Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Essay: An introduction to mountain climbing

by Gideon Lasco

Suppose you've never tried climbing a mountain before, but your interest has been aroused. Maybe you've heard stories from your friends, or saw pictures on Facebook, or perhaps you've chanced upon this website and you find yourself being attracted by the mountains you read about. What then? How exactly does one begin to take up mountain climbing?

To address these questions, I've decided to write this introduction to mountain climbing. For those who are deeply interested in hiking and wishes to correspond with me personally, you can email me at gideon@pinoymountaineer.com. Like any other person, I would like to choose my hiking companions well, and if you feel that you and I can go along well in the trails, then I can even invite you to join some of my climbs. For foreigners who wish to visit the Philippines and climb mountains, you may likewise email us. Also, there are pages here that try to address your concerns such as security.


First, a note on semantics: what we Filipinos usually refer to as 'mountaineering' actually approximates what in other countries would be termed as 'hiking', 'trekking', 'walking', or, as my dear friend Jo Steven puts it, 'tramping'. Abroad, mountaineering or climbing usually refers to technical climbing and/or alpinism. Yet, as i emphasized in my Essay: Mountaineering vs. Hiking vs. Trekking, for me terms do not really matter; what is important is what you know and love what you are doing - whatever they call it.

What does mountain climbing entail? Do you have to be strong and athletic? Being physically fit and agile; having strength and endurance -these are important things but they are not required of someone who wants to go into hiking. Don't let your physical condition stop you! The truth is, most mountains in the Philippines can be climbed by an ordinary person; every year dozens of elderly people climb Mt. Banahaw - a Difficulty 5/9 climb by PinoyMountaineer standards. As you climb more often, your body will adapt to hiking, and soon you will have an easier time. Check out the Preparing for a climb guide to help you in this regard.

Although physical training is very important, even more paramount is understanding the risks involved in climbing mountains. It sounds easy at first, and the pictures really look very nice but it isn't the case all the time.

Really, the first step is to acknowledge and understand that there are risks involved. Deaths do happen in mountain-related accidents - you can visit our Registry of climb-related deaths. By knowing basic protocols on safety and security, you are not only protecting yourself but also your climb mates. What if you go to Mt. Maculot and suddenly somebody falls over the Rockies? What will you do?

Indeed, with so many itineraries being available in PinoyMountaineer and other websites, there is now the danger of doing away with standard practices and just deciding to go up mountains as if it were a picnic, or a thing to do with your barkada. Take note that the itineraries in PinoyMountaineer are meant for hikers. Even more difficult would be to organize a climb based on an online itinerary without knowing the abilities/skills/limitations of your participants. Let's say you decided to invite people to tag along, and suddenly somebody has an asthma attack. What will you do? As the organizer, of course you have some responsibility. So inasmuch as the website tries to gather as much information as possible, we wish for responsible use of this information.

Thus I exhort everyone who has interest in mountains to do it the proper way - that is, to learn the basics. There are two ways to learn hiking properly. The first one is to undergo a Basic Mountaineering Course or BMC. The second is by being mentored by an experienced hiker -- i.e. apprenticeship. The most common (and recommended) way is by attending a BMC, which is usually built-in as part of the application process of hiking clubs.
By joining such clubs, you will be guided not only by the BMC, but by veteran climbers from whose experiences you can learn a lot. You may ask, how do I join these clubs and what clubs are available? We have a list of mountaineering clubs from all over the Philippines in the sidebar of the site; there is also a page that lists clubs that offer BMC. Naturally, you should look for a club that is within your locality, or school or company. See here the list of mountaineering clubs in the Philippines.

If you do decide to join a club, what will be expected of you? And what should you expect? Well, basically the application usually centers on the Basic Mountaineering Course. This includes skills and fitness training (running, jogging, wall climbing); orientation on safety (lectures, discussions); and taking part in an organization (batch project, team building, etc.). The UP Mountaineers (UPM) has an excellent BMC Wiki which could give you a better idea of what to expect. Of course, there are training climbs that culminates - together with the rest of the application - in an induction climb. Is it hard? The established mountaineering clubs usually take their BMC seriously - and so should you. If you decide to join one, make sure you have the commitment to attend their scheduled activities -- and always be on time. We may be Filipinos and thus prone to using "Filipino time" but as mountaineers, we should follow mountain time -- that is, being on time and following the itinerary as much as possible.

The advantages of joining a mountaineering club are many. For one, you automatically meet a lot of people who share your hobby, and you can rely on them for advise on climbing and equipment. Speaking of equipment, most groups have their own group stuff like tents, cooking utensils, etc. Also, you get to climb as a team - and as they say, there is safety in numbers (not to mention that you'll get that rented jeep to Pulag easily). The drawback is, you cannot always dictate what destinations to visit, and you cannot always have a say on when climbs are going to be held. Still, being part of a mountaineering club is a very important part of mountaineering - not only do you get to do climbs, but projects, other outdoor activities such as rock climbing, island hopping -- so this should be your priority.

The second way to learn the basics by learning from other experienced climbers: i.e. by apprenticeship. For instance, my friend Jo Steven is one of the most experienced alpine climbers I've met. She started learning hiking through experience, by joining her parents and elder brother in their family climbs. By the time she was a teenager, she had climbed hundreds of mountains, with the necessary skills and love for the environment that comes with climbing. It doesn't make sense for her to have to go through a BMC just because people see it as the way to get into hiking.

However, to be a successful hiker without a BMC, you must either have grown up in a family of hikers, or you have very experienced hikers as companions who have pledged to guide or train you in a sort of apprenticeship. These situations are not readily available to everyone, so if you are a newbie, I would still recommend that you (1) try to find a mountaineering club or at least (2) get yourself a BMC training.

Be wary, though: some people might invite you to join their organization, but in the end, their organization may not be credible. Worse, they might be just after your money. A mark of a credible organization is that you can really see its members' passion for hiking, and that they are not really concerned about money or publicity.

An emerging trend is 'freelancing' - climbing by one's self and joining open climbs. In fact, the foundation of some mountaineering groups are freelance mountaineers who grouped together. Is this advisable, as a beginner? Again, my answer would be, only if you are in the company of experienced hikers who can guide you. I would still recommend joining a club; if, after the training, you want to be more flexible with your climbs, then be a freelancer after you've joined a club.

I'm sure you would want to know where the best mountain is to start with. Where is the best first climb? Any daytrip would actually do: but most climbers start off with Maculot, Batulao, Pico de Loro, Manabu Peak - the nearest ones. Yet, I encourage you to diversify especially since these mountains are becoming "congested" with so many people climbing them. Mountains in PinoyMountaineer are classified by difficulty (check out the classification system in this link); you can opt for the Difficulty 2-3 mountains first, and then go higher up the ladder as you accrue more experience.

Of course, for many, especially young people, the real first step is having to ask permission from their parents. If you are having difficulty in convincing your parents or girlfriend to allow you to climb, you have to convince them that mountain climbing is generally safe, and you have done your part in learning mountain safety. Give them itineraries, update them on your status whenever there's signal. In our mountain entries, the presence of cellphone signal is usually mentioned. Remember 127 Hours? The lesson in this movie is to tell your loved ones where you're going, and give them contact numbers of your hiking pals so they know who to contact in an emergency. Some hikers I know had difficulty in convincing their parents, but through experience, they are able to prove that it is safe after all.

How much do you have to ask from them, or get from your own pocket? And exactly what equipment do you need? I answered this as the first-ever Question of the Week. For daytrips you actually don't need anything but as time goes by, you may want to get decent bags (a 30 L dayhike bag and a 45-60 L overnighter); a really reliable pair of Merrells (or equivalent). The flaslights, whistles, and hat are easy but then you can also invest on a 1-2 person tent, and finally, you can start to be "self-contained" when you acquire your own cookset and portable stove. All these can fit within P20,000, and you can do it piece by piece. If you need more information on gadgets and gears, check out Gadgets and Gears.

