“The coolest climber beats the hardest trails.”
“I scaled those god darn peak and I’m still alive.”
“I thought I died when my hand slipped holding on to that ravine!”
Words coming from climbers surviving an arduous trek. Some pretty scared, others totally wasted. A few are jubilant at what they’ve just accomplished.
Bragging rights aside, I’d say they’re uber cool.These are the type of treks you wish you’ll have the stamina and courage to attain, sans danger and the risks.
Of course if you think these guys are lunatics out to hurt themselves, I highly recommend you stop reading this post now. Just stick on the comfort of your boring chair. There’s not much you can gain from reading this post. (You can read this instead).
Okay so you’re still reading this? Curious guy huh, but yes, congratulations!! Welcome to the list of curiously risky and grueling treks you’d wish you’re macho enough to accomplish! These are some of the mountain treks that tickled my mind as among the toughest, most strenuous, and risky climbs you’ll ever do here in Mindanao! I say again “my list” not yours. It is and will be a growing list. If you want to include your hardest trek here, don’t be shy to write a comment after this post and tell me your story. My ego is big enough to accommodate a lot more. So read on!
Mt. Dulang-Dulang to Mt. Kitanglad Traverse (Mt. Kitanglad Range and Park, Bukidnon). I don’t know if it was just my first time doing the traverse but I scaled both mountains on two separate occasions and they aren’t as hard as the traverse itself. But if your talking of traversing Philippines 2nd and 4th highest peak in just 3 days, you ought to give plenty of time preparing for this one. Of course the trail is established, except for the rocky descent through drop zones, the Tarzan like dangles on tree branches, the rock climb and the 4x 4 ascent (meaning crawl!) holding on to cogon leaves and roots.And if you’re not wasted enough by all of these obstacles, try finding the airplane crash site somewhere along the traverse trail. They say there is one but no one bothered to point to us. I’m is darn busy hurling my heavy ass up the mountains. But if you’re really interested in making this traverse, you can read my post here for pointers
- Mt. Kalatungan to Mt. Wiji Traverse (Kalatungan Park and Range, Bukidnon). Mt Kalatungan, jokingly called by some mountaineers as kala “tunga”, meaning “ending up in the middle”. This is because nobody makes assurances of reaching the summit every time you climb. Given the thick forest and unpredictable weather, most likely this is the rule rather than the exception. The one story that stuck to my mind was that of my friend, Onin Banzon who went with a group of climbers on this traverse. They got lost in the jungle and was off trail for at least 24 hours that pushed them to eat edible forest crops to survive. So aside from surviving the tiring traverse, you have to have a thick gut to survive. But yeah, why not read this itinerary and try for yourself?
- Mt. Candalaga (Campostela Valley) Probably not one of those towering peaks but is much more difficult to climb than some of the highest peaks here in Mindanao! Hovering just above 2,402 meters ASL, this mountain stands to its name “makahang” meaning “spicy”, for being so freakishly and ludicrously fierce climbing challenge. The river crossings and the waterfall “rock hug” makes you curse at the beauty that lay in front of you. One buddy told me he’d never go back to this mountain again after a climb he almost never completed. Well, if you’re the crazy, ego bloated adrenaline junkie, you can read Chronicles of a seasonal climber ( hardcore!) for a an account of their climb. The 13 or so alluring waterfalls might just suffice to ease out that macho thing on you. hey, I did say good luck!
- Mt.Pandadagsaan/White peak (Campostela Valley). My hunch was right. This taunting mountain is another fierce climb for its would be “conquerors”. Not one that I talked to ever mentioned an “easy” climb on this mountain. Gecarl (see his comment below) is right. So is Emmanuel Palacio (Chronicles of a Seasonal Climber). This astounding mountain is both a punishment and a reward according to Emman here..Makes me really think hard, if I’d rather cut or mend bones rather than hurl my heavy ass on top of White peak. Who knows?
- Mt. Apo Traverse Mt. Talomo (New Israel, Mt. Zion- Mt. Apo- Mt. Talomo) Ok, this is not a true traverse trail and I made this one. So what’s the fuss? This is one good challenge I’ll bet the heck none of you is willing to try. But if you are insanely interested, give it a shot. Who knows? You’ll still end up in one piece bragging about how you survived! I’ve tried the New Israel route to Mt. Apo before. Probably an average trail but it’ll take you tree days just to reach the summit. Passing through Makalangit and Macadac (Mt. Zion nearby) you’d be awed by the scenery you’ll pass by. Minus the water scarcity of course. I bet many pilgrims collapsed between these “stations of the cross”. A 5 kilometer stretch up hill in the mountains without water is atrocity. I don’t know about the Mt. Talomo, or Tamayong or Calinan trail but it’s rumored to be as difficult as finding an official itinerary of those Mt. Ao entry points. But yeah, just give it a shot when they open Mt. Apo to trekkers again.
- Three Kings Mountain (Sitio Kanco Lake Sebu) Mount who??! Where the heck is that mountain?! Yes, you don’t know where it is because no mountaineer has yet conquered these “peaks”. Not even the local guide. And if hard is an overstatement, read our recent adventures near this place. Note that what we’ve experienced there, was nothing in compared to the difficulty we’d be going through when we attempt conquering Mt. Three Kings, said the local guide. Consider this: No established trail, only hunter traces and traps, wild boars, snakes and yes, nobody has any idea how high or where is exactly the peak of this mountain. What they knew was somewhere inside this virgin forest, quite a number of falls and many number of endemic bird species hide (including, reportedly the famous Philippine eagle). I was intrigued. So we’re planning an exploration climb here.
There, my growing bucket list of grueling treks to accomplish here in Mindanao. Uh, Did I say this was my list? So don’t argue with me. If you’re one daring climber that gets tickled by a mere mention of “challenge”, go try these treks. If you got one hard trek you wish to include here, paste it in the comment section of this page. I’ll copy paste your bragging rights!
What are you waiting for? Leave those monitors and go climb!