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I'd like to trek to Mount Fuji. Some of my colleagues at work tell me that it takes about 10 hours and there's a pit stop I can stop at and rest before I go up to the peak.

I've heard that it's fairly easy to do and doesn't require any special skills. I have not done something similar before so I want to make sure that I don't get myself into something stupid.

I'm worried about things such as earthquake activity and safety while climbing the mountain in general. Can someone shed some light on how to go about this and what's the easiest way to do this?

What are the recommended resources/tools I will require for such a task?

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the trekking itself isn't hard but I've seen many people coming down without having reached the top because it was "too windy". –  Geeo May 28 at 6:03

5 Answers 5

up vote 18 down vote accepted

I climbed Mount Fuji 5 years ago. I would say:

  1. I don't think Earthquakes are a realistic danger on Mount Fuji (if there is one, probably better to be out in the open than under a roof that can collapse anyway).
  2. As ohers have already mentioned, the climb is not too technical but quite tiring. The last hour is especially terrible, walking on volcanic sand and with low oxygen in the air (that's ~ 3500 m high after all).
  3. There is quite a lot of infrastructure on the way (unfortunately, IMO): in particular, every 1-2 hours on the way up, you will reach some resting huts that can sell you overpriced noodles in-season.
  4. There will indeed be a lot of hikers in-season (July-August). It can be an opportunity for socializing, but if you don't like that, you can mitigate this in two ways. Avoid climbing during a week-end or Japanese holiday. And maybe go just before or just after the "official" season (ie late June or Early september). The "restaurants" on the way might be closed, but I don't believe they close the access to the mountain. And it is still safe to go (the problem is that when ice/snow has built up on the top you cannot go without proper equipment/experience; but the first week of September is no problem). If safety is paramount for you, better to go in season though (more hikers, more safety services on stand-by, ...)
  5. Most people choose to climb at night and I would recommend it as well, if only to avoid the harsh summer sun (there will be NO shadow for most of the climb). You will be able to see the sunrise from the top and the climb is great for stargazing. Bring a torch or two (although you can actually climb by moonlight if there is a full moon). Bring good winter clothes as well: Although you will start the climb in rather warm temperatures, near the top and before the sunrise, temperatures will be negative and the winds will be strong.
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For reference, you can reserve space (a sleeping bag, and enough space to put it) in one of the many mountain lodges (山小屋/yamagoya) if you reserve in advance, and get a couple hours of sleep. If you start from stage 5, you can almost definitely get to 'new' stage 7 at dinner time and then pass out for a few hours before hiking to the summit for sunrise. –  jmac May 29 at 7:46

Wikivoyage will tell you all you need to know: Mount Fuji

The TL;DR version:

  • The mountain is officially open to climbers only from July to early September. Visiting outside the official season is legal but inadvisable unless you know what you're doing, since everything is closed and the weather can be extreme.
  • It's cold up there, temps at the summit can be sub-zero even in midsummer. Dress accordingly, and bring wind & rainproof clothing.
  • The climb requires no technical skills. It is, however, a long, tedious slog, and your legs will kill you if you're out of shape.
  • Most people start at the Kawaguchiko 5th station (bus terminal). There are rest areas ("stations") every couple of km, with hot food and places to sleep, naturally at a steep price. The top is the 10th station, complete with restaurants, post office, vending machines and thousands of other climbers -- glorious wilderness it is not. The other routes are less popular and have less facilities.

Good luck! As the Japanese say, a wise man climbs Fuji once, but only a fool twice.

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The same saying of "a wise man climbs Fuji once, but only a fool twice." is also said for Adam's Peak –  Ranhiru Cooray May 28 at 6:54
    
This answer is wrong on almost every point. It is technically open year round (not just the two-month season). It does not reallyy go below 0 during the climbing season (but be prepared for wind). There are two (not one) main climibing routes. The vast majority of people split the start half and half between the Fujiyoshida start and Fujinomiya. The climb is LONG and Tedious (you did get that right) In short, Use Fabien C.'s answer. –  paullb May 29 at 2:21
    
Please check your own facts before you start accusing people. The mountain is officially open only July-August and should not be attempted outside the season unless you know what you're doing. The record low at the summit of Fuji in July is -6.9C, with average nighttime lows of 2.4C. There are actually four main routes, but 58% of climbers in 2013 picked the Kawaguchiko/Fujiyoshida route. See garyjwolff.com/climbing-mt-fuji.html for references. –  jpatokal May 29 at 2:33
    
@jpatokal Thanks for all that information man! I did not know that stuff. I wish I could accept two answers. :P –  Aditya Somani May 29 at 2:42

In addition to jpatokal's answer you have to understand that getting up to Mount Fuji is not really to be considered to be "climbing" or even "trekking" in the real sense of the word. Climbing up there is done by some many people of all ages and there is so much support offered along the way that it's not a challenge in any way.

The issue is that the mountain is so overrun at peak times that it feels more like standing in line for a popular sushi restaurant on a steep slope.

If you are up to something more challenging at the mountain, I recommend this one.

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3  
I'm slightly out of shape for a 168km run bro. –  Aditya Somani May 28 at 2:27
    
@AdityaSomani oh come on, just a few steps before breakfast :) –  uncovery May 28 at 4:05

All you need are:

  • A flashlight
  • Some warm clothing
  • Some snacks (there are lots of little shops along the way up, but they all sell stuff at quite exorbitant prices)
  • Perhaps a sleeping bag if you don't think you can do it all in one go and think you'll need at least a nap.

It is not technically challenging at all and isn't really mountain 'climbing'; you basically just walk up all the way. It is possibly the easiest 3000m+ mountain to 'climb' in the world.

Most people start from the so-called level 5. The one time I climbed it (July 2007, took me late afternoon to dawn) was from the very bottom --- before reaching level 5, I saw exactly zero other people. But even after, it wasn't crowded at all.

I believe what the Japanese say is that Mount Fuji is good to look at from afar, but not so pretty or worthwhile climbing. I tend to agree. After level 5 especially it's just a bunch of somewhat yucky and unattractive volcanic ash that you'll be trekking through. And when you finally reach the top, there's a good chance everything will be obscured by a thick fog. (When I reached the top, visibility was maybe 1 metre.)

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For reference, you can reserve space (a sleeping bag, and enough space to put it) in one of the many mountain lodges (山小屋/yamagoya) if you reserve in advance, and get a couple hours of sleep. If you start from stage 5, you can almost definitely get to 'new' stage 7 at dinner time and then pass out for a few hours before hiking to the summit for sunrise. (No need to bring a sleeping bag if you do this) –  jmac May 29 at 7:47

Two things that were not mentioned, and I think would be worth considering:

  1. If you don't hike regularly at high altitudes, you may experience severe difficulty at the last stretch (I know I did). Either start early in the day to make sure you have an extra couple of hours to stop and rest, or alternatively, sleep in one of the shelters along the way.

  2. The way down is a bit steep, and quite long, especially if you had altitude trouble on the way up - your knees may not be as sturdy as you're used to them being. Make sure you bring at least one trekking pole, or at the very least a sturdy branch.

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