If you're worried about the cost, bear in mind that if you take good care of your equipment, they can last for a long time and if you're really into climbing, they'll be worth it. Where to buy these things? Manila has outdoor shops like ROX in the Fort; we have a comprehensive list of outdoor shops in the Philippines. Moreover, we have prepared 10 tips for a budget-friendly climb to help you financially prepare for a climb.

You should also know how to use the itineraries in PinoyMountaineer. Be intelligent enough to read and understand the articles and other people's notes before asking questions. The PinoyMtnr ITs have a pattern: know the mountain's background, read the itinerary to have an idea how long it will take; and then go to the "Special Concerns" to find out exactly how to do it. Read all the comments of other climbers for the latest updates and their suggestions. Try to do research on your own, and as a special favor, I'd like to ask you to contribute updates as well whenever you climb.

What else can you be thinking, as a beginner? If you are hypochondriac and fear being bitten a snake, I assure you that the chance of you even seeing a snake is very minimal, especially if at first you'll be hitting minor, popular climbs like Maculot and Batulao. As the saying goes, "Mas
takot ang ahas sa tao, kaysa takot ang tao sa ahas". Of course, if you climb long enough and go for more "exploratory" mountains, you're bound to see them more - see my personal encounters with snakes.

Then there is also the small but feared limatik - we have a whole page addressing this concern - and it even won in the Philippine Blog Awards! The major health concern are injuries (wounds, fractures) so try to concentrate on the trail as much as possible. This will also help you avoid getting lost. As a beginner, don't just follow the leader. Trail vigilance and trail familiarity is expected of you. Another equally important health concern is overdrinking on the campsite. Personally I do not approve of getting drunk in the mountains, and I can cite medical reasons for my disapproval: alcohol impairs judgment, among other things. I have nothing against drinking per se: Aside from creating a more sociable, friendly atmosphere at night, alcohol brings a perception of warmth to the body and enables a more restful sleep. But don't get drunk. As a medical doctor, I have devoted an entire section of PinoyMountaineer called "Climb health" for medical concerns.

Oh, and before I forget. Another thing that pops out is, "So, how do you do it on the mountains?" Brace for the inevitable: there are no toilets in the mountains and there is no other way but do it the old-fashioned way. The reason why groups have a trowel is because you have to dig. Be decent enough to do so, lest your campsite be permeated with foul stench when the wind blows (note that 50 meters is the ideal distance between the campsite and the "site of impact"). I understand that this can be quite uncomfortable for some, but hikers just get used to it. Anyway, first climbs are usually daytrips and even overnight trips that do not actually require you to mind this concern. At least not yet. But still, this is a must-know.

Lest you become jealous of others, make sure you bring a camera especially if you're after the views. Having your own camera would enable you to document your own perspective of a mountain: an individual may focus on the background; some may focus on the climbers - your shots will capture your own experience as no else could - and you won't have to hassle everyone with "Ako rin, pa-picture!". Cold weather depletes batteries faster than in normal circumstances - so extra batteries for your cellphones / cameras will come in handy.

Have a website or a Faceboook page where other people can form networks with you. And in the mountains, inclusiveness, not exclusivity, is the right attitude. Be warm and friendly with everyone, and soon you'll have a network of like-minded friends with whom you can climb or discuss climbing. There are many forums online, and PinoyMountaineer has the largest online community of Filipino hikers on Facebook - you are welcome to join the PM Facebook page!

Mountaineers usually make it a point to greet each other with the honorific "Ma'am/Sir" when meeting on the trails: even in other countries hikers greet each other so make sure you practice this. Some words used may sound jargon to you; check out Climbspeak - a glossary of Philippine mountaineering terms. But while being friendly and sociable are good attributes, please, do not be noisy when in the mountains - be respectful of nature, and be respecful of other climbers. As the LNT principles aptly state, "Let nature's sounds prevail!"

