The sprawling Southern Alps of central Japan Photo: Pakutaso

Hiking restrictions result in huge drop in climbing accidents, with zero on Mt Fuji

By Dale Roll, SoraNews24

The pandemic has led to a lot of closures, not least among them the the hiking trails of Mt Fuji. Where ordinarily hordes of people would be lining up–literally, on some days–to climb Japan’s tallest mountain in the summer, this year, for public health reasons, the trails were closed, leaving the mountain empty for the entire climbing season.

Officials from Yamanashi Prefecture, where the most popular trails for hiking Mt Fuji lie, have also requested that hikers refrain from climbing other popular mountains, like those in the Southern Alps. While this has been part of an effort to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, the closures have had an additional unintended benefit: reducing the number of hiking and climbing accidents.

Yamanashi Prefecture experiences more mountain-related accidents than any other prefecture in Japan, but while nearly 60 people were lost, killed, or injured while hiking in the prefecture last summer, this year saw just 5 incidents. That’s about 10 percent of the number usually recorded in ordinary seasons.

Furthermore, only one of those incidents resulted in death; a man in his 20s was killed in an avalanche that occurred while he was hiking in the woods near Sessokyo Onsen in Kawanehon Town. The remaining four cases were people lost in the woods, but they were all safely found.

Notably, exactly zero of those accidents happened on Mt Fuji, which makes sense, seeing as the mountain was closed and the trails extensively patrolled and monitored. But what makes that special is the fact that it’s the first time in 30 years that no accidents occurred on Mt. Fuji during climbing season. Since the dormant volcano is a steep climb and has some very sheer cliffs along its hiking paths, it can be a dangerous place depending on weather and terrain conditions. That’s why, though it’s sad that many had to miss out on climbing the iconic mountain this year, it’s nice to know that more accidents were prevented than harm done.

Source: Sankei News via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Mt. Fuji is officially closed for the year

-- Human traffic jam on Mt. Fuji shows why weekdays are the best days to hike the symbol of Japan

-- Search for live-streamer who fell from Mt. Fuji finds badly damaged corpse half-mile below peak

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I would imagine it also resulted in a drop in littering. Given that the vast majority of climbers on Fuji are Japanese, it’s weird they have no problems littering on a national treasure.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Given that the vast majority of climbers on Fuji are Japanese, it’s weird they have no problems littering on a national treasure.

Some people have no problem in littering wherever they are, regardless of their nationality. The vast majority of climbers are respectful and dispose of their waste correctly.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I would imagine it also resulted in a drop in littering. Given that the vast majority of climbers on Fuji are Japanese, it’s weird they have no problems littering on a national treasure.

It would be difficult to see if nationality is a factor because, as mentioned, littering is not a generalized thing that the majority of the people do. It may be that 1 out of every thousand people litter no matter the nationality or that 1 in 10 of people or certain culture do. If the total number of people is the same we have no way of knowing without careful recordings.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I went on a few hikes this summer and it was very quiet out. Many of the huts were closed due to the virus and shuttle bus services were also suspended. This meant that if you wanted to hike those trails you needed both a car and a tent. However, some areas don't allow access to private cars. There were heavy rains just before the climbing season which washed away a lot of paths. And even some small earthquakes in places which made everything very unstable. Central and minami alps routes were all but closed. I have never seen the place so quiet. However, the few people who were out were friendly and looking out for each other which made for a nice atmosphere.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

And a huge drop in of itself, for small shops that rely on hikers.They're hurting real bad themselves.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@P. Smith, you do know that Mount Fuji is famous for tourists around the world right? Climbers are from everywhere and not only Japanese.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

...and huge relief for nature and animals there...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It was then the perfect timing to go hiking around, with far less people on mountains.

During this fake stay home period in spring, I kept with my cycling rides and it was a pleasure. roads were quiet.

But I can tell you that I see a lot of littering along the roads in southern Chiba

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Hiro, I think a close examination of nationalities that climb Fuji would show the highest percentage of climbers are Japanese. It's really a no-brainer. Ever been to Japan? I have. Every year since I was there for 3/11 and the tsunami's waters stopped less then 500 meters from my host family's home. Have you ever written about it and have your observations and grief published, and NOT online? I somehow doubt it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Cause, meet Effect...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Stay at home and become obese, or climb Japanese greatest mountain. That is your choice grasshopper.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is great hiking in Japan and it provides a perfect getaway to the fast-paced lives many have. Rainy season was long and a total washout this year, but August was unusually sunny in Nagano and that would have meant much better views than normal. Provided you don't mind the heat.

Communities in the countryside, including my own, regularly have litter drives. You see no litter because people pick it up. If we didn't, it would grow and the presence of it would encourage more people to litter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I heard and read that there is a lot of trash up on Mt. Fuji this would be a great time to for locals and the government to get the mess cleaned up. Also, the skies look so much clearer, of course, I am sure this has to due with very few planes flying in the skies at the moment. The only upside to the COVID is that the amount of pollution has dropped due to less fuels being used both in the skies and oceans.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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