Sunday, June 3, 2012

6 Reasons Why I Love Mountain Climbing

Almost two months of busy days with my personal life, at work and other important events, I only had one hiking activity (and not an official climb) for the entire duration of busyness, and my hand seemed to have been dragging out to my laptop, yes! I got no stories to share with you since I didn’t get to participate or organize any climb event and yet my heart just overflowed to share something.

I’m writing this essay to express my thoughts on the discovery of a passion, the lessons I get and at the same time, having the opportunity to help other people and the chances to  travel and reach different destinations. So, here are the six reasons. Let me expand each of these.

      1. I Discovered a Passion

I have never imagined this before. If I’ll be tracing my life back through my journals, I never thought I would become a mountaineer for real. Or perhaps, the only indication then is that I love adventures and I really enjoy simple hiking activities in the province back when I was a student. (As mentioned in my previous post “I love Nature. I Love Mountains.”) It was only when I was already working when I planned engaging into outdoor activities.

What am I trying to say-- that discovering this passion to climb really added colors and directions to my life. Yes, it makes my journey extra exciting and it makes me discover more about myself.

I must admit, climbing isn’t easy and indeed a risky activity. I admit that sometimes I do experience tantrums in the middle of an inconvenient climb, yet after I went through and endured such, I feel an indescribable feeling of joy, compliment to myself, satisfaction and fulfillment—that I have gone through such difficulties yet I survived. I did it because I love what I am doing. I heart this outdoor activity.

 ‘Found myself recalling the earlier years of my life.. Was it really my dream to be on top of the summit? And so I say, “Not really.” Yes.. it wasn’t. Maybe because I’m already a country girl, a person who’s seeing nature is like just normal to me since I’m from a far away province. But wait!!!! It might not be an unacceptable reasoning; it must have been part of the reasons but not a major one. Or perhaps, it is that I enjoy walking, I can stand a long walk without becoming too much tired or if I get tired, I just can endure it.

Why do I climb? This is a indeed cliché..  a question that  one will have never to miss and hear especially when you join a climb or when you start a conversation with any climber. It’s just like.. “you have to answer it!!!!” Just kidding.. but of course I would have to answer such question…

So, here’s my fair share--
I truly enjoy walking..
I enjoy wandering..
 I enjoy being enclosed by the nature..
 I enjoy pushing myself to limit knowing that up there in the summit is an intangible price of being a witness of God’s creative hands..
I want serenity.. I want to converse with God..  and so I climb!!

Whenever I climb, it also reminds me that I should be thankful that I am strong—I can walk with my two feet in the trail, I can see the beauty of the nature and I can hear the sounds of birds and other animals as I trek.
And there, I believe I have awakened and discovered a passion that is buried within me. My heart jumps for joy whenever I am anticipating a fast approaching climb event.

I could still remember the days when everything was just uttered words “I wanna try mountain climbing” and everything was just a plan,  that was after I tried hiking up Mt. Pinatubo  and now here I go when trails, trees, rivers, falls, wild life of the mountains are openly waiting for me. To make it more convincing, for the love of target mountains in my bucket list, I was able to organize some climb events with the help of my climbing buddy and close mountaineering friends.

To date, I am on my way to a two-year belongingness in mountaineering world.—around 30 summits and counting, including a lot of major climbs and a solo trek. More mountains await, I know I am not yet in a position where I can say something big like a veteran mountaineer ( I must also confess that I haven’t even attended any Basic Mountaineering Course (simply known by typical mountaineers  as BMC), but of course I’m planning to join one. What I have learned to date are from practical lessons of the actual climb)Yes, I could  not and would not brag (and even if I would be a veteran in climbing, I don’t think of any reason that I should brag) Yes, I am excited! I have lots of mountains to summit and climb stories to share.

So that’s it! And What’s the relevance? What I am trying to point out is that it is passion that would set you to the area where you could enjoy at. It is where you are planted that you’ll make your heart sing and dance for joy.

