by Erica Grainger and Robert “Caveman” Vidal
On Saturday June 1st, FuJET set off to climb Mt. Bandai. The group comprised of: the FuJET presidents, Erika and Rokan, Alan, Kris, Phil and Mary, Robin, Jaime and David, Nick, Eric, Erica and Caveman. Two of the climbers have agreed to be interviewed. Justin Time reporting.
JT: Welcome Caveman and Erica. Let’s start with some easy questions!
JT: Why did you go to Mt. Bandai?
E: At the time, I thought climbing Mt. Bandai would help me practice for climbing Mt.Fuji in mid-July and FuJET recommended this group climb to help us prepare for it. I also liked the idea of socializing and exploring Mt. Bandai together,and I knew Caveman would be going. So I could always count on him to carry things if my bag got too heavy!
C: My purpose was for the Japan Experience. Bandai-san and Fuji-san are two of the places I have wanted to visit since arriving in Japan.
JT: Was it anything like you expected?
E: Yes and no. I expected a long day of hiking, but it wasn’t as steep as I thought and I managed to hike at a steady pace. Although I didn’t expect to see an abandoned onsen halfway along the mountain!
C: Climbing up Bandai San was everything I expected, but climbing down was harder than I expected due to the slippery mud.
JT: Do you have any regrets?
C: My only regret is not destroying Erica Grainger when I had the chance!
E: No regrets at all, except maybe I let Jaime come a bit too close with that big rock in his hands….
JT: What were the highlights and/or lowlights?
E: The highlights were my yummy scrogan (just kidding) and the stunning scenery. The view from the summit was just above the clouds and quite mysterious. The company helped too, as everyone was in high spirits. No pun intended. As for the lowlights….perhaps the unpleasant mosquito bite that mysteriously went through my trousers. Although I discovered that others were attacked by these little devils too!
C: The highlight was the scenery. I liked the Abandoned Onsen, and the valley along the mountain. The lakes and towns looked like something out of a painting. I also enjoyed the lounging frog at the Onsen. One of the downsides was that it was probably dead. I also was hoping for less cloud cover. I am sure everything would have appeared much more magical with a clear view.
JT: What did you find challenging?
E: Funnily enough, I didn’t find the hike so challenging. It was actually the traffic along the mountain and coordinating myself around other climbers as we crossed paths constantly that I found the most challenging.
C: I have never climbed in the mud before. It was like the worlds’ biggest slip–and–slide.
JT: How has it prepared you for the Fuji climb, and are you still going?
C: I have a good estimate of how much I need to improve and how difficult the climb will be.
E: I found the experience very rewarding and it gave me more confidence to climb Fuji-san! It’s all in the mind and motivating yourself with positive self-talk. Oh and some fitness doesn’t go astray either. Am I still going to attempt Fuji-san? Oh, yes! Definitely, through rain, hail or shine!
JT: How did you survive when everyone was out to get you?!?!?
E: Oh, it wasn’t easy. Just run and hide to survive! No, I bribed people with yummy dried apricots and half-melted Meiji chocolate. That seems to work a treat!
C: I only had to watch out for Erica Grainger, there could be only one.
JT: Do you have any advice for prospective climbers?
C: Bandai-san is perfect for learning how physically prepared you are for Fuji-san. Take your time and don’t push yourself for a very enjoyable climb.
E: I guess it’s a combination of all the sensible things one should bring (e.g. waterproof jacket, plenty of water, healthy energizing snacks, sunscreen, a hat, etc.). One should also bring fantastic climbing companions (like my FuJET group). Most importantly, bring a bright and sunny disposition.