Don't expect pictures, unless you happen to like pictures of the rivers of rainwater washing over the volcanic rock I was climbing last night with a walking stick in one hand and a flashlight in the other. Mt. Fuji is breathtaking, but partway up a typhoon blew in, the wind gusting and the rain blowing my hood down. And even with rain gear on, I was soaked clear through and my backpack got soaked and everything inside it, and by the time I reached a little over 80 percent of the height of the mountain, my friends Jody and Phillipe who had gone ahead of me and Katie, who was traveling with me, had stopped at a travel lodge on the mountainside and got a mat to sleep on until morning. Katie decided to stay too. I wanted to keep going on to reach the summit but the thing that decided me in the end was that I could no longer feel my fingers or feet. My climbing shoes were water logged and my gloves were too. At one point on the climb a shoelace came untied, so I balanced on this very steep volanic rock area we were climbing and while I was retying my shoe, my glove slid into a water puddle. It was already wet from the gusting rain, but as I grabbed it out, all soaking wet and dripping, while thunder and lightning crackled all around us, I thought, God damned Frodo and Sam's little jaunt up Mount Doom was nothing compared to this.
But the ordeal made it so exciting, and it did feel like a trip up a fantasy mountain in many ways, with little stops along the way where people gather in lodges and where they would burn symbols into your walking stick for each level you made it to, and I think the typhoon drama made it an even more memorable experience than it would have been if we'd had good weather. Jody might have got some pictures, so if so, I'll post them when I get them from her. But I honestly think nothing much came out of last night photographically. Unfortunate, but I'm not sure photos could really describe the experience of climbing Mount Fuji in the middle of the night, during a typhoon. And words really can't either.