Mt. Apo: Preparing for the climb

So, it’s your first time to go up Mt. Apo and you can feel the adrenaline rush through your veins even though you’re supposed to make the climb a week from now. This can perhaps be counted as one of the most “adventurous” things you’re about to do so far in your life as a twenty or thirty something professional.

You’ve heard a lot of stories from friends and colleagues who’ve successfully made the climb. Most have lots of great stories to tell, like how they were able to build friendships with their co-climbers, the various challenges of climbing, and finally conquering the peak, and witnessing the majestic sight that greeted them at the top.

On the other hand, there are those whose climbs didn’t quite turn out how the way they planned them to be. They’re not exactly “horror stories” in the real sense but they’re the stuff which would make yous re-think if doing the climb was indeed a feasible proposition in the first place.

We’ve talked to some of those who have scaled the great Mt. Apo and they all agree on one thing, and that is, the climber’s need for adequate preparation. And this preparation actually starts from the time you block out your schedule and post an FB status update which says: Don’t disturb for one week. Communing with nature.

And so, here are four important things to keep in mind, especially for those who are making the climb for the first time:

1. Have a schedule. All of the activities related to the climb should be based on this schedule. This will allow you to keep track of all your preparatory activities and ensure your climb’s success. It’s essentially a list of the things you need to do like booking your plane or hotel tickets to Davao, or a get-together /planning session with your co-climbers. Most importantly, having a schedule allows you to stick to your plan and manage your time wisely.

2. Bring the right equipment. You’ve heard the saying from soldiers “Do not go into a battle ill-prepared, more so, ill-equipped.” That’s right. You will be literally facing a battle out there with nature. You have to make sure that you have all the equipment you need in order to adapt to and respond to the various challenges of the climb. Your equipment may include, among others, a backpack, raincover, tent, groundsheet, thermal clothing, gloves, bush hat and trekking pole.

3. Be physically prepared. All of us are aware of the rigors of mountain climbing. We have heard stories of those who were not able to even make it even halfway to the peak mainly because of fatigue. This can be avoided, or greatly minimized by conditioning our bodies through various physical activities such as jogging, biking, swimming and other cardio-vascular sports. These activities will help you develop the strength and endurance to get past those massive boulders, cross those streams and finish the climb.

4. Have a positive mindset. As they say nothing beats positive thinking. It is not only enough that you condition your body, but most importantly, your mind to the challenge at hand. This is what sets the great athletes from the rest. They are not only physically gifted but have the ability to rise above any physical pain and discomfort and achieve victory. As a climber, a positive mindset will allow you to weather the most difficult challenges and finish the climb. This is what enabled Filipino mountain climber Leo Oracion to marshal on despite the frostbite and other injuries which were telling his body to give up. His positive mindset allowed him to reach the peak and be part of the elite group of climbers who have conquered Mt. Everest.

So, what are you waiting for? Leave the comfort of your workstations for a week and experience the fun and challenge of climbing Mt. Apo.

Climbing Mt. Apo: Which trail to take?

For so many climbers, climbing Mt. Apo is among the most challenging peaks to conquer because of its height which is touted to be the highest in the country. With its elevation of 3,144 meters above sea level, it is being regarded as the dream peak of all Filipino mountaineers. In fact, when a Filipino mountaineer has already reached its highest point, it becomes his biggest achievement among his conquered peaks in the Philippines.

So, how difficult it is to reach the top of this majestic mountain in the Southern part of the country? Are there different trails to follow depending on the preferences of the climber?

There are actually four established trails which mountaineers can take in order to reach the summit of Mt. Apo. These are the following:

1. Climb Mt. Apo via the Sibulan trail. Reaching Sibulan in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur would only mean less than an hour of driving from Davao City. The Sibulan – Mt. Apo Trail is said to be the most interesting trail because of its width. Despite its narrow path, this particular way to reach the peak of Mt. Apo boasts of lush vegetation and a jungle that features the richness of an ecosystem that is home to different flaura and fauna species.

By passing through this trail, your stamina and determination to reach the top will surely be put to test as you have to hurdle some boulders.

2. Discover Mt. Apo via the Kidapawan trail. Going to Mt. Apo using the Kidapawan, North Cotabato trail is regarded as the easiest way up. On the average, it will only take a backpacker two days to finish the entire climb, which means going up and going down, including taking of photos while enjoying the trek.

From Davao City, a climber has to travel for about three hours to reach the Kidapawan – Mt. Apo Trail.

3. Mt. Apo climbing via the Kapatagan trail. When you want to reach the summit of Mt. Apo via the Kapatagan trail in Digos City, Davao del Sur, you need to travel a little over an hour from Davao City to be at the foot of this trail, which is adjacent to the Sibulan route. However, unlike the Sibulan – Mt. Apo. Trail, this route is wider and would take you a little longer to get to the top.

4. Experience Mt. Apo via the Mt. Talomo trail. The Mt. Talomo – Mt. Apo Trail is touted to be the most challenging route. While it is only found in Davao City, a climber or backpacker has to allocate five days (includes both going up and down) to completely enjoy the majestic view from the top of the country’s highest peak.

The above-mentioned trekking/climbing time schedules are only estimates. It still depends on how quick you go up and down of the Mt. Apo, and of course, how much time you spend to take photos during your entire journey. But one this is sure, you will definitely relish the experience of Mount Apo climbing.