I took a photo of the path down Mount Fuji, at 5 A.M. this summer… the view of the sky and land below left me breathless.

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I’ll just copy-paste the short description I’ve given a buddy before:

>It was generally pretty awesome but a huge and tough exercise.

>We got to [Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station](http://i.imgur.com/9tRnFeE.jpg), at 2300 meters altitude, by bus from Kawaguchiko train station (about a 45 minute ride). Started at 1pm, and we hiked at a damn fast pace the whole way, only stopping about once every hour to catch our breath.

>By 4.30ish pm, we arrived at our [mountain lodge](http://i.imgur.com/2wHh9Yv.jpg) near the peak, Goraikoukan. It’s at… 3500m altitude?(I can’t really recommend staying there, it was rather pricey for what it was) So essentially we did 95% of the hike in three hours, when the whole ascent is usually a process of 5-7 hours. So yeah, solid fast pace.

>Chilled a few hours and had a quick dinner (burger and rice with sweet soy sauce) until [sunset](http://i.imgur.com/e91y1Gy.jpg) at 7pm, then got prepped to sleep by 9pm. “Slept” (read: awake most of the time while zipping in and out of consciousness because of all the noise in the lodge, and being [crammed in with 150 hikers](http://i.imgur.com/0H4bXs5.jpg)…) til 3am, then hiked the last few hundred meters to the 3776m summit.

>Super crowded on the last stretch, because everyone is climbing at night to get there for sunrise at 4.30am. And so all these tired old climbers are slow as balls, so we do the “recommended 1 hour ascent” stretch in 30 minutes tops, sprinting past everyone. Set up for photos at the peak, tripod and all, and snapped pics to heart’s content.

>Then we hiked down a dusty trail (to be fair, Fuji is one humongous dusty hike), and got back down to the bus in 2 hours and a bit. Two day adventure, pretty damn sweet.

So all in all, it’s not a super-tough hike if you pace yourself over a solid day or two, but it is a lot of effort and it will take some good motivation to complete. The worst parts to me were the long stretches of unvaried steep slopes to climb up, the immense amount of dust, the crowdedness of our mountain lodge, and the traffic jam of hikers just before sunrise. Beyond that it was quite alright.

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