Many months ago, when the summer sun was still shining on Australia, I suggested climbing Mt. Fuji, as a jest to a colleague over lunch. When he responded with "let's do it", I couldn't very well back down and so the planning began...
As I told people of my planned adventure, I discovered there were many people who found the idea appealing. It turns out that over 300,000 people climb Mt. Fuji (aka Fuji-san), the tallest mountain in Japan at 3,776 m (12,388 ft). It is the most climbed mountain in the world. Probably because you can take a bus from Tokyo, climb to the top and be back that night to sleep in your pod hotel in Tokyo.
But we didn't want to take the easy way. We wanted a challenge. So after reviewing the crowded options, we settled for the lesser known trail of Gotemba on the other side of the mountain. We will climb the day before, sleep at the 8th station and arise at 2AM to summit and watch the sunrise. Steeper, longer, and with less rest stops, Gotemba trail seemed the perfect way to experience the deep lessons of Fuji-san. It also has the fastest method of descent, the Sand Run.
Lesson #1: A wise man climbs Fuji-san once, only a fool climbs it twice.
So what better way to learn about how to survive the most tourist friendly summit over 10,000 feet? Why to read a book written by a fool. Gary J Wolff, has climbed all of Japan's peaks once, and Mt. Fuji twice. He runs a website with critical information on Mt. Fuji and recently released an eBook which I highly recommend for anyone considering the climb, at $4 it is a steal.
I've done my training - I've acquired the gear - I've read about Altitude Sickness. I'm as ready as I'm ever going to be. I will be joined by 8 adventurous friends who share my desire to see the world from every angle, even when it involves 8 hours of hiking up 2km of elevation.
An Epic beginning to my 2.5 months sabbatical, after 11 years with Experian, thanks to Australian labour laws, this will soon be me: