Monday, February 25, 2008

Alto Peak (1,332+)

ALTO PEAK
Ormoc City, Leyte

Major jump-off: Lake Danao National Park, Ormoc
LLA: 11.1061 N, 124.7097 E, 1332 MASL (unverified)
Days required / Hours to summit: 3-4 days / 11-14 hours*
Specs: Exploration, Major Climb, Difficulty 6/9, Trail class 3 with unestablished trails

BACKGROUND
Outdoorsman Adonis Lloren shares another of his adventures - this time at Alto Peak in Ormoc, Leyte. The highest in Eastern Visayas (Region VIII), Alto Peak stands majestically on a beautiful realm, the Lake Danao National Park, home to a rich variety of fauna and flora. The domain is also home to farming communities whose vegetable plantations - and cool clime - are somewhat reminscent of the Cordilleras.

Lake Danao is the jump-off point in the trek. Said to be home to giant eels, carps, and other freshwater creatures, the guitar-shaped lake is an outdoor destination in itself, with an already
impressive elevation of about 830 MASL. You can have a boat ride in the lake and enjoy the view of the surrounding, cloudcapped mountains of the Amandiwin range.

If proceeding to Alto Peak, you can make Lake Danao your staging-off point. Ormoc City, which is just 45 minutes away, is another possibility. The climb proper will take you to the even more secluded, and much more enchanting Lake Hanagdan, after three hours of trek. The trail is set on a forest with an impressive array of flora and fauna.

From Lake Hanagdan, you will have to descent for around 3 hours to reach the PNOC drill area. This segment of the trek is somewhat exposed to the sun. Wild strawberries, called 'bingit' by the locals, abound especially during the summer months - a welcome treat. The geothermal potential of this place is manifested by the sulfur vents beneath, and the volcanic soils that mat the campsite area. The entire trek beyond Hanagdan takes around 4-5 hours - and brings you in full view of the majestic Alto Peak.

The next day is devoted to the summit assault. In Sir Adonis' words: "DAY 2 is such a bold attempt but it is possible. however, the peak assault could be really precarious as the terrain glides to a 60-degree angle to the horizontal. I would suggest therefore that, only trail water (or in the case of the trail-blazers, plus ropes) be brought along. the peak assault, as soon as a trail has been established, could be just like Batulao assault from camp 5 I guess. so there's no need to take meals there." The UP Tacloban (Saklang Mountaineers) have reported a successful summit assault of Alto Peak in 2001. There have been reports of other summit ascents, but Alto Peak would be the first of what PinoyMountaineer.com would label as "Exploration" mountains (along with Mt. Patukan in Kalinga), i.e. mountains with less than 10 recorded ascents.

ITINERARY
PinoyMountaineer is still researching the most suitable IT for Alto Peak. This is based on Sir
Adonis' climb in 2007 and other accounts.


Day 0
Arrival at Lake Danao from Ormoc

Day 1
0700 ETD from Lake Danao
1100 ETA Lake Hanagdan
1200 Resume trek
1500 Reach PNOC old drilling site
1700 Reach campsite

Day 2

0500 Early breakfast
0600 Commence summit assault (no established trail)
1200 ETA Alto Peak; lunch at summit
1300 Start descent
1800 Back at campsite

Day 3
0500 Start descent
0900 Back at Campsite
1000 Resume trek to Lake Hanagdan
1500 ETA Lake Hanagdan
1800 Back at Lake Danao; spend night with locals

Day 4
Head back to Ormoc and proceed to final destination

SPECIAL CONCERNS
Being exploratory in nature, 'Day 2' of the itinerary is suggested only with the company of an experienced hiker or a guide. Since there is no trail, brace yourself for thick vegetation. Otherwise, one can skip the Alto Peak summit assualt, converting the itinerary into a 2-day major climb from Ormoc City. The two lakes, Danao and Hanagdan, are rewarding enough. Just the same, prepare 3-4 days in case you are lured by Alto Peak!

You may contact Ormoc Tourism, via Ms. Corazon Makabenta for more information. Phone numbers: +63533257268 / +639172778884.

TRIVIA
The area around Ormoc City is really mountainous and could serve as one of the next frontiers of Philippine mountaineering. Alto Peak is so named because 'Alto' in Spanish for 'High', in the same way that the Americans christened Mt. Tapulao as 'High Peak'.

HIGH POINTS OF VISAYAS
Panay Island: Mt. Madjaas
Negros Island: Mt. Kanlaon
Cebu Island: OsmeƱa Peak
Samar-Leyte: Alto Peak

ORMOC CITY WEATHER OUTLOOK


PinoyMountaineer.com thanks Sir Adonis for sharing his mountain adventure in Alto Peak. Pictures here used with his permission.

34 comments:

adonis said...

cool...it's finally here in pinoymountaineer
more power sir gid!

gideon said...

thanks for your contributions sir! we look forward to your next adventure :D

Anonymous said...

sir gid,
ask q lng po if safe bang akyatin ngaung dec ung alto pk, i mean wala po bang mga npa dun? uwi xe kmi sa ormoc this xmas break, we're planing to climb alto.

Joey SMI said...

Hello fellow Mountaineers and to those aspiring to climb Alto Peak in Ormoc-Jaro Leyte boundaries.

I am one of the founding members of Saklang Mountaineers Inc., founded in University of the Philippines Tacloban College way back 1994. I would like to share some notes in climbing the highest peak in Leyte-Samar islands which in our calculation rise at about 1,800 meters ASL per our Sunto Altimeter and comparable features with other mountains of the same altitude. Even as a kid, I wondered if the tallest peak of the Amandawing ranges that serves as the backbone of Leyte could be possibly climbed one day. It was during my college days when I had a formal orientation and acquaintance to mountaineering as a hobby and later on ripen into passion. In 1995, along with a group of four other founding members of the club, we embarked on a daring attempt to climb and summit Alto Peak from Ormoc City. What culminated was only a three day successful traverse from ormoc to the town of Jaro, Leyte. Given the lack of time and supplies, we have to abort our plan to scale straight to the peak. Note that it is our club's practice not to hire guides and porters during exploration climbs and simply rely only on our knowledge in map reading and study of the area that we endeavor to explore.

The idea of climbing Alto Peak was revived in 2001 when I was already working with a bank in Tacloban City upon the suggestions of my clubmates and some of our new members in the collegiate. This time, we took the Jaro trail going to the abandoned PNOC drilling road. Again, the plan did not materialized in the middle of the climb and instead, we decided to climb Mt. Janagdan that boasts of its almost perfect circle crater lake, and go down via Ormoc on our way home. Our group lack the necessary preparation to scale ridges en route to the peak due to the thick and almost impassable vegetations. It was not in 2001 but in November 1 of 2004 when we finally and successfully summitted Alto peak under a three day climb IT along with five other highly experienced and seasoned mountaineers in the group and one lady guest climber, though, she really have the guts and determination to be with us all the way to the summit. Our thorough planning coupled with our determination this time yielded success and tiumph on our part to be the first mountaineering group that conquered our own limitations and reach the elusive summit of Alto Peak. The climb was a well shared effort initiated by the group who relied on my leadership attribute as well as familiarity and experience with that particular mountain and (you can find an account of this as contributed by our guest climber Ms. Eleanor Palomo on our long abandoned website saklang.tripod.com).

The climb was really a very though one and I can consider it as the toughest among the mountains that I scaled and summited (given the almost vertical walls near the peak that you will come accross and you would only have a few not so tough weeds to hold on to, its a "one miss you die trail" up there) , among them Mt. Apo (1995 & 2003), Mt. Kinabalu (2006), Mt. Kalatungan (1995, MFPI hosted by NORMMS, this climb is also a bloody one with three days up and two days down IT via Lantapan-Pangantukan traverse, but still, Hail Manny Serena and the rest of the NORMMS for a good hosted climb),Mt. Talinis, Pulag, Mt. Pangasugan, etc. I still have to check and compare its difficulty with G2 in Sibuyan come Holy Week should our plan pushes thru to ascertain the level of difficulty of Alto Peak. What I mean here is that climbing Alto Peak is not a joke. One must really need the full physical and mental preparation to get thru it. Though its so easy to reach the abandoned PNOC road (either from Ormoc or Jaro), one can not easily locate the connecting trail leading to the peak because if you are trekking along the abandoned road, you can hardly tell that the hidden brook leading to the peak is behind those tall grasses. I am not sure if Adonis Lloren really made it to the summit of Alto peak but he could have seen two credit cards that I hanged in two of the trees up there as aproof of our claim. I am confused by the flimsy IT submitted here that might lead us to nowhere during assault. So here, I a submitting two ITs for Alto Peak if you would please:

