Climbing season for Mt. Fuji is open from mid-July to early September, which is when the stations and huts along the various routes are open. The exact days these huts are open depends on the trail. There are 5 routes to the summit.
I ascended and descended the Fujinomiya route because the accommodations in the surrounding area had availability for the dates I planned to climb. The Fujinomiya route is described as the shortest and the steepest route. This is one of the routes where you ascend and descend on the same trail. Where as the Yoshida route has an ascending trail and descending trail. Presumably this is done to handle the number of people on this route because it’s probably the most popular route due to its proximity to Tokyo.
I originally planned 4-nights around the Fujinomiya area and could have spent a night on the mountain, I decided to hike up and down in down in one-day by getting an early start. My rationale is to pick the day with the nicest weather and enjoy it in day.
I reached the peak on a Saturday in the second to the last week of July. The weather was clear and no rain was in the forecast. Despite this, I still heeded the warning that the weather can change for the worse quickly. I packed my usually rain gear.
Normally, this rain gear doesn’t add substantial volume or weight, but I only had my 30 liter daypack so it didn’t leave much room for the other stuff.
The specific gear I brought or wore were the following:
Boots –Asolo TPS 520 boots, which are the same pair I used on my Kilimanjaro and Everest Base Camp Trek. Definitely use a pair of boots that provides ankle support. There’s a few times on the decent that I’m glad I did because I felt my ankles roll on the way down.
Gaitors – I used my Black Diamond Gaitors from the Kilimanjaro and EBC trek. I recommend gaitors because it keeps the tiny little pebbles out of your shoes. The trail wasn’t muddy when I climbed, though I can imagine the trail getting muddy after some rain.
Polyester Mid-layer – I brought the Arc teryx Delta LT full zip jacket again from the Kili and EBC trek. In the lower elevations, this is what I wore in the mornings when the temperature was cooler.
REI Safari Convertible Pants – I kept these in pants mode versus shorts during the entire trek.
T-shirt – Any non-cotton t-shirt will suffice. I wore a Nike Dry-Fit T-shirt.
Hats and gloves – I packed them a pair of running gloves by Seirus gloves and a winter hat, but didn’t use them.
Headlamp – I brought one, but didn’t need it
Water – I brought a total of 4-liters of water separated into 2-liter bottles.
Trekking Poles – I brought a single pole from a pair of poles I had. I found the poles especially useful coming down.
Rain Jacket –Arc Teryx Theta AR Jacket. This is an extremely high quality jacket that I brought on my Kili and EBC trek. I didn’t end up using and stayed in my backpack.
Rain Pants – Arc Teryx Beta AR Pants. Same pants as the Kili and EBC. These pants didn’t the light of day from my day pack.
Rain cover for my backpack – I didn’t end up using it.
Food – Since this wasn’t a guided hike, the night before I went shopping at a local grocery store and bought a smoked salmon sandwich, onigiri, chips, and cookies.
Money – Particularly 100 JPY coins because all the toilets are pay toilets.
Medicine – I took one 125mg of Acetazolamide at start of the hike and one 4 hours later knowing that I’ll be feeling a little light headed at 12,000 feet.
Camera – I packed my Canon S95 and my Canon HF R500 Digital Videa Camera
The Mt. Fuji climb isn’t difficult for a person in reasonably fit condition. The bus on the Fujinomiya route brought me to the 5th station, which is practically half way up. At that elevation the weather was pretty comfortably when I started the accent in the morning.
The summit wasn’t terribly cold. I thought it was more comfortable than anything else especially after laboring up the mountain. One of the Mt Fuji Staff at the start of the trail said the grade could get to 30 degrees on this particular route.
Once I reached the top of the Fujinomiya trail, I got my first peak inside the volcanic crater of Mt Fuji. Off to the left about 20 minutes away is the highest point on Mt. Fuji. I made my way over there and had a local snap a pic of me at the point. From there, that’s when you can actually see to the bottom of the crater. The sheer size of the volcanic crater is impressive.