   2. Mountain Climbing made me choose to become a dreamer

Mountaineering also taught me to become a dreamer, not just to climb to make it a mere outlet from a week’s tiredness at work,(of course it’s a common reason). Just like in life, one needs a direction to carry on. Once a purpose or direction is gone, he or she can never continue. I would like to relate my life being an accountant with this—when I was a child, all I wanted  was to finish my study, and then I realized I should specify one, I dreamed of becoming a teacher or in a bank or be in a corporate world so I decided to take up accountancy;  when I was  in college and few more years I’ll be graduating, I realized it was not enough, I should pass my board exams after graduation in order to become a CPA, when I got my license, I dreamed of a good job, When I landed a good job, it was the first time I seemed to get stuck in my journey, I thought I’m already ok with what and where I was. It was one of my darkest moments of my life, I though it’s the end of my pursuit since I already got what I really wanted before. I stopped dreaming and I really didn’t  know what I really want. And I was wrong. I should continue to carry on and aspire for more such as to get promoted and become a more improved and knowledgeable finance officer and an expertise in my chosen field. God has indeed more in store for me, I strongly believe. He wants me to enjoy life and live a life in full. I engaged myself to different activities including serving in a church/community which really gives me an opportunity to serve and satisfies my desire and pursuit to do something noble for God’s glory.

 Moving on, I believe that once one is no longer challenged, everything gradually gets boring and may eventually makes him/her lazy and have an unwanted life. To become a mountaineer for some, including me, is to thirst for new mountains to explore, or to test himself with more difficult ones. When I little by little got familiar with mountaineering, I set a short-term goal and dreamed of a difficult climb. It was Mt. Sicapoo (2,354 meters above sea level)  with a 9/9 scale of difficulty that I want to try myself out, the hardest climb in the Ilocos region. And I made a successful traverse of it along with my companions last February 23-35, 2012. It made my climbing activities extra fun and exciting since I have something I was really looking forward for.  I engaged myself to various training climbs and run. I was so determined. This is because I wanted to attain the vigor and strength that I need. My next target is with the same level of difficulty in the local mountaineering  --the Knife Edge Trilogy which are Mt. Guiting-Guiting in Romblon, Mt. Mantalingahan in Palawan, and Mt. Halcon in Mindoro (the third one is uncertain yet) . Of course I want to try the 3 highest  mountains in Mindanao which includes Mt. Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines. Wow, I seem to be too brave to utter these dreams. As a responsible mountaineer, I will prepare and train myself well for these so that I will be well-equipped, physically strong enough and emotionally determined to do all of these

   3. Mountain climbing taught me some values.

It  taught me to become spontaneous,  disciplined and more patient.  Just like other outdoor activities, mountain climbing, though fun, is also a very dangerous activity. One would need a good  disposition, faith,  positive thinking, determined mind and focus. I could vividly remember during our descent in our Mt. Sicapoo climb where we had to traverse it through Mt. Timarid. I lost my concentration and I got distracted perhaps because of tantrums, tiredness and excessive thinking. I fell and slipped on the trail not just once but I think more than thrice, and once, I almost bagged my face into the trail. I was like catching a frog but failed to catch it. Literally, fell downward with my whole body completely  thrown away. and It happened in a thorny, messy  forest. And because I was distracted I also almost fall into a cliff, it was not necessarily a cliff but It was a very narrow side trail (seems like terraces/plantation) and once you missed a single step not giving a focus on it, you could surely roll down). One more thing is when we hiked up Mt. Banahaw and my chin got scratches and got injured because of slippery rocks while we were crossing a river. I seriously and normally am afraid of rocks and mosses.(oh yes, you should laugh at me and reprimand me for having such fears, I am trying to do something to be confident in such trails, it’s for me to make me conquer myself in the difficult mountains  that I am dreaming of).

