My Mountaineering History
Being a mountaineer is such a big event of my life and I wonder why I haven’t shared it with you? So let’s get back to 2012.
It all started last June 6 last year. A dorm-mate, who likes to climb, mentioned there’ll be an orientation that will be held by AMCI, one of the mountaineering groups here in the country. I said, all right; let’s try it since there’s nothing wrong with pretending-you’re-listening strategy in a talk. As we entered the lounge, three laptops were lined up on the table. All were showing a slideshow of pictures of the group taken in all their climbs. The other one is showing videos.
Let me cut my intro short, the very impulsive me, I/we registered.
Training begins. It will be held every Wednesdays and Sundays of the four months. Please refer to our batch calendar.
At first, it felt like I’m one of the Tributes sent to play for Hunger games. Learning how to tie ropes, pitch a tent, light up a different stove, first aid, wall climb, rappel, run and swim with backpacks, etc… These are just some of the activities included in our syllabus.
Let me give you a brief background on how the course works that will run for four months, from June to October. First, within those four months of training, there will be four climbs and you are required to get three. Good tracking of attendance is a major requirement too. Maximum of four absences is the limit, though they give merit runs or extra rounds mostly, or other activities that are outside the course calendar to make up for your absences. They give quizzes too, and you need to pass 80% of the quizzes of the entire semester. First Aid, CPR, rappelling, wall climbing, and orienteering are major requirements too. You also need to hit the finish line for a 15KM run within two hours. I had mine at the downhill UPHILL road in Ultra, Pasig. Whew!
Any failure to complete any of the major requirements above will forfeit your entitlement to be a member. Though you could finish the course, graduate and be a certified mountaineer but, it’s totally heartbreaking not to be a certified member.
My first training climb or commonly called as TC1 and my first real encounter of the mountain is Mt. Balingkilat in Subic, Zambales. Well, I can say we had a very nice acquaintance. How could I forget? It’s 1100 MASL as starter. It’s a very sunny day and all throughout the trek, I think there are only three trees where you can use as shade. It’s a grassy land that if you do not wear arm sleeves, it will leave your arms full of grass cut slash toasted. Now, I am proud to say that I, the only trainee, and my team member’s lead pack first to arrive the summit. The members are all proud and amaze of how fast I am knowing it’s my first climb. Wanna know my motivation? The heat of the sun! I know I’m dark and it’s the least of my concern but it was so really damn hot that I have to choose which one between leg pain and sunburn to savor. I chose the first. I brave the heat and this vertically challenged woman belittled the huge rock approaching the summit. Haha! I reached the summit an hour ahead of the ETA. I just can’t stand the thought that my nape and my forehead are being fried without any fight! Yes, I didn’t apply any sun block. It’s not included in my ‘to bring’ list (although a climb mate offered me hers) and I thought it’s too sunny it will leave you feeling sticky and it’s my first climb what do you expect and yeah, still I didn’t and I learned a lot from this. What to bring, what not to bring stuff. Now here’s a trivia. I am a well known clumsy celebrity. And I proved it true right at this climb. As we are preparing our dinner, I was asked to watch over our ‘tinola’. The pot is in between my legs because I’m covering the wind from blowing off the stove fire. Then I felt a leg cramp. So I switched position. As I lift and position my right leg, I hit the pot and watch the soup pour over. J We ate a soup less tinola. You know what hurts and disappointing? We are all excited for the soup. We all want a soup that night because it’s kindda cold and we are all in craved for soup. Even I want it bad. If you could just see our shocked faces as we watch the soup drip the pan. I gave an all night apology and we are like ‘apology your face Annie’, yes that include me. They still have that hate in me every time we talk about it. It became a laughing stuff for ABG.
