Very early the next day (Monday, April 06), we started our trek to G2. Our goal is to reach Mayos peak as early as possible. Mayos peak is the campsite were hikers camp-out before proceeding to the summit. From the information I gathered, the distance from the basecamp up to Mayo's Peak is 11KM. The trail is mostly steep ascents with around 20% flat to semi-flat. The most inclined part of the hike is after Bulod Spring (the only water source), and is also very slippery. The trees grows big near the foot of the mountain, as the climb progress it becomes mossy with the roots protruding on the trail. When your almost at Mayo's peak the trail becomes exposed, the trees are still there but they are small with only a few leaves. Along the way we met hikers going down, they told us they have a failed summit ascent due to bad weather, proof that in G2, failure is always a possibility. It was raining for several days, luckily the sun is peeking this day.
We reach Mayo's peak after around 10 hour hike with very little rest except for lunch. We wanted to be early at Mayo's for there are around 50 hikers (maximum allowed) that registered, we wanted to be at the best camping ground possible. Describing Mayo's peak, its densely covered with trees that sheild the campers from the wind breeze specially during the night. Most of the time also drizzles early in the morning, sometimes early at night.
G2 Towering from afar.
Bulod's son (Cocoy, our guide) in Bulod spring.
Campsite at Mayo's peak. We woke up early again (Tuesday, April 09) to finally do the summit assault. Surprisingly and luckily the weather is on our side. It didnt rain yesterday and the sun is still shining today. You need to move out of the tree cover to be able to start the hike. From here you will see the start of the trail, its a jaw droppingly beautiful and also a bit scary sight. You'll have a view of the jaggedly mountainous trail. we can also see hikers who went ahead of us. Ant size, you can see them scrambling unto the rocks. The trail from here are composed of ridges and steep ascents (sometime descents) on rock formations. The trail is difficult and technical that several parts have been given names: "Knife ridge", "Camel Back", "Kiss the Wall", "Peak of Deception", "Hillary step" (similarity to the real one) and "Walk of Fame". Upper body is used althroughout the hike. There are two parts of the trail that is worth detailing, first is a "Kiss the wall" in which you need to walk on a 2-3 meters long, 2-3 inches wide step holding only to the crack on wall. The other one is "Hillary Step" in which you need to hang on a small crack on wall and the step is about a meter away from you, chest high. A cut-off-time is given to the "Peak of Deception", you should be able to reach this place before 12NN, else you should turn back. But we were able to get to this place with much time than required. We reach the summit with a handful of climbers already there and celebrating. We also celebrated, congratulated ourselves for a feat not most climbers dared or even able to accomplish. Then, we took our lunch, take some pictures and also congratulate the rest of the climbers specially those that arrived after us.
Cliffs on both sides.
Mayon volcano can be seen from on the trail
Last leg to the summit
Summit at the background.
The next Pinay summitter? Shes only 9 =O
Summit group shot. Hiking this terrain in the dark is a big no no, so after a short stay on the summit we decided to head down. Opposite to the ascent, the surrounding suddenly turned foggy and later on it drizzled, proof that the weather here is so volatile. The trek going back is almost as difficult as going up. The fatigue factor is already present plus with the trail and rocks being wet. Slowly and surely we head back to Mayo's peak. I also recall an instance when one of our companion grab on a rock that I guess was not so durable, the rock chipped off. All of his weight was on this rock so he fell, fortunately he landed on the flat surface beside cliff. Close call, whew! The complete assault (and back) took us 12 hours stopping only to drink and take some pictures, Again, from the information I gathered the distance between from Mayo's peak up to the summit is around 5KM.
If the first two days are difficult, the trek from Mayo's to jumpoff is taken on a much lighter pace and mood (Wednesday, April 08). The only thing that made the trek difficult is that half of the climbers went down ahead of us, making trail muddy, slippery and beaten. Arriving at the jumpoff, We took a dip again on the dam and after which we went back to Manong Lee's place. Then took a hearty dinner of different Lapu-lapu recipes (and other fish), cooked by Nonos Mom. =D
Having said so, is the climb to G2 difficult?
You bet! Now I know why this is considered one if not the most difficult climb in the Philippines. Patience, stamina, endurance, strength, climbing skills and perseverance are put to the limits. The rock formations are not identical that getting through them is just like solving a jig-saw puzzle, everyone has their own solution. And solving it going up and is different from solving it going down. For those who are planning to climb G2, my advice is to train and have a good diet. It works well for me, eventhough I'm tired at the end of the day, Im not totally burn-out.