I am lucky enough to have a job where music and unicycling will take me to Japan for 3 months. Some of you may know me, I am the unicycling trombonist in the Broadway show Blast!
I was making plans today to climb Mt. Fuji, and I got the sick idea to unicycle my decent down the mountain. Has this been done? I need a general idea of how bad of an idea this could be, before I get killed. let me know…
Sounds like opportunity to me
I think it’s against the rules, as there are usually tons of hikers on the trail. There was a group of unicyclists planning to do this at Unicon XII, but I think a bad weather forecast on the day they planned it turned them away and they ended up riding somewhere else. “They” shall remain nameless.
If you do it, take pictures! See if you get a ticket for the equivalent of $100 US or more, like Jamey Mossengren did at the Grand Canyon!
yay tickets! It’ll totally be worth it even if you are fined. I don’t know if Fuji has been done, but plenty other descents down mountains/volcanoes have been done. Have fun!
more info on the volcano. I think it might be doable.
We were in the UNICON XII group that were going to ride down the mountain, but we were thwarted by bad weather
Anyway, before that I had read a writeup in a mountainbike magazine of some guys that rode down on two wheels. I think there is a 4WD track somewhere on the mountain that they took on the way down.
If you take the same route as they did in the vid, then, yes, very doable. If you have a break it will be a lot easier on your legs.
If you took the same route they did on the decent, that would be a pretty knarly technical Muni ride, but still doable by a really good rider.
Please tell me that you’ll be playing your trombone on the descent.
Wow, that guy did a really nice write-up with pictures and video! Here’s what Fuji-san looked like about a month after that guy took his bike up (Aug. 4, '04):
That’s Jacquie and Patty Hughes (Jack Hughes’ mom). We were also in a cloud the whole time we were up in the area of the 5th station. That’s a very touristy spot, but I’m sure it gets a lot less touristy real fast, once you go a little further up the trail…
Cool to know that it’s legal to ride up there, long as you’re not there for a Unicon in July or August!
My Japanese friend did this on mtb in 1990, and in 1991 took me to do it on a mtb, but we rode the bulldozer 2-track down because too many people on the trail (and the bulldozer trail, used for hauling garbage out, was not that interesting). it would be awesome to do the single track trail on a muni! seems like you’d have to find a midweek no-hiker period… good luck!
I’ve done it a couple of times of foot, once from the bottom. Riding down the resupply road would be no be no big deal - what we were planning on in 2004. Riding down one of the climbing routes on the other hand would be exciting. Climbing season there is officially only about now through late August. We climbed both times in June so there would be more snow for the descent but you don’t want that if you’re riding.
I’ll be doing it either Monday sept 3 or tuesday sept 4. I just got into Tokyo about 2 hours ago, and hit the streets. Great town.
and no, sadly i will not be playing trombone on the way down… lol
I am currently in Tokyo and we plan to ascent the Fuji in a few days (as soon as the weather allows, actually) but on bus + foot, not unicycle anyway I will see what it looks like (although we will start the ascent at night so as to reach the top at sunrise, of course) and let you know.
We should hit the streets here together. I’m staying in Akasaka if you’re nearby.
So, I climbed the 富士山 on foot, and reached the conclusion that chances to unicycle it are purely theoritical.
I have no time at present to tell you more, I’ll do so on sunday when I am at home.
So I am at home at present and I can spend some more time to tell my Fuji experience.
First, you have to decide from which point you are about to climb, given that 2400 m (5th station) is the maximum altitude that can be reached by motor vehicles (the Fuji is 3376 m high), and the moment you wan to climb, given that is traditionnal to see the sunrise from the summit, which implies you would have to climb in the dark.
Notice that the Fuji-san is a some kind of a national symbol for Japan, and that the summit has been claimed by one (if not several) shinto shrines, making it a sort of holy or sacred place. Unicycling on it might be considered outrageous, or may be not at all - only a Japanese could answer that question.
So, let’s imagine you want to climb from the 5th station, like I did. At the beginning, the trek is of rough ground or big cobblestones. Things worsen later when it becomes very dusty volcano lava, and at other places big rocks. A very skilled unicyclist could probably go up the rocks, but probably not so any. Remember you have 976 m to climb, and maybe a third of that vertical distance is made of rocks.
Another possibility would be to climb using the descending trek, that has much less slope (does zigzags to lessen the slope) and no rocks. But it is made of dust very your wheel would sink, making wheeling very cumbersome.
Also note that at 3376 m, breathing is somewhat difficult. Small oxygen bottles are for sale at some stations (I whish I bought one). Also it is quite cold !
Yes it is a big mountain. But if you’re in shape and used to altitude, it isn’t so bad. I’ve never climbed it from the 5th station. The first time we climbed from the 1st station, down by the lake at the bottom (1 1/2 days total with sleeping bags and carrying our own food as the mountain was “closed”). The second time we did the Gotemba Guchi trail (starting at 1600m instead of 2400m). We climbed to the summit in 5 hours that time, also when the mountain was “closed”. You don’t have to climb at night the way many Japanese like to do. Seeing the sunrise from the summit is unlikely anyway due to clouds. It’s a lot easier to climb when you can see and don’t have to worry about headlamps and batteries.
In most of the climbs I’ve done with my unicycle, we never considered trying to ride up (exception was White Mountain Peak which has a 4WD road to the summit at 4300m). We strap the unicycles to our packs and climb normally. It is tiring, but we did it up to 5400m in Mexico so it is doable.
If I ever get back to Japan in the summer, with my Muni, I know where I’m going!
Do you have any photos of your climb? I’d love to see them. Mine are non-digital - I should scan them sometime.
Sorry – read 3776 m instead of 3376 !
So I climbed fuji-san today, it was awesome! I will make the climb Monday September 3rd and do my decent at sunrise of the 4th. Will be pictures and video later that week. Wish me luck!
Im pretty sure your not allowed to ride down it, my dad lives in tokyo and we were planning to be the first to ride down it on uncicyles lol but youll have to look into it,