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How to avoid altitude sickness while climbing Mt. Fuji?

by Mick
(Sweden)

Hi,

Thank you for a great source of information. Been wondering about some things still in preparation for a climb.

Concerning food along the hiking routes. There should be some restaurant at Yoshida 5th station, but is there any recommendation in what to eat and how much before setting out, as to avoid losing stamina and risking altitude sickness?

I would want to bring some calorie bars or something, heard CalorieMate is a good idea. Is there anything else worth to bring to keep the energy up?

Then again concerning altitude sickness. I thought of doing 5-15 minute breaks for each 100 meter altitude gain up to the hut. Would that be too much or too little to get used to the altitude? Also resting for about 2 hours before setting out.

I plan to stay somewhere around the 8th station, but is it better to stay lower (like 2700-2800 m) or is staying high (3100-3200 m) alright, concerning altitude sickness? The downside of staying lower of course is longer hike in the dark..

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Feb 04, 2019
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Stay hydrated, take your time, & take lots of high-energy snacks!
by: Gary Wolff

Thanks for ​​the kind words, Mick!

As for proper nutrition to avoid altitude sickness while climbing Mount Fuji, I believe most climbers take an array of high-protein, high-carb foods like energy and granola bars, trail mix, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, onigiri (rice balls), as well as Gatorade-like Japanese electrolyte sports drinks, like Aquarius and Pocari Sweat (easily obtainable in any Japanese convenience store & also available in powder form).

Accordingly, another key to avoiding altitude sickness is to stay hydrated and so you should drink plenty of fluids along the way.

You are smart to plan your breaks in advance, as most climbers probably don’t bother going to this trouble. Make sure your breaks are not too long, though, so as not to get cold.

You should also take deep breaths while hiking. And allowing your body to acclimate for a couple of hours at the 5th station before setting out is an excellent idea.

But by all means, please don’t make the mistake that many foreign climbers make by doing bullet climbing (climbing all night without resting). Bullet climbers are at 3 times higher risk of injury and illness. This is a sure prescription for altitude sickness, not to mention the increased risk of injury to yourself or to other climbers, so walking slowly at a constant pace, taking regular breaks, and resting overnight is highly advised.

As for where to stay, I believe most climbers prefer near the 8th station, where on my Mt. Fuji Mountain Huts page you can see that among the 6 mountain huts at or near the 8th station (elev. 3100-3400m), their sleeping capacity exceeds a remarkable 1500 people. Wow.

And by sleeping near the 8th station, the advantage of being a mere 1.5-2.5 hours from the summit usually outweighs the increased risk of contracting altitude sickness.

I hope this helps. Thanks for visiting my site, Mick, & happy trails...

Cheers,
Gary


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