuji. Six years in the making, Spiritual Earth offers many stunning views of Mount Fuji with a soothing soundtrack.

How many ways can you see Mount Fuji? See Fuji-san as you've never seen it before.


One of the web's most illustrious Mount Fuji pages is only a click away