climb mt apo guide

How Hard Is It to Climb Mount Apo? A Comprehensive Guide to Conquering the Highest Peak in the Philippines

Mount Apo is the highest mountain in the Philippines, standing at 2,954 meters above sea level. It is a popular destination for hikers and mountaineers who want to experience its breathtaking views and challenging trails. However, many people wonder how hard it is to climb Mount Apo.

The difficulty level of climbing Mount Apo varies depending on several factors, such as the trail you choose, your physical fitness level, and the weather conditions. Some trails are more challenging than others, and require a higher level of fitness and experience. It is important to prepare yourself physically and mentally before attempting to climb Mount Apo, and to choose the right trail that matches your skill level.

climb mt apo guide

Despite the challenges, climbing Mount Apo can be a rewarding experience that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and a chance to explore the rich biodiversity of the area. With proper preparation and a positive attitude, anyone can climb Mount Apo and enjoy its beauty and majesty.

Key Takeaways

  • Climbing Mount Apo can be challenging, but the difficulty level varies depending on several factors.
  • Proper preparation, including physical and mental training, is essential for a successful climb.
  • Choosing the right trail that matches your skill level is crucial for a safe and enjoyable climbing experience.

Understanding Mount Apo

Mount Apo is the highest mountain in the Philippines, towering at an altitude of 2,954 meters above sea level. It is located in Mindanao, the southern part of the central highlands of the country. Mount Apo is a stratovolcano, which means it is a composite volcano built by many layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. It is also an active volcano with a history of eruptions, but it is currently considered dormant.

Despite being a dormant volcano, Mount Apo still has vents that produce steam and sulphurous gases. These vents are located at the summit and around the mountain, which makes it important for climbers to be aware of the current weather and volcanic activity before embarking on a climb.

Climbing Mount Apo is a challenging feat that requires physical fitness, proper preparation, and a good understanding of the mountain’s terrain. The climb typically takes two to three days, depending on the chosen trail and the climber’s pace. The mountain has several trails that vary in difficulty, but all of them require a certain level of fitness and endurance.

The altitude of Mount Apo also poses a challenge to climbers. At higher elevations, the air becomes thinner, which can cause altitude sickness. Climbers need to acclimate to the altitude by spending a few days at a lower elevation before attempting to climb to the summit.

In conclusion, climbing Mount Apo is a challenging but rewarding experience for those who are up for the challenge. It is important to have a good understanding of the mountain’s terrain, weather conditions, and volcanic activity before embarking on a climb. With proper preparation and physical fitness, climbers can conquer the highest peak in the Philippines and enjoy the breathtaking views from the summit.

Preparation for the Climb

Climbing Mount Apo requires proper preparation to ensure a safe and successful climb. Here are some important things to keep in mind when preparing for the climb:


All the activities related to the climb should be based on a schedule. This will allow climbers to keep track of all preparatory activities and ensure the climb’s success. A well-planned itinerary should include the estimated time of arrival and departure, the duration of the climb, the number of days needed for acclimatization, and the necessary permits and fees.

Gear and Equipment

Climbers should have the necessary gear and equipment for the climb. This includes a backpack, a tent, a sleeping bag, a stove, cooking utensils, and a first-aid kit. It is essential to choose gear that is lightweight, durable, and appropriate for the climb.

Food and Water

Eating a nutritious and balanced breakfast is important for climbers to get the right amount of carbohydrates and nutrients to generate the much-needed energy for the climb. Climbers should also bring enough food and water to sustain them during the climb. It is recommended to bring energy bars, nuts, dried fruits, and electrolyte drinks to keep hydrated.

Exercise and Physical Health

Climbers should prepare their bodies for the climb by engaging in regular exercise and stretching. This will help improve their endurance, strength, and flexibility. It is also important to get enough rest and sleep before the climb to ensure that the body is well-rested and ready for the physical demands of the climb.

Apparel and Clothing

Climbers should wear appropriate clothing and apparel for the climb. This includes a waterproof jacket, pants, gloves, and a hat. It is also recommended to wear layers of clothing that can be easily removed or added depending on the weather conditions. Climbers should also wear comfortable and sturdy hiking boots with good ankle support.

By following these preparation tips, climbers can ensure a safe and successful climb to the summit of Mount Apo.

Choosing the Right Trail

When it comes to climbing Mount Apo, choosing the right trail is crucial. There are many trails to choose from, each with its own unique features and challenges. Some of the most popular trails include the Sibulan, Kapatagan, and Kidapawan trails.

The Sibulan trail is considered the most interesting trail because of its width, despite its narrow path. It boasts of lush vegetation and a jungle that features the richness of an ecosystem that is home to different flora and fauna species. This trail is recommended for experienced mountaineers who are looking for a challenging climb.

The Kapatagan trail is the easiest and most popular trail to take. It is the most recommended trail for beginners and those who want to take a leisurely climb. It offers a scenic view of the surrounding mountains and valleys, making it a popular choice for photographers.

The Kidapawan trail is the most challenging trail to take. It is a steep and rocky climb that requires a high level of physical fitness and mountaineering experience. This trail is recommended for experienced climbers who are looking for a more challenging climb.

It is important to note that there are many other trails to choose from, and climbers should choose the trail that best suits their level of fitness and experience. It is also important to hire a guide who is familiar with the trail and can provide assistance and guidance throughout the climb.

Table: Trail Comparison

TrailDifficulty LevelFeatures
SibulanChallengingNarrow path, lush vegetation, rich ecosystem
KapataganEasyScenic view of surrounding mountains and valleys
KidapawanVery ChallengingSteep and rocky climb, requires high level of fitness
Many TrailsVariousDifferent levels of difficulty, features, and challenges
Mt. TalomoChallengingRequires high level of fitness and mountaineering experience

In summary, choosing the right trail is crucial to ensure a safe and enjoyable climb up Mount Apo. Climbers should consider their level of fitness and experience when choosing a trail and should hire a guide who is familiar with the trail. With the right preparation and guidance, climbing Mount Apo can be a rewarding and unforgettable experience.

The Climbing Experience

Climbing Mount Apo is a challenging but rewarding experience for those who are up for the adventure. The summit offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape, making the climb worth every effort.

To successfully climb Mount Apo, climbers need to be physically fit and prepared for the strenuous trek. The climb can take up to three days, and climbers need to rest and acclimate to the altitude before reaching the summit. Porters are available to help carry equipment and supplies, but climbers should still be prepared to carry their own backpacks.

Safety is a top priority when climbing Mount Apo. Climbers should follow the rules and regulations set by the local authorities and always be aware of their surroundings. Camping is allowed in designated areas, and climbers should bring their own sleeping bag to stay warm during the cold nights.

Weather conditions can be unpredictable, and climbers should be prepared for rain and strong winds. Boulders and steep terrain can also make the climb challenging, so climbers should be cautious and take their time.

Despite the challenges, the climb up Mount Apo is a beautiful experience. The flora and fauna along the way are diverse and unique, and the view from the summit is breathtaking. A successful climb to the top is a great accomplishment and a memory that will last a lifetime.

Costs and Logistics

Climbing Mount Apo requires careful planning and budgeting. The logistics of the climb can be complex, but with proper preparation, it can be a rewarding experience.

Getting to Mount Apo

Most climbers fly to Davao City, the largest city in Mindanao, and then take a bus or van to Digos City, where the climb usually starts. From Digos City, climbers can take a habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) to the jump-off point in Sitio Colan. You don’t have to worry about all of these things, with Discover Mt Apo, we will take care of the rest while you focus on your mental and physical health.

Guide and Permit

Climbing Mount Apo requires a guide and a permit. Guides can be hired in Davao City or Digos City, or directly booking here in Discover Mt Apo. All the necessary permits like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Davao City are handled by Discover Mt Apo guides.

Accommodation and Rental

Climbers need to bring their own tents and camping equipment. There are several campsites along the trail, and climbers can rent a tent from the guides if they don’t have their own. Accommodations in Davao City and Digos City range from budget to high-end hotels, depending on the climber’s budget.

Red Tape and Fees

Climbers need to secure a climb permit from the DENR, and there are fees associated with the permit. The fees depend on the season and the number of climbers in the group. Climbers also need to pay an environmental fee, which is used for the conservation and protection of Mount Apo.


Climbing Mount Apo can be expensive, but it is possible to do it on a budget. The cost of the climb depends on the number of climbers in the group, the season, and the level of comfort desired. Climbers should budget for transportation, guide fees, permit fees, equipment rental, food, and accommodation.

Overall, climbing Mount Apo requires careful planning and budgeting. Climbers should be prepared for the logistics of the climb, including transportation, accommodation, and equipment rental. With proper preparation and a knowledgeable guide, climbing Mount Apo can be a rewarding experience.

Discovering Mount Apo’s Biodiversity

Mount Apo is not only the highest peak in the Philippines but also a crucial site for biodiversity conservation. It is considered a Key Biodiversity Area and a Conservation Priority Area due to its rich flora and fauna. The park is home to over 272 bird species, including the critically endangered Philippine eagle, which is endemic to the Philippines.

The Philippine eagle is one of the largest and most powerful eagles in the world, with a wingspan of up to 7 feet. It is also one of the rarest, with only around 400 pairs remaining in the wild. Due to habitat loss and hunting, the Philippine eagle is critically endangered, and Mount Apo is one of the few remaining places where it can be found.

Apart from the Philippine eagle, Mount Apo is also home to several other endemic bird species, such as the Mindanao bleeding-heart pigeon and the Mindanao montane forest warbler. The park’s rich biodiversity also includes several mammal species, such as the Philippine warty pig, the Mindanao tree shrew, and the Mindanao pygmy fruit bat.

