On 23 May there was still ice and snow on the mountain, but at least there North Summit of Mt. Fuji, Hakusandake (白山岳), 3756 m, Japan weren't crowds of trash-throwing pilgrims. I did find a water bottle that I cleaned up and still use today. None of the huts were open either so you have to be totally self-contained. This was the second out-of-season attempt and was solo. On the first attempt in March I didn't make the top because of bad weather combined with my climbing partner's hip injury (I ended up carrying 2 packs). This climb was made in May, 2 months before the "official season." It's a mountain. It can be cold and dangerous. Be ready to turn back if conditions don't cooperate. On this day it was sunny and calm all the way to the top and enough snow had melted off that there was very little snowpack to cross.

A Trek bicycle hat, Goretex windbreak, ice ax, water bottle, and an Andre Jamet backpack were the main equipment used. I had lent my down overcoat to an under-equipped climber on the way up and didn't use the food, crampons, and bivy stored in the pack. The guy who borrowed my coat didn't have a hat and was freezing so we headed back down without going to the bottom of the crater. He had a car at the 5th station and was nice enough to give me a ride and drop me off at a train station after we got back down. I got on the first train to Tokyo and got off when I knew where I was.

The south summit at 3776 m has a weather station and radar sitting on top of it. There are also a post office and vending machines there when the mountain is officially "open." It doesn't feel wild over there, so this is the "natural" summit for me.

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park