I tell you: it is all worth it. Whatever expenses you incur, or difficult training you undergo; hiking is very much worth it: it is not just the beauty of the views, but the challenge of the trails; the camaraderie of like-minded individuals; and the sheer tranquility of nature that will reward you. And of course, mountaineering is a sport, a social activity - relaxation and exertion - at the same time.

An introduction to hiking is never complete without a word on the environment: Please, start it right: have concern for nature. The reason why there are beautiiful mountains right now is because climbers in the past have preserved it; they did not trample on its beauty. Mountaineers past have left no trace of their treks: and you should do the same. I hope that as you develop your passion for mountain climbing, you will also develop a passion for the mountains: we need you to make our voice stronger, as we fight, in our individual or collective ways, the threats our mountains face -- be it against mining, illegal logging - or even irresponsible mountain climbing. The mark of a true mountaineer is not having the passion to climb mountains, but the passion to protect them. I have to say this forcefully: Shame on you, if you leave your trash along the trails. Shame on you if you will dare vandalize the rocks or the tree trunks. Yet, you bring honor to the hiking community if you uphold the principles of responsible outdoor recreation.

I will also add that I would like to discourage you from climbing in large groups. Whereas in many other situations, people say "the more, the merrier", in the mountains, "the more, the messier"; a big group makes things difficult in terms of safety and it causes more impact in the mountain. While some may say that this impact is "theoretical", we should err on the side of safety. Yet, I leave it up to individual mountaineers to judge how large is large enough; many factors are at play here including the size of the campsites. While we advocate for respect for the environment, we also advocate against environmental self-righteousness, a common weakness for mountaineers. Respect for the environment must come with respect for mountaineers. Whatever you think you know, if it can help, share it, but without a trace of arrogance. Even more basic than the BMC is humility.

In general, however, I've had good experiences with fellow hikers, and many of my good friends are those I met along the trail, or those I brought to the trail. Even abroad, in my experience, hikers are generally nice people.

Sir Art Valdez told me that for him, mountaineering is a way of life. I agree with him. For me, mountain climbing started off as a dream, then a passion; inasmuch as I enjoyed all my climbs, I also I learned a lot of lessons. As a team leader I got my team lost in Mt. Cristobal (via the obscure San Pablo trail): what was supposed to be a dayhike turned out to be a overnight climb with no food, water, or shelter! From then on my motto became: Never underestimate a mountain!

When I was all alone in Mt. Apo -- pursuing my goal of reaching the country's highest mountain before I turned 20 - I began to doubt God on my first night, encamped at Mainit Hot Spring at the Kidapawan Trail after crossing Marbel River more than a dozen times. It had rained the whole afternoon, ruining my itinerary and plan to reach Lake Venado, and when I woke up that night I felt I was in a middle of a thunderstorm. I was frustrated, angry, and began to blame God for bringing me to such a desperate and hopeless situation.

But to my great astonishment, what I thought was heavy rain was actually the river which we crossed; and what I thought were flashes of lightning were actually shooting stars darting across the heavens! It was a clear sky with the most numbers of stars I saw in my life! I was ashamed because I didn't trust in God, and when the next day I reached the summit, I knew I should always trust Him; and acknowledge His guidance always.

And making it to the summit of Apo, however minor that feat may be, has given me confidence; it has given me strength because I know there are things that I can do. In 2009, I organized with my brods the First Annual Amputee Climb that was featured in GMA-7 and ABS-CBN. In this climb, we accompanied four amputees on a climb up Mt. Batulao. When they finally reached the summit, there were tears in their eyes: they have lived their lives being told that they are "disabled", unable to do things normal people can, yet there they were, standing proud atop a mountain. We all have our weaknesses and disabilities, physical, emotional, spiritual - but if we take things one step at a time, we can do it! This is the power that the mountains confer to us: in conquering our fears, we become more empowered to walk in the trails of life itself.

