Wednesday, May 16, 2012

2012 From Mud To The Star

Published on Apr 11, 2012
Warning: This climb/expedition is not for the faint hearted.

March 28, 2012 is when we embarked on a journey that turned into an extreme expedition. The original plan is to use the river trail and backtrack our way back, but due to the changes in the weather we ended up taking the high road. But mind you, this is no ordinary trail; this is where water is scarce with an open invitation to sunburn and heatstroke. We passed by ridges that seems to be impossible to pass, going through various summits we thought unconquerable, cliffs that were way beyond our expectations and trails that we almost thought that we were lost. Well, there is one time that we actually got lost and had to make our own trail where we had to be extra fast to avoid the falling rocks. Yep, you read it right falling rocks are no exception in this climb.

And finally, after 12 gruelling hours of hiking up and down we found our camp for the night. We were the last group to arrived and so I was thankful to find that Shiela already fixed our tent and I can't wait to get out of my wet clothes. At this time I was already shivering from cold and I just wanted to collapse in a soft comfortable bed. Oh well, it was just me having a wishful thinking. By 7pm we were already enjoying our dinner and by 8pm I was lost in deep slumber.

The next day, wake up call was at 4 am and everyone were busy fixing their tent as we had to move on to the next phase of the climb, and this time its the summit. The plan was to get to "rachohan" as early as possible, leave our bags there and head to the summit and back before sunset. The hike getting to our next camp is absolutely picturesque but fraught with danger. Imagine walking in a ridge at 8 in the morning while the sun is shining with clear blue sky but one misstep will lead you to a vast of nothingness. Aahh.. but with this kind of view, you know that whatever you've been through to get to this point was all worth it. Arriving at ""rachohan" at around 10 in the morning, all of us were busy cooking lunch and getting ready to hike up to the summit. During this time I was contemplating on staying behind since I knew that I couldn't make it up to the summit and back without slowing down the whole group. The trek will take around 6 hours and its not going to be a walk in the park.

By 12 noon a group of 9 climbers started their way up to the summit and the rest of us who were left started to prepare our food. After 6 hours the group went back shivering, complaining about the hike and were so hungry they ate almost everything. The bad news was they haven't even reached the actual summit but the EBJ summit instead. Hats off to these 9 climbers who brave the cold brought about by the foul weather while going through the unforgiving trail. Not to mention the blood sucking leeches that crippled them along the way.

The ridge trail was getting narrower and more technical as we went down. "Talahib" covered paths are almost everywhere which makes it even more difficult. Thanks to the rain last night, the moist soil and wet leaves makes a very slippery descent. But besides all that we were treated by a postcard-like view as we reached the final summit. We were blessed with a good weather because the heat was way bearable than before. As we reached the river bend we were greeted by the rushing water that crossing the majestic Libacao River is almost impossible. This site brings back a lot of memories when we were trying to cross the river in Mount Baloy. With His guidance we survived the river crossing and reached our destination, but not without difficulty and some bruises and scratches left in our body. We effin did it after 12 hours of ridge walking, ass sliding, cliff hanging and river crossing. I can't say that we indeed conquered the mighty Nangtud but after everything that we've been through I can truly say that we've done enough.

The thought of giving up played in my mind but it was immediately replaced with the sense of accomplishment each time I reach every camp. The best of part of it all was the bonding times shared with fellow climbers. In the real world all 19 of us were just acquaintances and some were even strangers but each climb we are slowly cementing our friendship. A friendship built in high altitude. Only in higher grounds that we see each other us equals, no one is above anyone and that's what made each climb as meaningful as the other.

★ Summer Solstice

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