Bumped to this video posted in FB, Mt. Sicapoo became my Target. I shared the video and got some positive reactions and confirmations from my friends online..... exchange insights...... several preclimbs......then we're ready to take the challenge.
Day 1 of our Itinerary went haywire when Sir Chong didn't make it to the 8:00pm departure and left Manila around 11.30 instead. We had the entire first half of the day roaming around the City.
Took pictures of the Sinking Bell Tower, once an old Red Cross building turn to SM Hypermarket and the Provincial Hall.
The entire 4 days challenge was blessed with sunny weather, thus my fear of crossing several rivers was turn into pure fun.
Day 1 was light to moderate trek, the hardest part was the crossing of rivers. Though the level was not that high and the current was not that strong yet the rocks, slippery rocks slows the team on day 1.
Day 2 and the final 3 rivers were crossed. Reaching Markang Bato was a bit of a challenge, minor difficulty on the terrain passing a very small path covered with cogon grass while to the right side was a cliff.
Markang Bato was the last stop for the River crossing challenge (for route Gasgas River to Solsona Dam) then the rest was purely assault, knife edges and 100% sun exposure.
Saulay Junction was not that wide in terms of space however it accommodated 6 tents for the team, it was our base camp for the next 2 days. Now I understood why the place was preferred to as Crossing because this is where the trail going to Bubuos, Pakpako, The Summit and Mt. Timarid meets. (The Guides and I had a bit of confusion about Saulay Junction and Saulay Crossing)
Blessed with a good weather, from Saulay Junction Mt. Sicapoo was pretty visible as well as Mt. Timarid on the opposite.
The trail was composed of knife edges, flat grounds, pine trees and fantastic views. We had our last group 15mins break at Mt. Matalindong while mounching some small berries. Mt. Sicapoo was just in front of us and the Penguin' beak can be seen.... sumisilip at naghihintay sa aming pagdating.
Good thing I brought with me my 20ft. rope and with it, 9 of us were able to reach the topmost portion of the famous Sicapoo's Penguin Beak.
We had our short lunch at the Peak then made some PhotoOps then descend started around 2:00pm. We reached the camp site around 7:00pm even though we did a combination of trail run and fast paced trek. I believe PhotoOps was the culprit for the delay but hey you cannot blame us for it...... with the view like that, surely no one wants to miss it and seize the moment.
Finishing Mt. Timarid was a pure challenge too, with its 70 to 80 degrees of descend and ascend under the scourging heat of the Sun. A 20 mins bath at the stream recharged my body......for what lies after Timarid........... The final blow at Mt. Simagaysay.
This time we were joined by Sir Ton and Sir Rex..... Entering Mt. Simagaysay was a bit easy compared to Mt. Timarid yet the crazy moments started when we entered the forested part of Mt. Simagaysay. Trail was slippery that most of us slid and slipped several times.... "Kung kelan patapos na saka pa nagkaslide slide".
Rested under the shade of a big tree while watching 5 Hawks (Lawin) soaring and gliding across the field below. Our Guide gave us the Go signal..... a go signal for the last part of the 4 day traverse............ The Surprise that awaits the entire team..... The Surprise that almost crippled me or worst ended my life.
I accidentally stepped on these pebbles while descending when I slipped and dragged to a small hole. My left leg was trapped inside the hole (highly above knee level) while my entire body bend towards a cliff.... If ever that hole was not there.....you won't be reading this blog now.
Watching the One Degree Plateau from above was like watching a scene from The Lion King or any African Safari Docu. The plateau was a vast land covered with grass, dried grass at that time which was a perfect scenic when the sun was about to set, it painted the entire area Orange...... Magnificent....
The lead pack was so thankful we witnessed such view.
The first group was relieved after 1 liter of Coke (each) quenched our thirst.... thirst for something different aside from water.
Rest... Sharing of experiences and funny moments while waiting for the rest of the team before heading back to Tatay Emilio's house for final clean up then head back to Manila.
My First 9/9 Mountain....
Once a Dream..........
became a reality.............
Now you are reading the One of my Craziest, Extremist Climb.......... in Far North!
1. Make sure your tummy can tolerate mountain waters... Carrying heavy loads of water for the entire Traverse will slow you down.
2. Water Sources are available and Guides are very accommodating in terms of refilling your containers/source.
3. Itinerary will be provided by One Degree Group. All climb activities for Sicapoo are arranged by the said group.
4. Mt. Sicapoo challenge can be traverse either 4 days or 3 days itinerary.
5. Bring tons of patience, courage and equipped yourself with enough strength for this awesome adventure.