All the rest of the mountains have enriched me as well. Mountain climbing is not just about making new conquests, but making new friends: and I am happy to say that I have met good friends along the trail - even as I look forward to meeting many more people the next time I climb. In March 2011, I had the pleasure of meeting the great Malaysian adventurer Zaidi Bidin. For an entire day we talked about mountains while in Kota Kinabalu. But the unexpected came the following day: just an hour into our trek up Mt. Nambuyukong in Sabah, he suddenly collapsed, and even though I desperately tried to resuscitate him, my efforts were in vain. Our encounter was very short, but our friendship became important in giving peace to his family and friends, who at least knew that in his last moments he was with a doctor and friend who cared for him. And the short time I had with Zaidi has given me life lessons that I will always remember.

Mountain climbing has also opened my eyes to the plight of our rural countrymen; it enabled me to see our country in another perspective. In the mountains I have met rebels and soliders alike; I have seen beauty but I have also seen poverty: and I have seen determination in kids walking for two hours just to go to school. "Tell them how we suffer," I've heard tribesmen tell me in South Cotabato. If all of us will develop compassion for each other, our nation will be a much more peaceful place! Yet I have also been to dangerous places: I've experienced rushing down a trail in Bukidnon lest some escaped bandits fire us (bullets already gave us a warning the previous day), and on the same night, the locals had to hide me behind a door!

Nature has also given me brushes with danger: A volcanic eruption in Mt. Kanlaon forced me to abort a climb in 2008, even as we had no choice to camp within the danger zone. I was delayed in going back to school for a day, and when I narrated the events to our college secretary, she called PHIVOLCS to confirm! In Mt. Sicapoo, in an event witnessed by Cecil Morella of AMCI, I was nearly swept by the strong currents of Gasgas River, and I've always been grateful for my survival from this accident. All these experiences have made me wiser, even though I know I still have much to learn.

When you fail to reach the summit, just try and try until you succeed! A year after the eruption of Mt. Kanlaon, I returned on a sunny day and was able to gaze down the majestic crater of Kanlaon - the highest point in the Visayas.

Mountaineering has taken me from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi and it has made me love my country more, having seen the best of its natural wonders; having gazed on its peaceful towns from its roofs and ceilings; having interacted with its people. If ever I will have grandchildren, I will tell them that I have seen wild deer run free in the mountain ranges of Ilocos Norte; I have seen the luminescence of fireflies turn the slopes of Bakun into an everlasting enchanment in my mind. Sometimes, though, the fauna aren't at all friendly: while climbing Alto Peak in Leyte, I was chased by hundreds of bees which formed a black cloud behind me as I ran for my dear life!

Bees (and limatik aside), the fauna and flora we have are one of the world's best - the mossy forests, the sea of clouds: indeed there is so much beauty in our country and my prayer is for God to give me for opportunities to explore our beautiful land.

I have been privileged to climb in other countries as well, and I feel proud to represent the Philippines in the international community of mountaineers. As author of PinoyMountaineer, I'd like foreign climbers to see the beauty of our mountains through this blog, and put our country in a better light. As for their own mountains, we can always follow the footsteps of Romi Garduce, Leo Oracion, Carina Dayondon and the rest of the Everest climbers who have shown the world that yes, we Filipinos can. We can reach the top of the world and we can achieve our dreams if we put our hearts to it.

All said, I am proud to call myself a Pinoy mountaineer.

The stereotype of a mountaineer is one who carries a big bag mounted on his back, faced with a steep slope; with pines and clouds on the background. The bag is really heavy -- and a five-minute rest could mean a lot - but really, it is not the bag that you carry, but yourself. There is so much weight to overcome; so many obstacles before you can climb: oftentimes you have to file a leave, save up your allowance, make way for that long weekend. But when we are able to do the things that we want; when we are able to pursue our passions and live our dreams, then we are truly on the right track.

With these words, I welcome you to the world of beautiful mountains and everlasting trails. You have taken the first steps in a journey of a lifetime. Our paths may cross someday. I hope to see you at the summit!

Gideon Lasco
PinoyMountaineer.com

60 comments:

boks said...

very nice post sir gideon =)
it made me teary-eyed.