In addition to its fauna, Mount Apo is also home to over 1,200 plant species, including several endemic ones such as the Nepenthes peltata, a carnivorous plant that is found only in the Philippines. The park’s diverse flora includes several forest types, such as mossy forests, dipterocarp forests, and montane forests.

Visitors to Mount Apo can explore the park’s rich biodiversity by taking guided tours or hiking along the park’s trails. However, it is essential to follow park rules and regulations to minimize the impact on the park’s delicate ecosystem. Visitors should avoid littering, picking flowers, or disturbing wildlife.

Overall, Mount Apo’s rich biodiversity makes it a crucial site for conservation and an excellent destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.

History of Mount Apo

Mount Apo is a stratovolcano located in the island of Mindanao, Philippines. It is the highest peak in the country, with an elevation of 3,142.79 meters above sea level. The mountain is considered sacred by the indigenous people of the region, the Lumads, who believe that it is the home of their gods.

The first recorded climb to the summit of Mount Apo was led by Don Joaquin Rajal, a Politico-Military Governor of Davao, in the year 1880, with Datu Manib of Sibulan as their guide. Since then, the mountain has become a popular destination for mountaineers and hikers.

Despite its popularity, Mount Apo has remained relatively unspoiled, thanks in part to the establishment of the Mount Apo Natural Park in 1936. The park covers an area of 281 square miles and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including the endangered Philippine eagle.

Mount Apo is also known for its geothermal resources, which have been used to generate electricity since the 1970s. The mountain’s geothermal plant is operated by the Energy Development Corporation and provides power to the surrounding areas.

Overall, Mount Apo has played an important role in the history and culture of the Philippines. Its beauty and significance continue to attract visitors from around the world, and efforts are being made to preserve its natural resources for future generations to enjoy.

Tips for a Successful Climb

Climbing Mount Apo is no easy feat. It requires a lot of preparation, patience, and determination. Here are some tips to help make your climb successful:

  • Get fit: Being in optimal physical health is crucial for a successful climb. It is recommended to do regular exercises and train for at least 2-3 months before the climb. This will help condition your body for the strenuous activities involved in trekking and climbing.
  • Pack smart: It is important to pack light but also bring the necessary items for the climb. A backpack with a capacity of at least 50 liters is recommended. Bring comfortable and sturdy trekking shoes, a waterproof jacket, and a hat. Don’t forget to bring a first aid kit, insect repellent, and sunscreen.
  • Hire a guide: Hiring a guide is highly recommended for a successful climb. A guide can help you navigate the trails, provide information about the area, and ensure your safety. Guides can be hired through travel agencies or through the Department of Tourism.
  • Be patient: Climbing Mount Apo requires a lot of patience. The climb can take 2-3 days depending on the route taken and the pace of the climbers. It is important to take breaks and rest when needed. This will help prevent exhaustion and injuries.
  • Take photos and videos: Climbing Mount Apo offers breathtaking views of nature. Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the beautiful scenery. Taking photos and videos can also serve as a motivation to keep going during the climb.
  • Camp at Lake Venado: Lake Venado is a popular camping site for climbers. It is located at the base of Mount Apo and offers stunning views of the mountain. Camping at Lake Venado can also help acclimatize climbers to the altitude.
  • Visit Baruring and Colan: Baruring and Colan are two waterfalls located near the base of Mount Apo. They offer a refreshing break from the climb and are worth visiting.

Overall, climbing Mount Apo requires preparation, patience, and determination. By following these tips, climbers can increase their chances of a successful climb.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the recommended trail for climbing Mount Apo?

Our most recommended trail is the Sibulan or the “Boulder’s trail”. This trail starts in the town of Sibulan and usually takes around 3-4 days to complete.

How long does it take to climb Mount Apo?

The duration of the climb depends on the trail used and the climber’s level of fitness. The Kidapawan Trail usually takes 3-4 days, while the Magpet Trail takes 4-5 days. The traverse from Magpet to Kidapawan takes around 5-7 days.

What are the necessary preparations before climbing Mount Apo?

Climbers should be in good physical condition and should have undergone prior training. It is recommended to bring appropriate gear such as hiking shoes, a backpack, a tent, a sleeping bag, and other necessary equipment. Climbers should also bring enough food and water for the duration of the climb.

What is the difficulty level of climbing Mount Apo?

Climbing Mount Apo is considered a challenging climb, and it is recommended for experienced climbers. The ascent involves steep and rocky terrain, and the weather conditions can be unpredictable.

What are the challenges that climbers usually face when climbing Mount Apo?

Climbers usually face challenges such as altitude sickness, fatigue, dehydration, and extreme weather conditions. The terrain can be slippery, and there are steep ascents and descents.

What are the safety precautions for climbing Mount Apo?

Climbers should always follow safety guidelines and regulations. It is recommended to climb with a licensed guide and to inform the local authorities of the climb. Climbers should also check weather conditions before the climb and bring appropriate gear and equipment. It is vital to stay hydrated and to take breaks when needed.