Time for descent and I don’t want to boast my speed again and decided to just enjoy the view and yeah, we weren’t the first group to arrive at the wash up area. Down the hill, awaits our very delicious supper. I ate a mouthful of every dish. Then we have a mini program, that’s suppose to take place during our socials up at the summit but a sudden strong rain pour down on us that night. So we call it off and have the venue change at the wash up area instead. It’s part of the climb to have socials at night. You know, getting to know the group, talking about the climb, sharing, having some numbers, et al…We didn’t win as best performer but we did enjoy the socials that’s full of cheering, drinking, fun and getting to know everyone.
Touch down Makati. F***. I can’t feel my legs! Goodness, the groin! If you sit too long, it hurts, if you stand too long it hurts. I hated stairs for a week, or any inclined steps. L
Now comes training climb 2, Mt Tarak. Yes, my second encounter with nature is far FAAAR different from my TC1. TC2 is also called technical climb. I have no idea what it mean. Now, I could tell you what the heck it means. Technical climb in mountaineering means all of your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual capacity will be tested. An unforgettable climb it is. Don’t ask me here, ask me in person and I’ll tell you what happened.
I missed the third climb due to some unforeseen event in our office. One member of our team filed in immediate resignation that result to leaves freezing and my supposedly fixed calendar goes to disaster.
Fast forward to my TC4, Mount Amuyao. Another different climb, like what they say, no mountain is alike. In this climb, one of my most beautiful morning happened. My jaw dropped. This is what I saw as I opened my tent. I’m like a kid who jump out of tent and say ‘Wooooooow!!! Ang ganda!’.
On my mind:
Sea of clouds. I wanna jump into it. Can I jump? Of course not! But iIt looks so fluffy and soft plus the mountain air. Parang ang sarap matulog sa ulap. Just stare at it, Annie. I glued my eyes into it for like, forever. I can’t look away. Really, the site is awesome.
The only thing that distracts me from the moment is the freezing cold air. I need coffee. This view is good with coffee. Hurry! Picture! Anyone picture me with this lovely site. And look at that smile on your face Annie. I feel infinite.
Mountain takes me back to the basics, how to arrange and fix my own bed, to cook a very simple delicious dishes in just a small burner. Relearn how to tie shoelaces of my muddy shoes since I’m used to hills, slip-ons, flats and sandals.
It teaches me how to live simply. You need to get out from your city comfort zone. Imagine yourself sleeping in a ground sheet, and if you’re too fidgety, you’ll end up lying in soil together with its lodger. You won’t get to wash yourself in a day or two. It’s like it’s just you and whatever available resources for your basic need. And it feels right; it feels awesome being bare of earthly things yet still happy.
It teaches me responsibility. I began to be responsible not only to myself but also to people who are with me. They teach me how to care, care a lot, and to care more. I never imagined feeling so worried for someone who is not blood related.
It teaches me patience. It teaches me hard work. It teaches me bravery. It teaches me pain. It teaches me glory. It teaches me risks. It teaches me adventure and to dig in for more. It teaches me God. It teaches me to pray. It teaches me appreciation. It teaches me simple fun. It teaches me how to live a low life. It teaches me nature. It teaches me concern. It teaches me care. It teaches me service. It teaches me culture. It teaches me focus. It teaches me direction. It teaches me strategy. It teaches me to face challenges. It teaches me excitement. It teaches me time. It teaches me how to get lost. It teaches how to find. It teaches me manners. It teaches me to greet ‘magandang umaga po’ to locals. It teaches me smile and give more. It teaches me gratitude. It teaches me love. It taught me life.
I don’t know how to end this but what I am certain of is that I can proudly say, I’ll be able to live without all the luxuries this materialistic world could offer. Just like the old times.
Waiting for the sunrise, gazing into the vast horizon
Waiting for twilight might bores you, not me.
Appreciate a woman who climbs mountain. She knows how to live in simple things. You may please her with all the luxuries and she will like it but rest assured, when these things vanished, she will be fine.
Appreciate a woman who climbs mountain. Her skin maybe full of scars, but she call it scars of success, of survival. (From Woman in Summit)