Hoping to meet you in the summit of wherever.

Anonymous said...

A very nice piece and very well said!

I salute you Sir!

Anonymous said...

this post says it all. thank u sir gideon for speaking in behalf of all of us mountaineers. i hope this will open the eyes of all climbers, newbies and veterans alike.

mario

Pastor Noel said...

way to go Gideon! :)

call/text me for that Atimonan hike/climb: 09213368121
set tayo ng date!

Anonymous said...

nice post sir gid. Truly an eye opener for me in the world of mountaineering!. Love your site too = )

Thetz said...

Thanks so much sir gid! im a newbie. very inspirational!

AkyatBahaw said...

Thank you Sir Gid,

you relive my outdoor spirit...

i am planning to start climbing again...

thanks for the inspirations...

AkyatBahaw

Anonymous said...

great post sir gid, grab ko to ha lagay ko sa multiply ko then ack kita. eto yung dapat na ipinapabasa sa mga newbies, proper way of how mountaineering should be done.

-chet

Jocelyn said...

good eve! nakatulong sobra itong website nio sa gaya ko na amateur climber. last week itong site nio ang binabaran ko before we went up to Mt. Pulag on Nov. 15 - 16. Kinailangan ko talaga ng pointers, and I'm proud to say that I survived Mt. Pulag, and your great pointers are one of the reasons why. Thank you thank you!!!

joex villanueva
baguio city

gideon said...

thank you for your comments on this essay. more mountains for everyone this year!

Natnat said...

sir...galing nyo...
pa copy po sir...
xempre name nyo pa rin...hehe

FreeZeBox said...

sir, since last year... i am 1 of those loyal visitors in this site.. it's very informative site... though i'm a newbie in this kind of craft.

mayapot said...

very excellent job you have here, sir! your website is very helpful to noobs like me. pls carry on the great work. god bless you always!

faye said...

I still consider myself a newbie, started mountain climbing 2 years ago. :)

This site helped us to whenever we plan for our next climb! Thank you for creating it! It's like the "wikipedia" (even better!)for us freelancers. More power! :)

faye said...

I always check on this site whenever we have a next climb coming up. Its like wikipedia, even better for us freelancers! Thank you! More power!:)

R1 said...

Great blog sir Gid! The last part was really inspiring. I remember climbing back in 1997 and had stopped for more than 10 years, then because of a good friend, me and my colleagues found a common hobby. How surprising was it to find out that among my peers we had this in common. And so, with the determination and encouragement of one Raymond Molina, many from our team have been brought out of "semi-retirement", free to climb once more. Cheers to you and to our most visited site, www.pinoymountaineer.com

Anonymous said...

congratulation sir on this one very inspiring. I'm a newbie on this field 2 palang ang bundok na napapanik ko mt.maculot at mt pico de loro nangangarap po akong makapanik ng mt. apo. Iknow i still have a lot to learn. thanks on ur site very helpfull for us beginners.

Anonymous said...

what an excellent essay on something coming from the heart. it was very informative for me. i want to try something new in my life now as my scapegoat or outlet for some personal struggles. i want to join a hike in gulugod baboy this december. please let me know if there is a group going so i can set my schedules. am a busy working mom with passion on nature specially sunset, and passion on reading and writing. i also want to meet new friends and try something new to experience and learn. please contact me at 0918-918-2365. appreciate it very much.

Ayie said...

im a newbie and i can feel your passion for the environment. thanks sir for giving guidance to all of us, whether newbie or not. you did make me teary-eyed also esp at "the stereotype of a mountaineer' part.

c u at the summit!

Anonymous said...

beautiful post!! very informative and has inspired me to climb my first mountain!!! i am from vizcaya, i look around 360 degrees and i see beautiful mountains!!as you have said sir, this is a journey of a lifetime.... will see u at the summit sometime...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post!! very informative, and has inspired me to climb my first mountain!!! I'm from vizcaya and i look around 360 degrees and i see beautiful mountains!! these are my first steps in a journey of a lifetime!! see u sometime at the summit!!

ra said...

sir inspiring piece
i hope this will get all of us going, whether a "veteran" or a "newbie"!

iel_dj said...