OPTION A: Alto Peak via Jaro (back track)

(the starting point is in the town proper of Jaro, Leyte more or less 37 kms SW of Tacloban City)

DAY 1:

0600- Take single motorcycle (habal2) either to Bry. San Javier or Brgy. Rubas (the issue here between the two is cost versus distance, it is cheaper to start in San Javier but the trekking distance to the abandoned road is farther and a little bit harder)
0630/0700- arrive preferred jump off points. (There are no sure locals who are engaged in being a guide as a living, the best that you can get is direction that the trail lies somewhere out there or if your lucky enough, they might take you straight to the abandoned road).

1130- Lunch on trail
1200 resume trek to the abandoned road.
1500- ETA PNOC drilling abandoned road
- Camp, rest and prepare for DAY2

Day 2:

0700- Start assault to the summit
1400- Reach Peak then camp overnight at the summit (It is suggested that you load water from the campsite below since there are no water on the peak (observe water discipline), or like we did, just brought along bread loaves instead of cooking rice for dinner and breakfast on Day 3)

Another option is just to bring an assault pack with water and a packed lunch then go down after summitting Alto peak, though, this might be too hectic and the danger lies in not reaching the base camp in the abandoned road in due time before it gets dark.

Day 3:

Descent from Peak to the abandoned road then straight to Brgy. Rubas trail. A hot spring that merges with a cool brook where the climber can relax lies 45 mins before the Brgy proper.

One can take Habal habal from Brgy. Rubas to Jaro town proper then proceed to final destination (Tacloban City or Ormoc City as the case may be.


OPTION B: Ormoc to Alto Peak

Day 1:

You can make use of the IT posted above based on Sir Adonis' 2007 climb but only until Day 1, substitute Day 2 of Option A for Day 2 of Option B. Or you can skip Lake Danao and head straight to Brgy Cabingtan via PUJ leaving Ormoc in the morning with last trip at 10AM. Brgy. Cabintan is the jump off point to the crater lake of Mt. Janagdan. If you want to, you can climb Mt. Janagdan overnight first as welcome climb in prelude to Alto Peak. Descend on the following day and start trek to the abandoned road campsite and stay there as in Day 1 of Option A. The following day (day 3), you can substitute Day 2 of Option A. Upon your descent on Day 4, you have the option to go down the Rubas trail and come out in Jaro or trek back to Brgy. Cabintan. If you choose the Cabintan trail, you will have to stay in the Brgy overnight and wait for the first trip the following day at early morning since the last trip to Ormoc is between 11AM to 1PM only. If youre lucky enough, you can hitch by the trucks that haul vegetables from Cabintan back to Ormoc City where you can have a better city night gimmick or head straight to Cebu on midnight slowboat trips.

This ends my notes for Alto Peak and hope you can pick up helpful tips from this. If you have more inquiries, feel free to e-mail me at fat_joem@yahoo.com or text me at 09213980808. Maybe we can arrange a climb together if my time permits.

N.B.

Insurgency problem around the area had been an issue before but thanks to the military detachment stationed near the Ormoc-Jaro boundaries. Just be courteous and submit to their questions otherwise they might construed that we are one of the "nice people around" and their well positioned sniper concealed behind the bushes will just wait for the signal to fire at us . This happened the last time we climbed the Lake-Danao-Lake Janagdan- Jaro route last June of 2007 along with mountaineers and members of Manila based Taong Bundok Backpackers (TBB) who usually climb with us here once in a while. I also had the chance to climb with them in Pulag in February of last year.

Good Luck and More Climbs to come!!!

