That’s it! I’m done!
We attempted another summit this past weekend on Mt. Fuji. She’s been angry this year. Like real angry! (All the extra climbers due to its new status as UNESCO World Heritage site??) As most mountains go, the weather is hard to predict and can change quickly. This year has just been particularly bad on Fuji. I swear that most friends have reported windy, wet, and white-out fog for the majority of the summer. It’s not exactly a pleasant hike on the best days; add in less-than-ideal conditions and it can become downright miserable.
This climb was my first attempt at night. I really wanted a gorgeous sunrise from the top of the mountain. After about 4 hours hiking in the dark with headlamps, we reached station 9…in rain, howling winds, and freezing cold. We huddled along a wall that blocked the wind as we discussed our plan. On our current pace, we would reach the top in an hour, or by 3 AM. There was no way, we’d be able to hang out at the top for the 2+ hours until the sun would rise. And that’s IF we could even see anything!
So with that, we parted ways with our friends. They headed to the top because they needed to conquer Fuji. My husband and I headed back down since we’ve been to the summit before. The plan was to meet at our car later in the morning. Heading down earlier would also mean that we could get some sleep in the car before the drive back home.
We hiked back down to a lower spot where we were out of the clouds and wedged ourselves between some rocks to make some tea and instant ramen. Fighting through fatigue and the cold, I sat in awe of our view. At this level, the night sky was clear with twinkling stars. More stars than I’ve seen in years! Down below, the cities were gorgeously lit up and lining the lakes which mirrored back a brilliant crescent moon. The hot, salty ramen and green tea was just the icing to that beautiful view. The tea warmed my frozen, gloved hands. The salty broth of the ramen gave me the energy to continue pushing on.
We continued down and were nearing station 6 when the early dawn light started to peek around the sides of Mt. Fuji. At times, we were still above the lower clouds which captured the light to make an absolutely breath-taking view. The quiet of the mountain as it basked in the early morning light was inspiring. I just wish it had been like this the entire time!
This hike was possibly the hardest attempt up Fuji. It’s usually an early, and long, day but night hike took it to a whole other level. The exhaustion added with my apparent limited depth perception when using a headlamp made for a slow, slow descent. I had hoped this would “check” the box to seeing the sunrise from the top of Mt. Fuji but guess she had other plans. I think in the future, I will just resign myself to hiking another peak to get views OF Fuji and not FROM Fuji.
Final tally: Mt. Fuji – 2 & Courtney – 3. So with that Mt. Fuji, we’re done!