I just got inspired by the scenes posted by climbers. I was invited before by a friend to go mountain climbing but I refuse to since my heavy schedule does not permits me to. I guess it isn't too late yet to join in a group whenever possible. Please add me up, I really wanna experience the satisfaction you climber guys experience. Pretty much, I wanted to join a climbing group which will help me see the world of climbers. Thank you.
Facebook account: lei_de_juras@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

sir gud afternun

this is kevin matti from earthguards here in bacolod city an environmental organization

i just want to say that i am very inspired of what is here on your site....

keep up the good work....


see u in the trail....
-sandugophilippines@hotmail.com

riagalon said...

as a beginner, i rely on this blog more than ever. and with all due respect, i do admire the author for bringing the Pinoy mountaineer website possible. i started to climb last march 6-9, 2010 at mt. Batulao and it was so great! i just wanna share how happy i am to accomplish that. :) keep safe and more power. looking forward meeting you all.

janey said...

great one sir gideon. i wanted to climb ever since since i really wanted nature trips and adventures. outdoors is really fun and i made a few. but i guess mountain climbing would give a remarkable feet. been wanting to climb mt. apo. i'm from davao actually. hope there's an opportunity for me soon. ;-)

Jeffeson said...

Thanks Sir Gideon, Me and my friends are interested in joining a mountaineering group. May we join your group? Thanks a lot..jef

Anonymous said...

Sir gid, salamat sa pagshare mo sa amin. This is very imformative talaga. I am enviroment friendly and really wanted to protect those mountains kasi I can breath fresh air! I really love mountains, kahit pagod ako umakyat, pero masarap pa rin ang feeling! I really learned so much about this. First time ko talaga magjoin sa pinoymountaineer and also it was my first climb to go in mount Pulag. Major yung akyat ko. Pero nag-enjoy ako, I believed God was always there!

MIJ said...

Hey sir, saan ba malapit sa manila puwedeng first climb? Yung kaya ng one day lang at kahit wala masyadong dalang equipment(foods lang haha) gusto kasi ng tropa namen eh... Thanks po, ^_^

chill said...

Hands down to you my friend!You deserved all the credits!

dorie said...

I am in awe Sir Gideon. Thank you so much and Godspeed!

Anonymous said...

sana dumami pa lahi mo, gid! you're the man!

che said...

wow! thank you Sir Gideon.

Anonymous said...

thanks sir gid :) repost ko po sa tumblr ko. nice essay for everyone who want to experience the adventure.

jessie lee montebon said...

THANK YOU for inspiring me sir gideon... i'm teary-eyed reading this... your post will greatly help me to SURVIVE mt. pulag this march... i'm just a newbie but my passion for climbing started since i was a child. i dreamt of climbing mountains, facing new challenges, and learning new things since then and now i'm ready to live those dreams...

boring64 said...

Speechless (c",) Thanks Sir Gideon! ^^ You're the icon of mountain climbing! I'll apply all of what I have read in this essay and will continue to learn more :-) Very well said. Very heartfelt. Very inspiring (-,-) Ang sarap mag-climb! :-D

Anonymous said...

ang ganda naman nito. sana po ma-meet ko din po kayo.

michy said...

Sir! :)

This is indeed very informative specially for me, newbie, and the likes. It was my fantasy since college to be a mountaineer but due to some "nega" peeps around me, I didn't push through it BUT when I saw my friend's picture in Mt. Pulag, that was the time my interest in mountaineering really came back and I was like "Whoaaah!!?! I want to be there too! I need to be there!" hehe.. :)
I already asked my friend some info on basic things to know like the gears/tools I should buy first but I awe you one on this blogsite. Thanks! ^^ btw, i also have a blog thru tumblr and multiply, i'll repost some of you blogs but I will definitely acknowledge you. Thanks a lot! :)

Bald Runner said...