Joey

gideon said...

hi sir joey, thanks for finally giving light on what seems to be a comprehensive itinerary of alto peak. including the summit, alto peak will certainly merit a difficulty of 8/9 based on your descriptions. thank you and we hope to hear from you again soon!

kevin timothy said...

sir gid,

we also did a successful climb at alto peak! we made it last dec. 24-27 '08... it's really great! di po nmin napuntahan ung mt.janagdan...

what makes alto peak a difficult climb?

1. its weather, walang araw na hindi kmi inulan and malamig po talaga.
2. its terrain, thick vegetation, walang trail tlaga after you have reached PNOC old drill site.(madaming tinik, naglalakihang centipede at milipede-katachot)(peo ang cucute ng mga pitcher plants.)
3. its steep trails, as said by sir joey,"you would only have a few not so tough weeds to hold on to".
4. its clouds, puro clouds! puro clouds! this makes the exact location of the peak harder to find. (twice lng nmin nakita ng buong buo ung peak.4pm)

kaya nmn po nila to, better have guts and good preparation lng ang massggest ko...
brgy. cabingtan offers guide and very warm nmn ang pagwelcome nla...

-kev-

gideon said...

hi kev,

congrats! do you have pictures of your climb? im interested to know more about the climb that you did; let me know how i can contact you. you can email me at info@pinoymountaineer.com

gideon

kevin timothy said...

tnx po sir

yes i do have sir...

tignan mu n lng po sa multiply q... invite mu nlng pla q! haha... bgo lng ung accnt q kya un plng halos ung picture... hehehe... www.kevntimothy.multiply.com

hirs my no. 0927 848 7066

Anonymous said...

hi all,

we were able to summit alto peak last August 15-16 with the help of a local guide that we hired from brgy. cabintan jumpoff. we setup camp at around 1,100 masl as per the casio protrek series worn by our fellow climber. the site where we camped has no level ground but the summit is just only an hour away. from brgy. cabintan jumpoff, it took roughly 4 hours for us to reach that campsite. i'll be posting the pictures in my multiply site sooner for more detailes account of our climb.

Jhoc said...

hello guys! i have been to most of this places,if you need a guide,feel free to contact me. jhoc.nalda@gmail.com

bongkag said...

we also did a succesful climb @ alto peak|we made it last oct.3-5-09 it is compose of 25 person from IMS and ORMOC MOUNTAINEER its really tough

Anonymous said...

@bongkag - congrats sir bong! by the way you can check out this site for the pictures http://imagesandworlds.multiply.com/photos/album/77/Tukad_sa_ALTO_Peak

thanks!

kevin timothy said...

@ bonkag -
whoah! ive seen ur pics on ur site.. indeed it was the alto peak.. quite a view u got.. ung time po xe na kmi mgsummit(dec 24- 26, 2008) may bagyo nun kya panget view.. tough climate and long road to pass through plus u have to make ur own trails from last camp to the summit.. were just 3 when we summited alto peak..2 from leyte, and me, from cavite... but it is better nga if maraming ksama.. i hope i can go back to that place agen..

God bless po sa group nyo!

Anonymous said...

mga sir im from samar and im residng at manila.. pag mag climb kau sa alto pwde po sumama? inform ko po ung mga ka grupo ko... its a very nice place .. hope to climb with you...
@kevin tga cavite ka ba?? are you a member in any mountaineering grup in cavite?? my kaibigan kc ako na united cavite mountaineers Inc..

Anonymous said...

http://adventuresforever.multiply.com/photos/album/14/ALTO_peak_Feb_27-28_2010

Feb 27-28 2010 ALTO PEAK successful climb 2 days and 1 night only

Anonymous said...

Saan po mccontact si sir jhoc? my number po ba kayo jan?plan kasi namin mag climb this first week of april..and we desperately need a guide,sa pagka alam namin sya lng ang available na guide dun. delikado daw kasi daming npa. paki email lng po sa details:

bicolexpressmountaineers
c/o jhondandoy@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Mga sir sa bicol express mountaineers,
Wen po and exact climb date niyo sa Alto?

EMERALD said...

taga allen, northern samar po me, but living now in QC,sana makaakyat din ang group namin sa ALTO PEAK, ganda pala ng bundok halohalo ang forests.../benjie of IBMC-cavite

Jhoc said...

