fbpx
    • Spring
      • Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.

        Into the Mystic

        While you probably won’t encounter an elusive river sprite in the highlands of the Northern Japan Alps, you may feel a bit lightheaded from the refreshing thin air, remarkable vistas and mystical aura of the mountains and valleys in Kamikochi.
        video

        Niseko Untapped

        Niseko draws th...
    • Summer
      • Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...
        A glass of beer from Kyoto Brewing

        Kampai! in Kansai

        Kansai has been...

        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
    • Autumn
      • Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
    • Winter
      • video

        Mad About Pow

        A powder pocket...

        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
        video

        Shuzenji Sanctuary

        Nestled in the ...
    • Near Tokyo
      • Air it Out

        There is no bet...

        Ark Hills Marche

        Tucked away in ...

        Music Festival Guide 2018

        Warmer months mean awesome music festivals in Japan. Check out our favorite music festivals!

        Summer Runs, Races & Tours

        Trail running is a great way to explore the beautiful nature of a country while getting away from the usual tourist spots.

        Tokyo Escapes: Summer Camping

        Tokyo summers can be stifling—luckily it’s easy to escape the city for a cool break from the heat.
    • Near Kyoto
      • A glass of beer from Kyoto Brewing

        Kampai! in Kansai

        Kansai has been...

        Music Festival Guide 2018

        Warmer months mean awesome music festivals in Japan. Check out our favorite music festivals!

        Cycling Awaichi

        “Awaichi” is sh...
    • All Regions
    • Article Map
    • Ocean and Beach
      • Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...

        Air it Out

        There is no bet...

        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
        video

        Niseko Untapped

        Niseko draws th...
    • River and Lake
      • Air it Out

        There is no bet...
        video

        Niseko Untapped

        Niseko draws th...

        Minakami Mofest

        Head up to Japan's outdoor mecca of Minakami for the country's biggest outdoor adventure festival!
        video

        All-Season Outdoor Playgr...

        Enter the all-season world of Shinetsu Shinzekyo in Nagano and Niigata with outdoor professionals
    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
    • Snow and Ice
      • video

        Mad About Pow

        A powder pocket...

        The Reemergence of Arai

        Lotte Arai Resort will definitely become a hotspot for western skiers and boarders over the next few years.

        Tohoku Storm Chasing

        Just a few hours north of Tokyo by Shinkansen (bullet train) await remote mountains and the countryside of Tohoku’s Akita and Iwate prefectures.
    • Travel
      • Gravity-Defying Farming in Nishi Awa

        Discover the centuries-old secret behind what keeps southern Japan's mountains growing

        Up Market in Osaka

        There wasn’t mu...

        Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...
    • Food and Drinks
      • Gravity-Defying Farming in Nishi Awa

        Discover the centuries-old secret behind what keeps southern Japan's mountains growing

        Up Market in Osaka

        There wasn’t mu...

        Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...
    • Races and Events
      • Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.

        Music Festival Guide 2018

        Warmer months mean awesome music festivals in Japan. Check out our favorite music festivals!

Climbing Mt. Fuji on New Year’s Eve

Catching up with Jeff Jensen before his upcoming seventh New Year’s Day attempt to scale Mt. Fuji.

For six consecutive years on the first day of January, while most people are shaking off the New Year’s Eve celebrations, Jeff Jensen, a 36-year-old Canadian from Alberta and living in Japan, has carried his 20-kilogram pack on a solo attempt to reach the summit of Mt. Fuji.

With more than 18 years of winter alpine climbing experience under his belt, Jeff was excited about his first New Year’s ascent of Fuji-san. His first four attempts were made from the Shizuoka side via the Fujinomiya Route that begins at 2,400 meters. Initially this steep route was a welcome challenge, although he experienced wind so fierce, he could only exhale inside his jacket and was in constant danger of being hit by small lava rocks—and literally being blown off the mountain.

After two summits in four attempts (he was forced to turn back on his first try), he decided to challenge the longer Yoshidaguchi Route in 2003 and 2004 and reached the summit each year.

A welcome sight to his quest has been the Satogoya Hut located between the 5th and 6th stages. It seems to be the only hut open on Fuji at this time and is generally filled with friends of the owner and invited guests celebrating in happi (traditional Japanese coats) toasting hot sake and wishing the few climbers good luck.

Fortunately, Jeff has been able to leave his extra gear, get warm and get any advice from the owner before leaving around midnight for the final push to the top. I recently asked Jeff a few questions about his experiences:RX: What do you think about when climbing solo?

JJ: I try to stay focused on putting one foot in front of the other and the conditions around me. Generally speaking, I don’t think of myself as a “spiritual guy” but I realize now the experience leaves me with an overwhelming sense of being alive during and after the climb.

RX: What difficulties are there climbing Mt. Fuji in winter?

JJ: It is a big-ass mountain and a long-ass climb! It is nearly twice the size of any mountain in my hometown of Banff. The approach is long and tiring, often in fresh snow, and I must pack food for three to four days in a tent, camp stove to melt snow for drinking water and warm clothing.

RX: How do you decide when it’s time to turn around?

JJ: There is a voice inside that reminds me: “I want to live to climb another day.” Not to mention seeing my family waiting for me at home.

RX: How does your family feel about your passion for climbing?

JJ: Well, my wife sends me off with smiles, although she makes sure I take out a special insurance policy for the climb. I also have a tradition of choosing a small lava stone for each of my family members from the summit as a souvenir.

RX: What has been your most memorable experience climbing Fuji?

JJ: That would have to be when I reached the summit in 2001. (The true date of the new millennium) I keep a thermometer in my backpack and it was reading –25 C degrees. The only climbers I met were on their way down and, when I finally reached the summit, I was the only person on the rim of the crater when the sun rose. You can’t buy those types of experiences.

Outdoor Japan logo tree

Related

Latest posts

Categories