On the night of the 30th we set off from our place in Fussa around 1930 to the 5th station on Mt. Fuji. This is the last night of the season before the huts close down for the season. We new it would be crowded, but damn! We had no idea of the spectacle we were about to witness.
We made it to the 5th station around 2120 and found parking right at the base. At this time of the year the sun rises at 0400 and last time we hiked to the top in 5 hours despite me getting killer high altitude sickness. This time I took Gingko Biloba for about 4 days prior to avoid the high altitude sickness this time around. So we thought leaving at 2200 would give us more than enough time to make it to the top.
When we set off, there were not quite as many people around as I was expecting. Then when we reached the 1st hut after the 6th station all hell broke loose! It was complete stop and go traffic from that hut until the very top. Sometimes you would stop forever before the traffic would creep forward. It was crazy to see the zig-zag of lights above and below you as far as you could see.
By 0400 we were still just below the Tori gate before the very top. I decided to break out the tripod right there to catch the sun. The entire line followed suit and within minutes the sun started to make its’ appearance.
Around this time we could have ran up to the top as the line was mostly off to the side taking pictures and admiring the sunrise. But I too wanted to take pictures while the colors were most vibrant. Once I collapsed the tripod to get back on the trail, the line was in full effect. We made it about 4 switch backs from the top and the line was at a complete stand still for unusually long periods of time. I became so frustrated I made the decision to turn around and just start heading back. We had already been to the top before, and the last 4 switch backs would probably take about an hour to complete!
So to make a long story short. Do not climb Mt. Fuji on the last day of the official season! And if you do, climb up the descending trail. I saw a lot of groups doing that but I was not sure if we would get in trouble for it.