Sa mga taga bicol express. ngaun ko lang nabasa eto..set nyo nalang ulit,mas maganda ngaun summer kasi hindi madulas ang trail,at pwede ko kayo sama sa crash site ng isang world war-II fighter plane,na bago kong discover...

Contact nyo lang ako.. 09179783909 email add ko: jhoc.nalda@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I think alto peak is not in Ormoc. i think it's part of Jaro, Leyte.

Anonymous said...

sir benjie of IBMC-CAVITE... anung grupo mo puro waray din? we came from laoang n. samar, umaakyat din kami, we are a group of 5 lhat taga dun samin sa ngaun, we are trying to expand our group, ngstart kami last may 2010 lang, pro ako umakyat na waybak my kolej days mga year 2002 kya lang tumigil ng mgwork ako... we r willing to be with our fellow waray climbing mountains.. pra d mhrap magtagalog.. hehe. email me at mandirigma_81@yahoo.com or add my fb acount. ty sir! mabuhay an mga waray!

Anonymous said...

at mandirigma.. waray2 din ako. txt me,09104261625.. tnx.

Lagataw said...

I'm the guy in the photos. I'll be spending my Xmas and NYD in Cebu. I'll be in Leyte on Jan 2. That will have been my 3rd attempt on Alto peak. I have never summited Alto before because my first guide didn't know the trailhead. My second attempt was unguided. But I know the traverse trail.
Anybody interested in joining me on this Jaro-Ormoc Alto traverse, just let me know. I need only 2-3 buddies.
Jan 2-4. My flight back to Manila is on the fifth.

Anonymous said...

Hi, would love to join you on Alto, kaso mabagal ako haha maiiwan lang ako. Anyways nasa bucketlist ko yang Alto Peak this coming year kaya yan ang una sa list ng mga ibubook ko pag nagkaPiso Fare ang CebPac. Pashare na lang po sana ng IT ng Alto Traverse. Sana kaya ng dayhike. Hehe. Thanks Sir Adonis.

BPS.

lagataw said...

kaya ng dayhike if you're gonna charter a vehicle. The road to the base of the peak is wide enough to accomodate a jeepney, or at least a habal-habal. tnx for giving the idea...i might hire a habal-habal this time. and do the dayhike. but it's a mighty dusty dirtroad!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info sir. Mas ok kasi ang dayhike para mgaan lang ang dala and less the hassle ng setting up and breaking camp. Please share naman po yung traverse IT nyo after. Thanks thanks

BPS

egla ka said...

cebu base po kami 1750 pa rin ang aming entrance fee wla discount ..... enjoy nature..... simians mountaineering....

Anonymous said...

wild climbers: wild agta, wild sigbin, wild butterfly, wild ant, wild duck and wild dinosaur successfully climb the alto peak last may 06-07, 2011 in the middle of thunderstorm and heavy rains. We set-up camp at the peak overnight and trailed back by 8am the following day. Its a very tough climb and a very memorable one. Thanks to our vey brilliant guide, Sir Jhoc Nalda.

Riu said...

...Alto is a tough one. the thorns the almost vertical trails, the climate, The approx. 2 hour hike from the brgy proper(Brgy. Cabintan) to the foot(shoulder) of the mountain can tire you more than the trail up.

summited yesterday. It was fun. :)

jfybonzwa said...

hello fellow mountaineers,

check out our Alto Peak Adventure photos..I think i don't need to describe the kind of trails Alto has..see for yourself @ http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.214857958536035.56137.100000354972216

jfybonzwa said...

hello fellow mountaineer,

check out my Alto Peak Adventure May 28-29, 2011 Photos.. I think i don't need to describe the trails Alto trek has.. Just see for yourself.. http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.214857958536035.56137.100000354972216

jfybonzwa said...

hey guys check out my Alto Peak Adventure May 28-29, 2011 Photos http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.214857958536035.56137.100000354972216

Lyngve Skrede said...

My trip report, photos and GPS-track from a climb of Alto Peak Oct-20 (2011) can be found at my website
distantpeak

Anonymous said...

contact number ng guide jhoc nalda 09172558923

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