The goal of the mission in Japan is to climb Mount Fuji. Apparently in summer there are thousand of people climbing it every day but not in winter:
“Winter conditions on the mountain are similar to those found on 8000m Himalayan peaks and are dangerous for even the most professional alpinists.” as it is written in the Fujiyoshida prefecture website.
The nice thing about photography and Mount Fuji is that you can buy a guide with many pictures that tells you exactly where you have to go to take the same pictures with all the technical details. I love Japan!
In winter the roads are not always open, this year it was snowing even in Tokyo and the mountain is full of snow so we have to start with snowshoes along all the Yoshida trail. The forest is beautiful and silent and nobody is around. I would not have been that quiet if I would have red this before: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aokigahara. In this enchanted forest, due partly to the end of a love story in a japanese famous book, written in the 60s, hordes of locals come here to commit suicide (In 2010, 247 people attempted suicide in the forest, 54 of whom completed the act). Funny, isn’t it? It is commonly agreed that the forest is haunted by ghosts.
Anyhow, to make it short, we never reached the summit of Fujisan, after a night at -20 at 2300m we decided to turn back 300 meters below the summit (3770m) because of the temperature (-35°C) and the strong 50 km/h wind. At that temperature, as soon as you stop moving, you cool down, which can lead to a very bad moment. We tried to search the body of an american who is missing on the mountain since one week but we were not able to find anything.
After the cold we discovered the pleasure of Onsen, the japanese hot baths.