Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail

August 13, 2010

A Mountaineers Level

If you had been climbing for quite a while, its quite obvious that you are developing skills in hiking. But of course its still defends on how much you are willing to put yourself to the next level. Meaning if you are climbing for say ten years now but its just around the Batangas-Cavite minor mountains, your skill will plateau just to a minor extent. Two years of climbing on Major mountains is better skillwise compared to the latter.

Given these scenarios, I had compiled the Mountaineers skill levels basing on how much he had honed his skills and physical prowess.

Level 1 - Normally this is a beginners level. When you start climbing probably on a dayhike and then simple overnights trips to minor mountains like Mt. Maculot or Mt. Manabo. If you had been on level 1 for quite a while, you may also have the ability to organize a minor climb (advance level 1).

Level 2 - This is the time when you have the urge to explore mountains which are more that 1000++ masl or so. So if you have climb Major mountains like Mt. Pulag (akiki or tawangan trail), Mt. Banahaw or Mt. Apo, you are a Level 2. You can add that an advance Level 2 hiker is the one that have tried mountains that needs technical skills. There are a few mountains that has this, but it still needs to be put into consideration. Mt. Guiting-guiting is considered technical but doesnt need ropes erstwhile Mt. Banahaw is not technical but there are a few parts that use ropes.
And the more advance a level 2 hiker is, the more ability he has to a climb farther away of his comfort zone.

Level 3 - One of the traits of an outdoorsy person is that you want to share what you see or experience. So the next level after climbing major mountains is to organize a climb, Both a minor and major. From organizing a simple dayhike to multi day trips requires a Level 3 skill. Here is also where Leadership potential comes in. By going through the previous levels (1 and 2) will also give the climber the idea on how to take care of Nature and he should know LNT (leave no trace) outdoor ethics by heart. You should also should know how to blend to the locals, and have haggling skills in getting your logistics. And like the previous level the more advance a level 3 hiker is, the more ability he has to organize a climb farther away from his comfort zone.

Level 4 - So whats next after organizing? Exploring! This is the time when you create trails for mountains that had never been climb by hikers. This requires a lot of skills (and money) since you might need the help of the locals around the area. Proper planning is also need and most of the time, a single climb will not achieve your goal. There are also time that your resources and supplies might deplete untimely and survival skills comes into play. Mt. Ugu climb was pioneered by PALMC, Mt. Balingkilat by YABAGMC and Mt. Guiting-guiting by the group of Art Valdez. The more advance a Level 4 is, the higher the mountain he can explore. And the farther also from his comfort zone.

Level 5 - Alpinism. When you climb mountains that your not familiar with. And ideally when you try to climb snowcap mountains. This mountains cannot be found around the Philippines and nearby south east Asian countries. Being a tropical country, we are not climatize to coldness. So to climb this mountains (Mt. Hood, Mt. cook or Mt. Denali) will need extra training (e.g ice climbing) and of course money.

This leveling is just base on my idea and is not official. And of course this is base from a tropical place point of view. So if you live in an area where you are alread use to snowcap mountains, this leveling is not applicable.


  1. Looks like I'm stuck at trying to be in Level 2 :-D

  2. haha! may disclaimer pa.. do I gain credits for level 4 even I only tried minor alpine climb? :)

  3. Hi Akyatera,

    Alpine climbs is considered as level 5. You will always gain credit for any climb that you do minor or not, alpine or tropic.