Fuji-1 Brendan & Ross-0

So yeah, we climbed Fuji. It was easy, NOT!

Me and Ross set out in the wee hours of morning to catch 2 buses and a train, with a song in our hearts and a two and a half week hangover. We arrived in the afternoon at the carpark on Fuji. The weather looked good, as can be seen in early photos. As we went to leave it looked as if it could rain, but we were well prepared. We had a raincoat, and I’d brought a change of clothes. We grabbed our Fuji sticks and began to climb. It was right about now a Typhoon hit Fuji.

20 minutes in I thought I would die. I was seriously contemplating packing it in and going home, before we even made the first base. It was steep, my bag was heavy, the mud was slippery, the wind was cold and the mist made it impossible to see much more than five metres ahead. We walked up about a thousand zig zags on the path. Fuji was hell. All of a sudden we saw something through the mist. The 1st (of 5) bases. All of a sudden we were reborn, and quickly made it to first base. Here we stopped to film the first of our video diaries, and the camera flatlined, the first of many casualties on Mt Fuji. By this stage it was damn wet, so we bought wet weather gear from a small cabin. I went to change in to my long pants, they were soaked. Oh well I’m sure loads of people climb Fuji in a typhoon in shorts. We continued on.

On the way to second base the wind picked up, a lot. It was difficult to see, it was freezing, sometimes hailing and wet as hell. The crotches on our wet weather gear were torn from climbing and we were not comfortable. It was no longer a hike but hard climbing, with handholds in the rock and a chain to guide us. We had gone a little mad from the altitude and were spouting nonsense. The “no straight climbing” continued to bring a laugh the 30th time we saw them. Eventually we made camp 2.

Our original plan was to make the 3rd base before stopping overnight, but we were starting to think this might not happen. However in my madness I suggested we just barge it and keep going. Ross also suffering from “the crazy” eventually agreed and we kept going. By this stage I was freezing, I had no gloves so I used my wristbands as a makeshift pair. However suddenly we had arrived at base 3 (3100 metres). We still don’t know how we made it so fast, maybe our time perception was out of wack. We stopped at a cabin for the night. There were few other people there, most had turned back. We were the only gaijin stupid enough to be there. We had the greatest meal of our lives (curry rice, but anything would have tasted great at that point). Ross hit the hay early (having not been to bed the night before), and I soon followed. However first I had to once again brave the elements to go out to the toilet. I waited for a break in the weather, grabbed the communal umbrella and ran outside. At this point I was wearing an old pair of sandles, shorts and a tshirt, as this was th driest stuff I had. I somehow made the toilet, but then the storm went crazy. I decided to wait for the weather to die down so I could run back. It was so cold I began to shake uncontrollably and my teeth chattered. I knew I couldn’t stay there, I was actually beginning to worry about freezing to death. I burst from the toilet and ran for the cabin. The wind howled, my umbrella tore in half. I arrived at the cabinb wet and freezing. I was so wet a girl gave me one of her jumpers. I went to bed, though it was really just one giant bed with a bunch of sleeping bags. By this point we expected this, we were no longer straight climbers. We settled down for our gay dreams.

We set out in damp clothes at 5am, the weather if anything was worse than before. We started climbing to base 5. I estimate we were half way (about 3400m) to base when we met with a huge group of climbers coming down. They told us we couldn’t keep climbing, the mountain was being evacuated. We followed them downhearted, we hadn’t made it. Looking back now this was good, the only way we were stopping was if this had happened, and if we had continued, there was a chance we might have died. It still sucked though. However as I looked a round I felt proud, these other people were professional climbers, with gear, and spare oxygen cans. We were two bairly sober jokers, in wet clothes and using climbing sticks we bought for $12 at a gift shop. The way down was more hell, more zigzags and more slippery mud. The track was like a waterfall, I cut my hands on the rocks as I slipped in the mud, and Ross jarred his back falling on some wet steps. We eventually arrived at the car park, eager to go home. It was 8am, we checked the bus timetable, the first bus was at 11:30 am. I wanted to die!

 AFTERMATH

We eventually made it home. Our legs ached for days, and my toe got infected. Ross’ MP3 player was no more, my shoes were destroyed. But we climbed Fuji, and thats all that mattered!

CLIMBING TIPS

  • Bring a change of clothes, WRAPPED IN PLASTIC!

  • Check the weather, NEVER CLIMB IN A TYPHOON!

  • Check the essential items list. (There are fifteen items, we had like four between us)

  • Wear appropriate clothing, wet weather gear and climbing shoes. SHORTS ARE NOT SUITABLE CLIMBING GEAR!

  • Don’t climb after a 2 and a half week drinking binge!

  • NEVER, EVER, CLIMB STRAIGHT!

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September 24, 2007. Uncategorized.

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