Monday, February 22, 2010

Eric Paul Shaffer on Climbing Fuji

My blog followers know you and your wife Veronica climbed Mt. Fuji with me. How does that compare to other mountains you've climbed?

Mt. Fuji, for which I maintain a great affection, is a fairly simple “walk-up.” The way to the peak is fundamentally an inclined path. Some of the climbers on the trail with us were sprightly folks of over sixty or seventy, and they were doing fine. My experience on Mt. Fuji was mainly one of irony. We left in the dark to climb through the night in order to arrive on the peak for the sunrise. We arrived on the peak at the proper time, but the peak was completely socked in. I literally could not see my hand at the end of my outstretched arm when I first made the top. The clouds cleared enough for me to see about thirty feet from where I stood, but I was never given a glimpse of the view in any direction, and we headed back down before there was any clearing. By the time we reached the bottom again, though, we could see the peak free of clouds. It seems ironic indeed that the highest point in Japan allowed me no view at all. Most of what I saw in Japan was at sea level, which carries its own irony.

Yeah, I wish we had not been so keen on following Japanese tradition and had simply hiked during the day. I remember seeing a few shooting stars on the way up, but it was sleet at the top--on a scorching hot day in July. Have you ever hiked another mountain between 11:00 pm to 5:00 am?

Not once.

And do you remember why we brought Grateful Dead tee shirts along with us?

Maybe, "what a long, strange trip it's been"?

Next up: Burn & Learn with American Fuji

No comments: