Monday, November 20th, 2023

The trail guide said “Difficulty: Medium.” I’d like to disagree.

Steep climb up a mountain in Japan

It started off as what I was used to for a “Medium”. Steep, not amazingly well made, the odd chain or rope for a bit of help.

Hard, but manageable.

And this was all right. Bits of the path had been stabilized at some point. Not maintained though. The path became slippery as the material disintegrated.

Guide ropes went from “a bit of a hand” to “yeah, no chance, mate.” A trail became a tightrope with sheer drops on either side (or so it seemed). A joyful yomp in the mountains became …


I decided enough was enough. The map (proper paper thing) said 250 meters to the summit. I was 500-600 meters on from the last walkable path. Logic said keep going and join a trail UP THERE. Reality said I had lost all faith in the map. Forward was uncertainty. Back was certain.

So I went back.

Sometimes defeat is a valid option. Lose the battle, but win the war. Live to fight another day. Maybe literally.

Next year I might come back and have another crack at it. Then again, it might have deteriorated further. And I’ll be a year old and a touch wobblier.

There was this though: for all the hell it put me through, I did enjoy it. And the views were great…

A scene across the city in Japan

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.