Tell someone you climbed Mt. Fuji, and they’ll ask “Where did you start from?”, because there are paved roads that can drop as much as half-way up the mountain. Of course some say you haven’t climbed Fuji unless you started from its base, but even that wasn’t enough of a challenge for these three foreign outdoorsmen, who decided to start their hike from miles away from Fuji at the seashore, then journey from Japan’s lowest point to its highest, making this awesome video along the way.
Maine-native Andrew Marston started living the expat life in Japan this summer, and is wasting no time getting out and seeing what the country has to offer. When a friend of his mentioned he’d completed a sea-to-summit Fuji trek, Marston’s adventurous mind kicked into high gear, and when his schedule lined up with fellow Americans Andy and Axel, the three found themselves standing on the sands of Taganoura Beach in Shizuoka Prefecture…or 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from and 3,776 meters (12,388 feet) below their destination.
▼ From left to right: Axel, Andrew, and Andy (also known as Captain Falcon)
With their hike taking place in early August, things were balmy at the beach, even at 11:16 p.m. Still, summer temperatures can dip below freezing at Fuji’s snow-shrouded summit, so in addition to food and water, the three had cold weather clothing stuffed into their bags.
But there’s a limit to how much one person can carry, especially when constantly travelling uphill, so the group periodically stopped to restock their consumables at convenience stores along the way. After about three hours, though, they left the city behind, and aside from one lucky encounter with a snack-selling truck, would have to hold out until they reached the pocket of development at Mt. Fuji’s fifth station to procure more supplies.
▼ The three had been on the road for several hours before Mt. Fuii came into view
Navigating using a smartphone and online map of their course (which can be found here), the group made steady progress towards its goal, with just one unintended, yet scenic, detour along the way.
▼ Back on track
Marston and his companions pressed on as the trail became steeper, with day turning to night while they climbed higher into the sky. The temperature plummeted, so out came the extra layers of clothing.
But after a solid day of hiking, the group wasn’t giving up this close to the peak. Finally, more than 27 hours after their energetic departure from Taganoura Beach, the three hikers arrived at the top of Japan.
It’s customary to watch the sunrise from the peak, and with time to spare before dawn, the three were happy to find a vendor selling ramen at the top of the mountain. After a late-night meal, this was the view that was waiting for them.
When your day hike involves hiking for more than an entire day, we imagine your body is exhausted in ways you never imagined it could be. Still, we don’t think there’s a better visual representation of “a good tired” than the three friends smiling in the morning sunlight atop Mt. Fuji.
▼ At least, we’re assuming that Andy is smiling underneath that mask.
Related: Happy in Japan (Andrew Marston’s YouTube channel)
Images used with permission from Andrew Marston