Author Topic: 2014 Fuji Climb  (Read 736 times)

Offline mike

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2014 Fuji Climb
« on: September 04, 2014, 09:27:38 PM »
It's been brought to my attention that people would still like event posts on the forum. For that reason I'm copying the event info for the 2014 YETI Fuji Climb here. Feel free to comment and RSVP here, however most of the discussion is going on over at the YETI - Yamanashi English Teachers International group page on Facebook. If you're on Facebook but not a member of our group, join now! If you're awaiting verification please contact a council member or Fred and we can get you approved.  Without further ado, here's the event details:

Two types of people come to Yamanashi: Those that think "I'm climbing Mt. Fuji," and those that think "No way José, it's just meant for looking at."

For the first group, get excited because we're holding our annual YETI Fuji Climb! (For the second group, they're more than welcome to organize an anti-climbing party!)

YETI Fuji Climb 2014

Date: Saturday, September 6th
Location: Yamanashi's Fuji 5th Station
Time: Meeting around 7:30pm, hiking from 8pm
Price: Free! (However a 1000 yen donation is now encouraged at the trailhead to help preserve Mt. Fuji)
Access: You can drive to the 5th station via the Fuji Subaru Line (2000yen toll), or you can take a bus from FujiSan station on the fujikyuu line. If you plan on driving and can fit others, please post here in order to arrange carpools.
What to bring: A light source, a hiking stick, winter clothing and jackets, gloves, 100 yen coins for toilets, a backpack, food and drink, etc.

If you have any questions, please ask here, on the event page, or on the YETI Facebook group and we will try to answer them. Many people in the community have experience climbing Mt. Fuji and should be able to help you.

Look below for the answers to many frequently asked questions.

