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To Kita-dake and back in under 6 hours: barely possible

by Christos Dimitrakakis

Yesterday I tried to do a one-day hike of Kita-dake. I wasn't very optimistic, but had the bus not been significantly late (and the weather cooler so I could carry less water), it would have been possible.

All in all it took me 1:30 hr. to get to the Shirane-oike-koya (白根御池小屋) mountain hut and another 1:00 hr. to get to the ridge line (where finally the onslaught of insects subsided). At that point it was 14:00, and I had 2:40 hours to catch the last bus.

I had to decide whether to go to the peak at the same pace (risking to miss the bus and staying at the hut near the river), taking it easy and staying at the top (assuming there was space), or just going back.

I took the final option, with a view to returning the next weekend and actually spending a night in one of the huts. The rates looked reasonable enough.

So, all in all: if you are planning to get the 9 am bus from Kofu and do Kita-dake in one day, it is definitely possible, but I wouldn't recommend it, and it requires jogging most of the way downhill. In addition, the crowds make frequent stops inevitable. Unfortunately it's not really possible to get the 7 am bus, and the last bus at 16:40 is too late for a more leisurely pace. Perhaps the southern approach is a bit faster, but I haven't tried it. It would be much more enjoyable to stay overnight at the top and then visit a couple of more peaks along the way back down.

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"Kita-dake (partially)" - Olethros Travels blog
http://olethros-travels.blogspot.jp/2015/07/kita-daki-partially.html

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Jul 27, 2015
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Altitude is the main concern
by: Christos

Yes, that's why I am a bit skeptical. I don't know if my own overnight stay at 3100m the previous week will help at all, these things are a bit random. I have no idea if the rest of the group is ready to make an attempt, but I'll make sure that everybody knows the risks and we're ready to turn back if there are problems.

Jul 27, 2015
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Maybe you should reconsider...
by: Gary Wolff

In all due respect, Christos, I don't believe that's such a good idea.

Because of serious problems in recent years among foreign tourists climbing Fuji-san for the first time, Yamanashi & Shizuoka prefectural officials have gone to great lengths on their websites and with printed flyers to discourage so-called "bullet climbing" ("Dangan-Tozan," 弾丸登山 in Japanese).

More details on the dangers of bullet climbing are here:
http://www.garyjwolff.com/climbing-mt-fuji.html#47

As one who myself contracted a very severe case of altitude sickness 3 yrs. ago on Fuji-san for the first time in a lifetime of climbing, I hope & pray no one in your party contracts the possibly lethal condition known as cerebral edema, sometimes caused by a lack of oxygen at high altitudes...



Jul 27, 2015
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Bullet-time
by: Christos

Thanks, it's definitely nicer when you are not pressed for time... My group is planning to do a bullet Fuji run and I am a bit skeptical, especially about the night-time ascent :{

Jul 26, 2015
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Thanks for sharing, Christos!
by: Gary Wolff

Wow, what an amazing trip!

Thanks so much, Christos, for sharing your Kita-dake hiking experience. And I enjoyed the pics on your blog page.

I agree that you should go back and take it at a slower pace next time. My 5-decade hiking experience tells me that you miss a lot of the scenery if you're too focused on time, rather than the beauty of the surroundings. :-)

Happy trails & thanks again for stopping by...

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