As a mountaineer myself, it’s been a privilege to meet people so young (and not so young alike) willing to pursue their passion into mountain climbing. Apart from reaching the peak and take wonderful shots to boast in social media, it is equally interesting to let them know that the journey towards becoming a responsible mountaineers will be as hard as ascending into the steep trail. Knowledge and skills on mountaineering as well as the heart and mind of a true mountaineer will be their weapon to this passion.
1. Equip yourself with the knowledge.
While physical fitness is vital, you need to be ready mentally ready as you only don’t dwell with the people you’re climbing with but also with the force of nature willing to humble you down. Knowledge can also be accessible through joining mountaineering groups where veteran mountaineers can impart their skills and knowledge through their own experiences.
2. Prepare to be physically and mentally fit.
Knowledge is just a useless idea when not put into practice. In the mountains, survival will always be aligned with how physically and mentally strong you are. Few of these are workouts that strengthen one’s knees, legs and thighs and at the same time, improve their stamina and endurance. So either you will want to get back to the city with hell-achy joint and muscle pains or begin your warm up exercises weeks before your climb, the choice is yours.
3. Basic Mountaineering Course for real.
After all the orientation and physical fitness test, it’s time to get everything put into practice. We have one place somewhere along Matina Pangi which trail stretches to Maa Diversion Road. It’s a perfect place for lecturing the do’s and dont’s as well as how river trekking, climbing and walking for few hours with their backpacks feel like. They will also be taught on bag and tent fixing and looking for more ideal spots for camping. More of what they learned on this post.
Towards the end of destination, the aspirants were descending through the steep hillside.
In planning, there will usually be series of meetings to be held weeks before the climb. The discussion of the exact place, date as well as the budget, things to bring, meal plans and itineraries will be the main agenda. Being a school-based organization, the schedule becomes a primary consideration when choosing the date to avoid conflicts in their academic.
When it comes to the budget, the aspirants are always encourage to save up by having weekly contribution (upon their discretion) and selling of goodies during school activities. The profit they earn will be their source of finance. As aspirants, they are also responsible for their own meal plans as well as to bring their own gears. Religion and allergies are also to be considered when choosing what food to intake. For their what-to-bring, they are not necessarily required to buy new gears, however, it is thoroughly emphasized to them the importance of protection and comfort amidst harsh, unpredictable weather conditions in the mountain.
5. Actual Mountain Climbing
When everything is set, it’s time for the real challenge. Kwagsik, as we use to refer to this place in Marilog, seems to be the most ideal hiking destination. The place is also our first minor climb and has always been proven to be good for those who are new to mountaineering. The place, which I had visited twice prior to this event, has three caves nearby and two cascades which are almost an hour away from the camping site.
Here are some important mark on this journey: Safety first and brotherhood.
Due to work commitment, I wasn’t able to join them on their morning trip but had already secured permit to follow that same night since a colleague would also be willing to join me. In addition, some of our colleagues who were already at the campsite, would be willing to pick us up once we arrived. It’s sure to be a night trek, however, unforeseen circumstances made the first plan to be too impossible to accomplish.
I, unfortunately, hadn’t seen the signage board to which my colleague was waiting, due to fog. Thus, I went too far away and I was literally in panicked, I almost jumped out of the bus to get my way back. Thanks to the bus conductor who himself facilitated my transfer to another bus whose route was going to Davao. Finally, I calmed myself down when I saw the blinking flashlight hovering across the road.
Still fortunate enough, my colleague was with a different mountaineering group whose some members I am already familiar with. They also had their “survival” for their own aspirants but still spare time to rescue us on the trail as the night gets deeper. Upon reaching their campsite, they offered us food, made a quick follow up and let us have rest- attitudes of real mountaineers. ❤
Before the sunrise, we already had to start our trek to the highway and got hitchhiked to the jumped off area. After getting lost for sometime, we arrived just in time before the “activity” concluded. We were so surprised as then grass-filled campsite are soon to be filled with fruits and vegetables.
When breakfast is done, nothing beats a morning trek to go Kwagsik (Sandawa) Falls!
Then down down the steep.
Worth the mud. At it’s spectacular view! ❤
It was a wonderful day indeed! I would love to hike with them as time comes. And as we go, we always made sure not to leave any trace behind but the values to be kept intact- truthfully! That’s how responsible mountaineers are made.