Offline mike

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Re: 2014 Fuji Climb
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2014, 09:28:11 PM »
Here's a quick Fuji FAQ! It should answer most of your questions.
Q: How is the climb organized?
A: The climb is only loosely organized. YETI helps to arrange the times and to share information, but that's about. Generally everyone will start out at the same time, and the group will splinter into smaller groups of people with similar paces. While you should try to stick with at least one fellow climber, you are otherwise free to do the hike as you please.
Q: Is climbing Fuji difficult?
A: That depends. Fuji is not a technical climb, and people with some mountain climbing experience probably won't find it very difficult. However, your fitness and health will play into this. If you have some health issues (anemia, asthma, dehydration, bad knees, etc.) then this will add to the difficulty of the climb.
Likewise, if you rarely exercise then your body will be more taxed. Conversely, if you are are in fairly good shape then you should have an easier time climbing. Multiple ALTs that play pickup basketball (and have no significant health issues) but otherwise don't work out have reported having very little difficulty climbing the mountain, for example.
In short, this will depend on you more than anything else, and you know your body best. More than anything the challenge to climbing Fuji is a mind game.
Q: Why are you climbing at night?
A: Night climbing is extremely popular in order to see the rising sun from the summit, which is seen as a symbol of Japan among many other things. Climbing at night does not significantly increase the difficulty, and in fact it helps to keep climbers cool.
Q: Why are you starting at 8pm?
A: This is our traditional starting time and we have found that a start between 8 and 9pm accommodates most people's paces. It is important to reach the summit well before sunrise as a gridlock between the 9th station and the summit occurs between one and two hours before sunrise. Arriving early also allows you time to rest before climbing down, and leaving shortly after sunrise is the best way to beat slow-moving crowds on the path down.
Q: When should we meet?
A: That’s up to you. Just make sure you arrive before 8pm and try to give yourself time for a gear check. The event will be listed as starting at 7:30pm just to be safe. If you forget anything, there’s shops at the 5th Station.
Q: What’s the 5th Station like?
A: It’s like a small city. There’s several food shops, omiyage stores, parking and restrooms, a small outfitter, ice cream, etc.
Q: What if we get a late start?
A: As long as you keep an eye on the time and your pace, you should be fine. 8pm should be good even for slower climbers, but quicker climbers will find a 9pm start or even later shouldn’t be a problem.
Q: Why September 6th? Isn’t that out of season?
A: There are various ways to measure the season. It is after the main tourist frenzy, but all of the facilities are still open and the trail is still very, very busy. This date avoids Welcome Party, most school festivals, the start of harsh weather, and the peak season. This means that most people should have the weekend free, and that you can drive your own car up (which is not allowed in peak season).
Q: Isn't bullet climbing (climbing without sleeping in a cabin) bad?
A: Bullet climbing has been under fire from Japanese media over the past few years. With that said, it is a tried-and-true method by YETI and thousands of other climbers and tour groups. We'll leave the discussion as to why bullet climbing is so frowned upon by some individuals for another time.
If you would prefer to make your own arrangements and schedule for the climb, you are more than welcome to do so! We would love to see you at the top and share the sunrise together regardless.
Q: What about altitude sickness?
A: Altitude sickness is not a simple topic, but generally speaking one is not able to adjust to high altitudes over mere hours. In this sense, it is perhaps best to get in and get out of the risky altitudes as soon as possible.
Furthermore Mt. Fuji is not considerably tall, and it shouldn't present a significant risk of altitude sickness to a healthy individual. Many times people will mistake symptoms of dehydration and fatigue as altitude sickness when it is not. Again, however, your health and fitness play a contributing factor into this. It is certainly possible to start exhibiting symptoms of altitude sickness on Fuji, and we encourage everyone to remain constantly aware of their condition - as one should always do while hiking and climbing.
If you are concerned that you are developing acute altitude sickness (as indicated by headache, nausea, and especially confusion) let your climbing partners know and take a break together. After rest and rehydration, if you or your partners are still concerned you should consider turning around and going down the mountain WITH A PARTNER, or consulting personnel at one of the various stations.
Every year we discuss the issue of altitude sickness as it is very important to understand for any mountain climber. However, in YETI's climbing history it has been quite rare for anyone to actually exhibit symptoms of acute altitude sickness. Keep it in mind but don't let it worry you, and if you are especially concerned you might consider picking up a can of oxygen at Sports Depot or in various stores in Fujiyoshida. Just be sure to take the canisters down the mountain with you and dispose of them properly.
Q: What is the climb like?
A: It starts off around the tree line and has a number of switchbacks with some steps. The terrain above the fifth station is almost entirely rock, except at the very start. From there the path becomes a bit more direct, and at a few places you will probably be using your hands to keep your balance on irregular surfaces. The sides of the path are clearly marked whenever it is possibly in question, and you are not allowed to venture off the path. There are several stations and substations along the way where you can sit down and rest on decks, pay to use toilets, or buy food and drink. While resting and nearing the top it can get rather cold all year-round.
The hike is long and often steep. It is simple and straight-forward, but exhausting.
Q: What do I need to bring?
A: You absolutely need very warm clothing, and you need to wear layers. You will want to start with rather light clothing as you will be working up a sweat and quite warm, but near the top it gets freezing cold. Literally. There’s still snow up there in July, and I’ve had snowflakes falling on me in early September. You will also probably want some light gloves to help you as you use your hands to keep balance (and perhaps even crawl a bit) on the harsh rock, and if you have room a heavier set for the summit is also a good idea.
You’ll need water, at least 2L and it’s wise to have extra. Your body will dehydrate extra quickly due to the exertion and the dry air in higher altitudes. Drink a little now and then even if you aren’t especially thirsty, as this will help prevent issues like headaches.
You need a light source. Headlamps are best and can be picked up at Elk in Kofu or ICI Mountain Sports out east on Rt. 20 (or in Harajuku), and cheaper varieties can be found at Sports Depot. While light sources can be shared, it is inconvenient and at times dangerous so it is best to have your own (and extra batteries just in case).
You’ll probably want a hiking pole. You can get them at the same places as headlamps. I have known many people insist they don’t need one, only to be grateful after I demand they carry one and they find they need it. If your knees are at all in bad condition, a pole is a life saver. They are especially useful on the way down.
You’ll also need food. You can buy snacks at the stations but they’re limited and expensive. You’ll want at least one meal and several snacks. Imagine how much food you eat in 10 hours or so, and then imagine how much more you’d eat if you were constantly hiking on a slope for those 10 hours.
This should go without saying, but you need good shoes for hiking and good socks too. Remember that the top is very cold and windy, and you’ll probably be covered in sweat, so think about things like warm shoes and extra socks.
Sunscreen is also a fantastic idea. You’ll get a lot of exposure on the way down.
The main post mentioned this, but you need money for the toilets. Bring 100 yen coins.
I always carry a few emergency supplies when I hike, like painkillers and first aid or climbing tape. This is optional and you’ll almost never be alone, but at least a few people should bring a few basics.
And finally a pro-tip: Emergency blankets (aka space blankets) are a godsend while waiting at the summit. They’re cheap and oh-so-warm. Pay the extra 100 yen and get the double size.
Q: What if I want to climb from the bottom?
A: Go for it. Make a post and try to find partners (as always, you shouldn’t hike alone). A number of people have done this. It roughly doubles the duration of the hike. The first half (Sengen Shrine to 5th Station) is mostly forest and the stations are more like ruins and have no personnel.
Q: What if I want to climb from the very bottom?
A: How low can you go? If you want to go from ocean level, check out the annual (non-YETI) Sea to Summit event.
Q: I heard something about a summit beer?
A: It’s a tradition for the true warriors among us. Just be careful and remember you still have to get down.
Q: How long does it take?
A: That depends entirely on your pace. Some people can run the entire trail, others will have to stop frequently. 5-7 hours up is common, and significantly less going down. My last trip was 5 flat going up, and about 2 or 2.5 going down - but that is not representative of the average. Give yourself time and enjoy it.
Q: Is there anything else I should know?
A: You get cell phone reception most of the way up, but when it cuts out you should turn your phone off to save battery. Otherwise, it might quickly run out while searching for a signal. It’s wise to have at least one wristwatch per group for when the phones go off.
For drivers, be careful not to overuse your brakes on the way down. You can actually downshift in your car to provide a little resistance to keep your speed in check. Break fading - when your breaks overheat and slowly stop working - is a concern on any mountainous road. If you feel it getting harder to break, just pull over for a minute to catch some fresh air and let your breaks cool off. This has only rarely been an issue, however.

Offline mike

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Re: 2014 Fuji Climb
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2014, 03:18:07 PM »
We apologize, but unfortunately the weather didn't turn out well again this year. We have already discussed changes that we hope to make next year so as to avoid this in the future.