Friday, March 15, 2013

Climb for the Pringles

Mt. Sicapoo/Traverse via Timarid-Simagaysay (2,354 +)

Solsona, Ilocos Norte

Entry point: Gasgas River, Brgy. Manalpac, Solsona
Exit point: Solsona Dam, Brgy. Manalpac, Solsona
LLA: 2354 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 4 days / 16-18 hours
Specs: Major climb, Exploratory, Difficulty 9/9, Trail class 2-5
Features: Pine forest, Traverse trail, River crossing

*source :

Group pics at the penguin beak.Courtesy of Russel De Guzman
 Day 1

Dubbed as the most difficult traverse in the north, with the rating of 9/9, together with few known friends and first time climb buddies, we venture and accept the challenge to traverse sicapoo in 3 days. The climb labeled as "The climb of the abnormals". Onedegreemountaineer suggest in their multiply page that for much comfortable itenaries, the traverse should be completed in 4 days. However, we dont want to comfortable arent we? We all want a new challenges that can bring us to our knees and tell ourselves " Why on earth am i doing this ? ". 

So the adventure begins..

Start of the trek
I already planned and gather logistics for this climb last year. I already coordinated trough email to onedegree, already have the budget and the form to fill out, but with lack of charisma, I failed to gather enough participants for the climb to materialize. So It remains a big dream until the right time comes. 

Melo Sanchez was popular in local mountaineering, as having done a enormous climb records and feats, he is one of the living legend in the field. Some called him "halimaw" (monster) for having successfully completed some of the country's toughest mountain in shorter itenaries, and to be able to have a long stamina and endurance as he can keep walking with no rest until campsite.

Melo Sanchez. Picture of Dan Garcia Samarita
He posted in Facebook that he will be organizing a climb in Mt Sicapoo. I, Myself have this kind of ambition to climb with him, to see how strong he really is. So I send him a message that I want to join the event. However Im not yet comfortable to climb with strangers, and it would be more fun to climb the toughest mountain with someone you already know. So I invite some of my climbing buddies to join me on the event and to my joy, they said say. So the plan begins, to gather information for the event, logistics planning, food preparation and some other things. 

And the climb begins..

We all met at Partas Bus station in Cubao. We arrived in Laog at around 3am, have breakfast, bought packed lunch and dinner, then rode the jeepney to jumpoff. We started to trek at around 6:30am.

First part was a long walk in the flat road,then we entered the first river crossing of Gasgas River. Luckily for us the water was only knee deep, so we dont have any trouble crossing the river. To my count there is at least 4-5 wide river crossing and 3 or more short river crossing or i might be mistaken.I have a climbing strategy to cross the river, as I knew that the rocks below the river might at times became too slippery or the current might be strong deeply, so I pick up a short walking stick, and never left it until Im back at the jumpoff at the end of the climb. Having a third leg in river crossing is also a safety precaution for me, and it help me secure my footing many times, and I have escaped a number of slip and fall.

The First River Crossing. Picture of Dan Garcia Samarita

River Crossing with Walking Stick.Picture of Dan Garcia Samarita
At 11am, we reached the end of the river crossing and took our lunch at the area after the crossing. After 30mins, with the sun shines at its fulles, we began the non stop ascent to the mountain. With numerous ascent and short descent, only to hike up again, on the ridges under the scorching sun, We eventually reached the saulay campsite or crossing at 4pm. We supposed to camp at bubuos campsite, but with some of our companion already showed signs of fatigue, we all agree to call it a day. Of course we all know that tomorrow, another set of challenges, torture and pain awaits all of us. 
Start of the Assault. Picture of Samuel Solidarios

Assault under the heat

Picture of the Gentleman, Russel De Guzman

Campsite.Picture of hiking buddy Dan Garcia Samarita

To be continued...


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