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Climbed the Mountain
Sports & Adventure

Why were you inspired to do this?

It was a group trip/decision. Our Marine Corps unit had taken a trip to Tokyo for some R&R. It was stated that we would be climbing Mt. Fuji. We really had no choice, it's either climb the fool thing, or sleep at the bottom of the mountain, in a sleeping bag. I hadn't thought too much about it prior to the event taking place. I had only climbed one small mountain before that <6,000 ft (Mt. Iwake in Northern Japan (Honshu Island)). The guide told us that we would be doing very well to climb the mountain in 8 hours. After all, we were starting at around 7:00PM, so the climb would take place in the dark. He said that if one were to do it in 6 hours, then you'd really be moving. My friend, Pat Robertson, and I took the challenge to climb to the top in less than 6 hours. We decided that the only reasons that we could stop is to take care of natural bodily functions, get some food, and get our walking sticks stamped at the various stations along the mountain. To my recollection, I don't think that we stopped for a "potty break" one time until we got to the top. We skipped most of the early stations to get our sticks stamped, and eating was over-rated, so we just kept moving. The beginning was really tough, as it was getting dark and there were lots of people slipping and sliding along the mountain, but soon, we got our legs under us and cleared most of the more leisurely climbers. It wasn't long before we were all alone with nobody in front of us to impede our progress. We had our eyes on the goal of less than six hours and we would not be denied. It was probably good that we climbed it at night, because we couldn't see how much more mountain we had to climb...we just kept pressing forward. When it was all said and done, we reached the top of the mountain (12,388 feet) in about 5 hrs. 30 mins. We felt proud of our achievement. Our host at the top of the mountain, made some "homemade" saki. Really buttery/creamy and strong, as I was not a drinker. The next group of climbers came in about 45-50 minutes after us. The really funny thing is that the majority of the people came in between 2:30AM and 3:30AM and we had already eaten and taken a nap. They refused to believe that we made it up there in such a time. We shrugged it off and chalked it up to "haters". We knew and God knew, what we had accomplished. The next morning, we got up and had a snow ball fight on top of the mountain on July 4, 1984. The way down, is via "speed trail". That's another story for another time. I nearly lost my life on the descent! I have more stories and anecdotes here.

What were 3 things you did to make this happen?

Sheer determination

Support of a buddy

Plenty of water, supplies in our backpack, and a walking stick

How did you feel once you had accomplished this?

Elated, because we set the goal for a certain time and we would stop at nothing until we reached it. It hurt a lot of the time, but we just kept telling our bodies to "man up" and encouraged one another to keep pushing forward. We wanted ultimate bragging rights out of the 40 or so Marines.

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1/9/2011 7:58:34 AM

Congratulations, we have linked your story on the My Life List 90 (#37) to inspire others. Thank you so much for sharing this incredible story.

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