Mount Fuji - Conquering the highest volcanic mountain in Japan
27th August 2016 - Saturday
The Rainy Day
So, what it's like to climb an active volcanic mountain?
Well, to be honest about that, I don’t know. The excitement is more than fear. Even though, I have done my research about Fujisan, the route, weather and others, at the time arriving the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, it was uncertain and totally unexpected. The chance and clarity of sighting cannot be predicted and we can only hope to be really lucky. However, we were not lucky enough to hike Fujisan. We started the journey to this majestic and mysterious (or maybe fascinating is a better word) mountain with cloudy, raining, foggy and cold.
A short history of Mount Fuji – known as Fujisan (san means mountain) is an active volcano mountain located at the border of Shizuoka Prefecture and Tamanashi Prefecture with altitude of 3776m. Fujisan is also a symbol of Japan other than cherry (sakura).
We both reach mountain hut at 8th Station – Gurasanmo hut at 7pm. It was already dark and others already have their dinner. I have to clean up first and to change my wet clothes. There is no shower up there and the water is reused to preserve the nature…OMG! After a quick clean up, I went upstairs to check on the dorm and put my backpack. The dorm was packed as there are many climbers climbing Fujisan this week.
28th August 2016 - Sunday
At 1230am, I woke up and started to pack. We have to bring all our items to the summit as the hiking down route is different. The bag pack of course is heavier than before and weighed me up a bit during the climb to summit and on the way down. And I have the biggest problem while climbing up to the summit as I left my headlamp in the haversack.
After packing, and eat our breakfast provided by the mountain hut, we started our journey with duá, asking for safety along the journey. Duá can be a powerful tool for everything we do.
At 1 am in the morning, the weather was cold, extremely cold after the rain. We were lucky there was no shower rain and it was only drizzle at that time. I still put on my raincoat inside and a jacket outside to protect the cloth from wet. My only hope during the climb was a light from other climbers and my climbing partner. Once a while he will flash the light back to lighten my way up. One of the advantage of hiking in the dark was, you cannot see what’s in front of you and how high is the climbing. You just need to keep moving and climbing until you reach the summit, and I did that with tears and sweats. After 1-hour hike, I looked up the trail and I can see many lights moving to the higher part. It really tortures me to see the lights keep on moving as I know that the climb was not going to end soon, but I know that I cannot return back to the mountain hut as everyone was moving up to one direction to the summit.
Climbing the mountains or any mountain does not require me to be the first to reach the summit. It was not a competition nor a marathon. It is the only activities that I don’t have to compete with others. I only have to compete with myself, testing myself how far I can go and how capable I am in fighting with myself.
The hiking seems a never ending story for me. As I hike slowly and other climbers passed through me, the tiny air seems to be more disturbing than the cold, I took a deep breath in and out. I started to feel sleepy and yawn almost in every step. I know I cannot stop and need to keep on moving. Falling asleep on the trail was dangerous, you either fall asleep for a longtime and never return home or you will end up staying a bit longer in the hospital.
At 345am, when I reached Torii Gate, I thought it was at 9th station and we have another station to reach. I took a deep breath and keep on climbing at the station. There were many climbers and the surrounding was just like a busy shopping mall except it was still dark, windy and extremely cold. Suddenly, someone call my name, “kak bie, TAHNIAH dah sampai puncak” and I was a bit blurred and not to mention, unbelievable. I was already at the Fujisan summit, MasyaAllah, and I did it. Reaching up the highest volcanic mountain in Japan was a dream come true. I keep on praising God for giving me such an opportunity to be able to climb Fujisan.
Once in the extreme cold for about 2 hours at the top, my lips and fingers were started to become numb. I can hardly pronounce certain words to others as well as them and we were laughing at the situation we experienced. At 6am we began to move into the crater of Mount Fuji and continue our journey back hiking down Fujisan. I never thought that I would reach the summit. Climbing up the summit requires more energy than I thought. Surprisingly, hiking down needs more mental strength and strong spirit as the body started to feel exhausted and painful. It is true that, “Every climber, professional or novice to never underestimate the mountain we climb.”
Once I reached the entrance gate, almost everyone has arrived except some of our friends who were injured. We have waited almost nearly an hour for them to reach the 5th station. At nearly 1215pm, everyone has arrived safe and without any major injuries except knee pain and blisters.
Some of the most valuable things I learn while climbing Fujisan. Climbers are passionate about what they are doing and never give up. They will help other climbers who are in trouble along the way up or hiking down regardless any nationalities, the color of the skin, the religion of thoughts and others. Selfishness is never in their diaries of life. That was the spirit of almost every climber have.
How to get there (Fujisan):
From Kuala Lumpur, fly and land to Haneda International Airport or Narita International Airport. Take an expressway bus to Kawaguchiko Station and take a bus to Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station.
Thanks a million to Airasia for providing the affordable return flight tickets, flying us safely to Tokyo and sending us back safely to Malaysia.
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