Authorities in Japan have issued a warning to climbers not to go up Mount Fuji until the trails officially open after four bodies were recovered from the mountain this week. Three people were found unconscious in and around the crater on Wednesday. Police later confirmed that they all died. The bodies were found on the Shizuoka side of Japan’s highest mountain in locations away from each other, suggesting they may have been climbing separately. The mountain rescue team were searching for a 53-year-old man after the police received a call from his wife on Sunday morning, reporting him missing.

Professional Climber Dies After Falling Ill on Mount Fuji  

The man, who began the ascent on Friday evening, was expected home on Saturday. After sending a photo of himself at the summit, he couldn’t be reached. While searching for the man, the rescue team found two other people in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest. Police are now working to identify the bodies and determine how they died. On the same day, Keita Kurakami, 38, a rock-climbing ambassador for Patagonia Inc., fell ill while on the Yoshida Trail on the Yamanashi side. He was rescued by police officers checking paths on the mountain. However, sadly, he also passed away.  

“Mount Fuji in winter is classified as one of the toughest mountains for winter climbing in Japan,” mountain guide Shunji Takekawa told NHK. “Conditions are so severe that people with just some experience with ordinary mountains in winter can’t deal with it. It still has some snow in June, so a climber must know that conditions won’t be different to those of winter.” Adding to the danger is the fact that maintenance work can’t be done during the off-season. Lodges and aid stations are also closed. The climbing season for the popular Yoshida Trail begins next Monday, July 1. Trails on the Shizuoka side officially open on July 10. 

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