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Author Topic: April 18th, 2010, Mt. Fuji Japan Attempt  (Read 2192 times)
Erik Henne
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April 18th, 2010, Mt. Fuji Japan Attempt
« on: 05/08/10, 10:00 PM »

Having seen so many pictures of Mt. Fuji in my life, I always thought that it looked like a great ski. My wife and I have been thinking about a Japan trip for a long time and this spring it finally came together. The highlight of the trip was to be a ski climb of Mt. Fuji. Short story:† the weather never cooperated and we never even had an opportunity access the mountain to attempt the ski. However, I put a bunch of research into the trip, so I figured it would still be worth sharing. Here are the pictures I took of the mountain: http://picasaweb.google.com/erikhenne/MtFujiJapan2010?feat=directlink

While planning the trip my first thought was to hire a guide, that way I wouldnít have to do any research and it would be more vacation like. I did a lot of searching and emailing and found only two companies willing to do it, Adventure Guides (www.adventure-guides.co.jp) and Hakuba Alpine Guides (www.hakuba-alpine-guides.com). Only Advenuture Guides actually had experience skiing Mt. Fuji.

They quoted around $800, which was much too steep for our budget. So I researched it further and decided we could do it on our own. I have experience skiing most of the volcanoes in Washington and this seemed similar.

Two typical routes to ski the mountain it seems are either from the south or from the north. The south route gets more snow as that is where the weather comes from, but it is more difficult to access. There is no year-round hut and the road is seasonal and it didnít seem like it typically opened in mid-April when we were planning on going. Therefore, our only dependable option was the north route. This route is also the most popular hiking route as it is the closest to Tokyo. I found a number of different names for the route: Kawaguchiko route, Yoshidaguchi route, Fujiyoshida route.

The base town to access this route is Kawaguchiko. The town is accessible by bus from Tokyo. However, we drove there from Hakuba and then took an overnight train to Kyoto on the way out.

The starting point of the climb is the Kawaguchiko 5th station. The 5th station is sort of equivalent to Paradise on Mt. Rainier. There is a bus from the town of Kawaguchiko up to the 5th station. There is also a bus direct from Tokyo.
 
There is one all season hut near the 5th station. It is called the Sato Goya hut. The coordinates are 35.389204, 138.747268. The telephone number is 22-1945.

The information booth at the train station in Kawaguchiko is extremely helpful. They kept us informed of the road condition. (It was fully closed most of the time due to unseasonable snow fall). They helped us coordinate the bus. They called the hut for us.

We waited for two days for the road to the 5th station to open. Eventually, the road opened, but only to the 4th station. We planned on hiking from there to the hut, but when we called they said the hut was closed since the road access was closed. That dashed our plans of a summit attempt without an overnight stay. So we decided to give it our best day trip effort from the 4th station.

We showed up to find the 4th station is deep in the forest. There is no hiking trail through that 4th station.† There was very thin snow cover at the station. We thought about scrambling through the forest, but we had no idea how far the snow field was, there were many downed logs, and we had only 4 hours before the last bus. So we abandoned hopes of skiing, stashed our skis in the woods, and hiked up the closed road as far as we could in the limited time we had.

I spent a lot of time looking for good weather forecasts for Mt. Fuji. In English at least, there isnít any good custom weather forecast written by an actual human. The best automated forecasts I could find were the following:

-   My favorite was Snow Forecast: http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Mount-Fuji/6day/mid
-   A lot of websites recommended Wunderground: http://english.wunderground.com/global/stations/47639.html
-   An excellent collection of webcams: http://www.fujigoko.tv/english/

I canít say this definitively, but a map doesnít seem terribly useful. The mountain is so cone shaped there is not much terrain features to work with. A GPS would be very helpful in a white out. I found a GPS route, which I downloaded. I can send it to you on request. I found some maps online, the best are:

-   http://www.city.fujiyoshida.yamanashi.jp/div/english/html/climbing_map.html
-   http://www.climber.org/TripReports/images/0400/447-FujiTrails.gif
-   http://www.mfi.or.jp/montelac/fuji_climb/climbing_fuji.html
-   http://www.climber.org/TripReports/images/0400/447-FujiSummit.gif
-   http://www.climber.org/TripReports/images/0400/447-FujiTrails.gif

There are no avalanche forecasts for Japan, let alone for Mt. Fuji.

Some good websites with general climbing information include:

-   http://mountfujiguide.com/wiki/Mount_Fuji
-   http://poisson.ms.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~takenawa/fuji-e.html
-   http://www.geocities.co.jp/Outdoors-River/3531/hobby.html
-   http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/150415/fuji-san.html

A few useful trip reports (found by Scotsman):

-   http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=122719&highlight=Fuji
-   http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=121133&highlight=Fuji
-   http://monkey-sock.livejournal.com/6055.html

I think that is all I have. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions if you are planning your own trip. Maybe I can help.†
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Zap
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Posts: 2428


Re: April 18th, 2010, Mt. Fuji Japan Attempt
« Reply #1 on: 05/08/10, 11:04 PM »

Wonderful collection of data.† About 13 years ago just after a Japanese company purchased my partners and my systems integration firm, I went to Japan on a "business trip".† I also brought my backcountry gear to ski Mt. Fuji.† I was unable to put it together,† It's enjoyable to see the various amounts of data now. Thanks for posting the information.
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