Japan, Mt. Fuji

From a hiker to a climber: Climbing Mt. Fuji


When Bob decided he wanted to climb Mt. Fuji last year, that meant Bob had decided that we were going to climb Mt. Fuji. Don’t get me wrong, I love hiking but something on that scale was incomprehensible to me. I climb Griffith Park or hills in Malibu- not mountains! What if I couldn’t do it? What if I just wasn’t strong enough physically or mentally?

I didn’t want to be all girly about it, but I was scared.

Bob spent the next month figuring out exactly how we would do it. Researching how to get from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji by bus, where to stay, how to get to the climbing spot, what time the last bus came down the mountain, what type of gear (if any) we would need- there were a lot of little details that went into making this climb possible.

Adding to the pressure of planning the climb, we were going to do it in the off season!

As adventurous as “doing it in the off season” sounds, again, I was scared. We had read reports of people dying and the snow having not melt enough and people going missing. Were we going to end up like those people? I could just see my mom’s face when she read the headlines.

“Two American hikers went missing today when they decided to climb Mt. Fuji in the off-season”  or “Idiot Americans fall to their death while climbing Mt. Fuji in the off season.”

One month later and we are sitting on the bus to Mt. Fuji. (The day before we had a dry run of taking the subway to the bus station and plotted out exactly how to get there the fastest. We only had one full day and night in Mt. Fuji so timing was everything.) Terrified that we were going to miss our stop (which is pretty impossible as it’s at the base of the mountain), we kept asking the bus driver if each one was ours. We weren’t really asking though, we were showing a picture of Mt. Fuji and he just kept shaking his head.

Fast forward two hours and forty five minutes: We are off the bus and standing at the base of Mt. Fuji. We had several water bottles, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bananas and our cameras. We were ready.

At first it seemed so easy- too easy- as we slowly started making our way to the zig zag section of the climb.  Bob was almost skipping- that’s how easy it was. False hope.

Then the zig zag started. You really start to feel it in your calfs and thighs. Each time you plant your foot, a sting shoots through your entire body. We stopped every so often, to rest and take in the view. It was a pretty clear day and you could spot other climbers, the lake and even the farms below.

Then the climbing started. I had never really scaled a mountain before and although I wasn’t harnessed in, I was basically laying on the rocks slowly making my way up. As to not show any fear, again, Bob was bouncing from rock to rock. He kept looking back screaming, “WOO- We’re climbing Mt. Fuji!”

When we finally arrived at the 8th step, where the real ice started and the furthest we could climb and still make the last bus down, I felt a sense of pride that I had never felt before. Maybe it was that my anxiety level had decreased or the high altitude was getting to me, but I felt like I could do anything. I wasn’t scared anymore. I was fearless. 

This post and photo are apart of Budget Traveler Sandbox “Travel Photo Thursday”. Check out the other blogs who participated too!