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Is there a reason why the Mt. Fuji indicated climbing times are so long?

by François
(Switzerland)

Hey Gary,

I'm a 31 years old french guy, fond of hiking. I am planning my trip to Japan (next week!!) and I found your blog..wonderful work..so many interesting informations, especially for those who want to reach the summit of mount fuji! and actually i am among them! I read a lot of articles on your blog and on other websites and I still cannot properly judge the difficulty of this hike (i'm sure i want to avoid the Yoshida trail but don't know yet which one i will choose).

So everywhere i find all the basic safety informations for hiking (maybe because there are so any tourists with no idea what kind of effort they will have to produce and what kind of conditions they will meet), but i am a little bit doubtful about -the length i have read like 7-10 hours for the gotemba trail. I don't want to show off but I live in switzerland, i'm used to hiking which actually is one of my main interests when I travel.

I hiked in iceland (arctic conditions), in peru (from 3000 to 4500), in reunion island (volcano conditions), all over the alps..and it never took me so much time to hike a +1000... so this is my question (at least! sorry for being so long) is there a reason why the indicated times are so long? i don't want to beat a record, i just want to be fully prepared and know what i will have to face! thank you again for your wonderful blog!

François

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Jul 07, 2015
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Thank you very much
by: François

Thank you very much Gary for your advices and informations! actually I might hike the Fujinomiya trail as you suggest.

Have a good day!

François

Jul 07, 2015
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I'd consider the 7 hr. estimate for climbing the Gotemba route a fairly accurate average for all hikers.
by: Gary Wolff

Howdy, François. Thanks for your kind words.

If one is an experienced mountain climber like yourself, I believe you can do the Gotemba route in less than 7 hours. But in view of the fact that people of all ages scale Fuji-san, from children to folks in their 80s, and considering that the Gotemba route is the longest (7.8 km), steepest (nearly 30% grade), and starts at the lowest elevation (1440m) resulting in the highest elevation gain (2336m), I'd consider the 7 hr. estimate a fairly accurate average for all hikers.

As one who's scaled Fuji-san twice plus all of Japan's other 28 highest peaks, I'd rate Mt. Fuji above average in difficulty. Also, I'd encourage you to not think of trying to set any speed records. Because of climber safety issues in recent years related to the one day, style of climbing called Dangan-Tozan (弾丸登山) or "bullet climbing," prefectural officials have worked diligently to educate & warn climbers against doing this, especially first-time climbers of Mount Fuji from overseas, the segment of the climbing population where this seems to be the biggest problem.

I'd also encourage you to consider the Fujinomiya route which I did 3 yrs. ago. With a southerly exposure, the gorgeous views I had of the beautiful blue Suruga Bay all the way up & down were truly stunning: Climbing Mt. Fuji's Fujinomiya Trail

Best wishes...

Cheers,
Gary

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