Dear Gideon,
I've been visiting your site for the past years. Maybe you know me already through my blog as the Bald Runner (BR). I hope we will be able to meet in person in the future.
Your site is the only "mountaineering" resource which deals on our local environment and i find it very useful in my plans to have adventure runs in some of our mountains.
Keep up the good work!

Sir Jovie aka Bald Runner
www.baldrunner.com

Anonymous said...

very inspiring and catching words by an experienced mountaineer

Anonymous said...

im a newbie in mountaineering but I met you already in Mt. Manabu (my 3rd mountain) jump off... rock on Sir Gid. Hope to see you again in other mountains...=)

Anonymous said...

This is a really nice article. I am a newbie in mountaineering. I never thought I'd like it. Hiking was never part of my interests before, but when I met some people from UPM, who are really passionate about this craft, I was inspired and joined one climb. I liked it and now I am looking forward to joining climbing activities. :) love, JG

The Chronic Vacacionista said...

Thank you for the inspiration and the guidelines for a newbie. I have always wanted to climb and have always wondered what it would be like. Perhaps it's time that I did.

Lourrey May said...

seriously, the article made me cry. especially the mount apo part. <3 so inspiring.

joanne(SMC) said...

Hats off to you sir Gideon! God bless you always...

Anonymous said...

Nice post for a beginners like me. Can't wait for my first one and wanna try Mt Arayat. Pls beep me up 09272194375 - Marlon of Pampanga

Anonymous said...

thanks for the inspiration sir, notes written from the heart.. nakakapa-motivate and brings out the positive vibes to everyone!

hope to meet you soon sir!

Proud to be a Pinoy Mountaineer!

andrewlluengo said...

maraming salamat sir Gideon sa post na ito. Malaking tulog ito lalo na sa mga beginner na katulad ko. GBU and all the mountaineers in the world who shares this passion.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sir Gid

Question lang po.. If emergency arises related to a climb, like, lost, deep wounds, broken bones,trapped in a landslide or big storm and death,, Who do we need to contact If in needs of search and rescue in the mountain ? Do you have like a point of contact in these kind of events? Who do we contact first? what are the estimated time of the rescue arrival? Can you please also share us some tips or info if emergency arises in the mountain ? Thank you very much..

tony raza said...

i want to treck but have no experience - your blog is my first read on the subject - thanks very much for a most wondeful and well written introduction
tony raza

Anonymous said...

thanks sir Gid,.your post reminds me a lot of things and encourage me to pack and trek again,.God Bless you always

neknek said...

Very inspiring. I want to see a wild deer freely running on the field too. I want to see beautiful things, and I hope I would really have the guts to start Mountain Climbing! :)

neknek said...

I am not sure if my comment was posted, but let me repeat my thoughts anyways. I am inspired by your description of the wild life: the wild deer running freely on the field, the fireflies shining beautifully etc. These are things I want to see, and I hope I will have the guts to start climbing soon! This blog owe us a lot! :)

corine mae said...

wow! so inspiring sir! i think i have to start climbing or else i'll regret it for the rest of my life.

corine mae said...

wow! so inspiring sir! i think i have to start climbing or else i'll regret it for the rest of my life.

Ruel Antique said...

very inspiring sir,hoping to meet you in the trail sir. Godspeed.

Ruel

Dinah said...

Thank you for this well-written post which a very great source of information for a beginner climber like me. I am actually teary-eyed as I finish reading this. I will be sure to take your words to heart as I try to climb as many mountains as I can!

Dinah said...

and sir, I am re-posting a portion of this essay in my blog(www.bragsimply.blogspot.com), with proper attributions and links po. salamat!

juanknows said...

I shall make a dream come true tomorrow as I make my first climb in Mount Makiling. I am blessed and thankful to have come across your blog. I believe that tomorrow will be my first of many climbs and I am glad that you have become part of it somehow. I shall see you in one of the trails in the future. Mabuhay!

Anonymous said...

EPIC! :D ♥

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