trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles
My alarm went off at 4:40am.
… often referred to as the “Mt. Fuji of Hokkaido” …
Here’s how the volcano looked when I came knocking.
Lonely Planet Hiking in Japan:
One of the toughest day hikes around with a 1500m climb up to a perfectly shaped volcano …
My guidebook called it 8-10hrs round trip. Signage said it took longer than that. There was no way I could make it this day.
… I started up.
Footing was good. Weather excellent (so far).
About half way up I met a savvy Japanese hiker already coming down. He was concerned at where I was on the mountain relative to the time. I assured him I’d be turning around quite soon.
… But you know, guys like me, Rob Hall & Gary Ball — we can push the turnaround time later than most.
And the weather actually got better instead of worse as I gained elevation.
When I saw the mountain hut I knew I’d make the top.
Normally manned by a warden, it had been locked up for weeks. Almost nobody hikes this late in the season.
I only stayed on the crater rim for about 3min as it was already 4pm. … And it gets dark starting about 4:30pm.
The second time on the crater rim I was furious. I’d dropped my camera in the snow when starting to RUN down the mountain. And then hustle back up. It’s now 4:20pm.
The welcome lights of the trailhead campground toilet. It’s 6:30pm.
The campground had been long closed. Yet incredibly the washrooms were left open and powered on. Thank-you Japan.
I tented here all alone, hoping to see one of the infamous pesky foxes. They’d long given up on the campground too.
I know what you’re thinking — this scramble was a “success” ?!
Success is relative on this trip. 🙂