Over Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving), I headed to Japan to climb Mount Fuji and go trekking in the Northern Alps. After a few years without much mountain time, and several months spent fighting Seoul crowds during rush hour, this was a welcome relief. This pre-climb picture shows the deceptively large Mount Fuji sort of peeking up behind me. It's a huge mountain, whose scale isn't reinforced by neighbors in manner of the Sierra Nevada big peaks. This mountain took me ALL DAY to climb and left me totally wiped. Granted, I was carrying close on 60 pounds of camera and camping gear. But still.
Your friendly neighborhood trail crew.
I overlooked this item on my packing list. Prayer bells/other ribbon-ish offerings to appease the mountain. Things still turned out ok!
After a peaceful and unexpectedly warm night on Fuji's crater rim, my wake-up call came early and noisily in the form of fellow hikers gathered to watch the sunrise. They must have hiked through the night or early twilight hours. Not to say I wasn't expecting it: it had the desired effect of booting me out of bed to take sunrise pictures.
Silhouettes above the nearest crater rim highpoint.
Jump to Kamikochi, Nagano Prefecture, the gateway to bite-sized chunks of alpine ridge climbing connected by well-stocked huts in what I imagine is European style (I've never hiked in the Alps). There are trails here for people of all ability levels and degrees of fear of heights.
This picture is at the summit of Kitahodaka, where climbers finishing the infamous Dai Kirekko sit at the nearby hut for beer, pizza, and other delights, arduously supplied by helicopter. Unfortunately, because I was carrying way too much stuff and was short on time, I didn't get to hike along the dental-floss width ridgeline that is the aptly named "Big Gap." You can sense the aforementioned "Big Gap" in the background of the picture, where the bottom seems to fall out of the world a little bit...