Climb every mountain

Just have a plan for the way back down.

Accidents have almost doubled on Mt. Takao, Japan’s most popular mountain for climbers, as people visit the suburban Tokyo peak in increasing numbers, police said.

There were 43 reported accidents on the mountain last year, almost double the average number from each year from 2004 to 2006.

Blamed for its growing accident rate is its proximity to central Tokyo, leading to a lack of sufficient preparations for its fickle climate, and the mountain’s inclusion in a Michelin travel guide for French speakers.

“OK, so it’s only a small mountain, but it’s a mountain nonetheless,” Kenichiro Maruyama, head of the Takao Police Station’s Alpine Rescue Taskforce, said. “Not thinking enough about what’s needed for mountain climbing is inviting trouble.”

Takao is just under 600 meters high and an hour drive from Tokyo. The combination of the two makes it a popular place to visit.

However climbers appear to leave their brains at home.

On the night of March 23, Takao Police Station received an alert that a woman had got lost on the mountain. Four members of its Alpine Rescue Taskforce were sent out to search for her. About two hours later, they came across the 34-year-old company employee sitting down beside a mountain trial. She had gone to the mountain at about 3 p.m. that day. She reached the summit and planned to take a different route to the foot of the peak, but it started getting dark and she lost her way. She did not have water or a flashlight and had gone out as though preparing for a picnic.

Of the 43 reported accidents last year, six were serious, involving broken bones. Many accidents are reported among elderly hikers and women going to the mountain while wearing high-heeled shoes.

It appears I’m not the only masochist. Feel free to make your own wisecracks.

Hat tip- Japundit

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