I decided on Rishiri-Fuji because it’s one of the remotest mountains in Japan and is on the 100 most famous mountains list (hyaku-meizan). It’s an extinct volcano almost 6,000 feet high.
At the hut I ran into a Japanese guy that I had chatted with at the trailhead. He asked to hike with me, which was a little annoying: I like to hike alone. But soon I was very glad, as the rest of the ascent was increasingly hairy:
Near the summit the wind was so bad that I stood on a gravel patch and the wind pushed me across the patch like a sailboat. Kenji and I had to hold onto ropes at one point to avoid getting blown off the side.
As I began the descent, my right knee blew up and I had an increasingly hard time walking. It took me a couple of hours longer to come down, which tells you how bad it was. Kenji-san was a great guy, refusing to leave me alone until I slowly hobbled off the mountain.