“So where are you staying tonight?”
“At the top of the mountain.”
“At the hut?”
“No, at the top of the mountain. I’ve got my bivy bag with me.”
Along the col from Hakuba to Karamatsu, then along the ridge to Goryu hut. At 4pm the last few stragglers were making their way back down from the peak, and I set out for the top.
“You won’t make it down in time! The sun’s setting in a hour.
“No problem, I’m staying at the top.”
“Gaijin are…” he searched for the word, “..unique.”
The summit was about the size of a billiard table. I scraped the larger rocks away and cleared a space for the night. The clouds rolled in on the warm air from the Sea of Japan and cut off my little island in the troposphere from the mainland below. Other islands jutted out in the distance, black against the pale clouds below. I wondered if there were others out there, shipwrecked like me for the night.