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Let’s redefine our mountaineering objectives and make sure that LNT principles along with conservation programs are given equal importance vs. just doing fun climbs. There will come a time that there will be no good mountains to climb if our mountains’ conditions continue to deteriorate. - Romi Garduce

August 12, 2010

Mt. Balingkilat Traverse


Rainy season is here, its normally off season for hikers. But that is like half a year of no climbing? I thinks, its still okay to continue climbing during this time given that there is no severe weather disturbance.
Thats why last July 24, even the weather being glommy we opted to go to the most popular hiking destination in the Aeta Cawag settlement. Mt. Balingkilat - short for "Bahay nang Kidlat" (Home of Lightnings).

From the jumpoff the trek starts passing by the aeta houses until you reachead the "kawayananan" pit stop. About two hours from the jumpoff, this place is where hikers have their lunch and rest a bit. After kawayanan is where the fun begins.... its the start of complete assault trek. Its hiking on a trail which is 70-80 degrees incline. The trail is composed of cugon grass, scattered limestones and I almost forgot loose soil! Opposite Balingkilat (early part of the trail) is a hill, which blocks the wind. You may compare this part to a valley. This also adds to the difficulty of the hike since the place becomes very hot and humid. I can't imagine climbing here during summer. The ventillation only becomes better when you reach the height of about 700-800masl. When your almost at the plateau of Balingkilat, the trail becomes more narrow and more dangerous. I was asking myself, why didnt the group who created the trail made it a bit easier (zig-zag) and not complete assault? Well, the mountain had eroded a lot (there is no trees here) and this is apparently the best trail to create.







The valley Like Trail






rest stop

Upon reaching the plateau after roughly 3++ hours hike, its just an easy walk or around 15 minutes to reach the campsite. But we choose to wait for our companions who were left behind [angry smiley]. Bad bad idea because after half na hour or so it started to rain. We pitched our tent under heavy downpour. The rest of the night rain was off and on. But early in the morning there was good weather. We took this chance to have a good look of the area, from the campsite you can see the nearby mountains in the area (nagsasa, etc) and the far away coves/beaches (subic bay etc). You can also see the summit only about 15 minutes away. One thing amazing about this mountain is that there is a river on top (beside the campsite), which is also the water source. We took advantage of the clear weather to cook and have our meals. And then the sky closed... and the weather turn bad to worse. It was raining so hard that we settle to cancel our summit assault. We were hoping to wait the rain to stop, but it just would not. Thats the time I decided to break-camp, and just move out from this rain cloud.




Subic Bay, summit view


river beside campsite



campsite, afar is the summit

Since the trail is very steep going-up, imagine how it is after this rain. This is also the time I decided to take the traverse trail. The traverse trail had been taken by other climbers a few times, plus the hunters. Its not yet established but I know its possible. With our guide leading we took this trail, early on my mind was debating If I made the right decision. The early part of the trail was very steep,grassy, full of twigs and has loose rock and soil. But after about 30% of the trail, it became for more level and just a bit rolling. I guess its still safer than if we took the traditional trail. After 2 hours of hiking down, we reached the Nagsasa ridge. From here its an easy way going back to the jump off. We also try to pass by Pinaglabanan river but it was overflowing, guess its better to dip here during summer. Next stop.. Cinco Picos.


the traverse route, summit view


traverse route


bundok Dayungan (cloud covered) and Mt. nagsasa (left partially seen)


1 comment:

  1. Great entry! We've got to get one of those weatherproof cameras so we can take shots in the rain :-)

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