Saturday, March 4, 2017

My Initiation to Mountain Climbing

Mountain climbing is actually in my bucket list but I was not expecting it to realize so soon.

As I was thinking of more ways to do fitness enjoyably, I heard from my colleague,  Biena Duerme, that she's been joining a group of friends who climbed mountains. So I told her how I wished that they could squeeze me in the next climb they shall be having. And then the invite came few days later to climb Mount Batulao.

Mount Batulao, I researched is good for beginners, with two routes available to take,  called Old and New Trails. As most climber posted, the slopes are manageable to climb up the 811+-meter above sea level height peak.

This will be my first, an initiation to a group of friends who love to conquer the fear of heights. Boss Jess is the head of the pack and stood as the organizer. Right after Bien introduced me to the group,  he immediately provided me a copy of the itinerary.

March 3 came and the friday ended at the office but my new adventure has just began. I joined Biena and laid by the time at their place,  which is close to McDonald's of Taft-Buendia as our assembly area. We mistook the assembly time to be 1130pm instead of 130am, so the two of us were the earliest to wait at McDonald's.

We departed on time and arrived at the dropoff at 4am. I dozed off a bit but my excitement took better of me. After some preliminaries, costume changes,  registration and team prayer,  we proceeded to our ascent. The first 3 hours of crossing upward and downward slopes was manageable. We passed by several nipa huts which served as guard houses to register. I later learned that it was so because we were crossing boundaries of properties owned by different individuals.

The drizzles made the climb more challenging but aided to cooling off our feeling from exhaustion. We reached the wet camp sites at 7am. I enjoyed myself counting down the camp stonemarks. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7... They were all gradual climbs. Then a sudden and difficult trail towards camp 8 followed and we endured. Another steep climb using a knotted rope followed to reach camp 9. And then we found ourselves down, crawling, with our full arms grasping the earth, until we afforded to stand on equilibrium at the summit. We shouted silently of relief and jubilation when camp 10's stone marking came in sight.

We celebrated the successful climb with a breakfast sandwich, mami noodles, and hot coffee. There were other groups of climbers arriving from both tracks. And at 8am, the summit was packed of conquerors. It was foggy around, so we only peeked about the view below once in a while until the call to start descent arrived at 9am.

We never expected that our way down the new trail was harder than going up. The slopes are steeper, the dirt drier and slippery, humid weather, and more knotted ropes. We were back at the pickup point at around 12 noon.

Having washed up and changed, we went drove back to Manila. But first as per itinerary, we dropped by Tagaytay City for the famous bulalo meal.