Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Japan or Bust

Our flight departs tomorrow at 12:30 from Seattle, arriving in Tokyo on the afternoon of the 21st. Our goal is to spend the 22nd preparing and then on the 23rd head to the mountain.

Judging from today's weather forecast, it looks like we will be getting some good weather- but still super cold. The winds are expected to die down, but when that happens the high pressure system that brings that clear weather isn't strong enough to hold in place.. so the clouds come rolling in sooner than expected. According to the below chart, that will be the case soon after we are looking to leave the mountain:

Dates: Weather-wise, 23-24 Feb are target dates.

23 Feb Conditions (summit): 60mph winds, temp: 7, wind chill: -33
24 Feb Conditions (summit): 20mph winds, temp: 0, wind chill: -24

Sunset: 06:22
Sunrise: 17:32

Day 1- Depart Yoshigaduchi Trail 1st Station, move up to 8th Station for overnight at/about 10,000'. Anticipate snowshoes from 5th to 7th Station, although the past week of sun and winds have likely minimized softer snow and may provide us with hard pack leading all the way up to 8th Station. From 7th Station on, crampons/ice axe are likely needed. Team will be roped from 5th Station onward if conditions seem hazardous.

Day 2- Kick off the climb after sunrise at 06:30. Move to summit over the next ~2 hours, descend back to bivouac site, pack up and return to Yoshigaduchi Trailhead. Return back to Tokyo in the afternoon.

Mt Fuji Yoshigaduchi Trail is composed of ten "stations"- essentially climbing stops that during the regular season are a cluster of rest houses, stores for food, and a place to get a staff branded.. a complete tourist trap sort of thing. Unsurprisingly, Fuji is no different from other parts of the world in the concept of the higher you go, the more expensive things get. For example- the climbing brand for your walking stick is about 5 times more expensive at the 9th Station as it is at the 2nd.

Our plan is to start the climb at 1st Station. While not really the normal way of climbing, it's all we really can do this time of year. After November, the road leading up to 5th Station is closed. So, off from 1st Station we head. The climbing trail map identifying the Yoshigaduchi Trail route is attached below.

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