And would you believe that I cried not being able to summit  Mt. Mayon. Yes, I did! It is one of the mountains  where there is a right target time to reach the summit and one should go summiting it only when he/she’s given a fair weather for safety purposes. To continue, I was so excited for such climb and we had a not-so-bad weather upon reaching Camp 1 on Day 1. We were so hopeful for the following day, the summit day,  and we even slept very early for that. And around 2 am of Day 2, it rained. It rained so hard and almost didn’t stop until the sun went up in the morning. We had a foggy weather. If I were to decide for myself, I would push through, since at around 8am, the sun started to show up. But of course, as reminded by my companions, “Safety First”. A mountaineer knows the true definition of courage, he knows when to go and when to back track.

Moreover, I am always very well prepared with unanticipated rains or any other inconvenience like extreme heat of the sun during the climb. I believe its normal and I should endure and accept it and not kill the excitement of the climb. Hey, it’s part of the climb! It’s never a smooth journey at all times. 

Patience is a virtue. Sometimes, aside from, I should stand firm from a very lengthy trek, I associate patience also in the instance that no matter how  I desire for a certain climb, I could not do so because of some unavoidable circumstances or more important events that made the planned climb conflict with my schedule. What I usually say to myself is, “The mountains are always there. It will wait for you for a lifetime.”

                  4. Mountain climbing offers opportunities to render help to other people and to do something for a noble purpose.

      What I also love about mountain climbing is that it’s not only for fun or for amusement. There is always a good opportunity to do something good or do a climb for a cause.  You may hear about various outreach climbs and tree climbing activities.

     Others may not prefer it but for me, a mission climb is a activity. You enjoy the passion to climb and at the same time you are able to help out our  less fortunate and indigent brothers and sisters in those remote mountainous areas. As the title goes about my first outreach climb—generosity and vigor should be  combined— for such activity. Honestly, I have only engaged  once (to date) for each of the mentioned activities—an outreach climb for the Dumagat natives in Mt. Irid and a tree planting in Mt. Sembrano. Although, I am still looking for other possible mission climbs to join at. Hopefully, if time permits me, I would again be able to participate or might as well initiate and organize and encourage my mountaineering friends for an outreach climb. 
         5. Mountain climbing opens doors for friendships.

     It’s also a big “plus” that I make friends in every event. How amazing that different people from different walks of life find and meet each other and share the same passion of scaling the mountains. It’s like I’m having a good appetite whenever I have conversations with mountaineers because we share good and not-so-good ideas, funny and serious climbing moments, similar and dissimilar experiences. I believe I meet many people, interact and make friends with some of them for a purpose. Something beautiful is always going to happen--- friendships, deeper relationships.

      6. Lastly, Mountain climbing gives me a bonus—to become a traveller at the same time and now I am able to blog and share my stories.

      As the ad says to promote tourism in our country, "It’s more fun in the Philippines!". And it really is. Before I became a mountaineer, I once asked myself, “when can I ever  travel around the Philippines and how?”  I once became an auditor with a hope that such job somehow gives me chances to get into different destinations but I just didn’t get lucky to get assigned to far away places. Anyway, what's important is that my work now, though not more of travel, allows me to still have balance with recreational activities and meaningful weekend activities.

      I still consider myself  new to mountaineering and travel, don’t you see and I am so hyper and excited. I’m looking forward for our set Mindanao 123 (Mt. Apo, Mt. Kitanglad and Mt. Dulang-dulang) expedition in August this year. And of course, who won’t be targetting  international climbs after all of these? I’m eyeing for Mt. Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia to start with. Although this was already set and already in my bucket list for 2012, but due to some circumstances and more important reasons, I’m forgetting it temporarily for this year. Unless, somebody would like to sponsor me for such climb? <wink>

      A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step as Lao Tzu said. I’m holding on to my passion. I’m holding on to my dreams. I made my first few steps. I know I can seize the given life that God has given me. I can do not only something, and because of the reasons above, I can do many things as a mountaineer. I am a mountaineer by heart.

My third time in Rockies, October 2011 (Mt. Maculot, Cuenca, Batangas)


  1. wow.. your story is really very inspiring. i really love to hike too.

  2. Hi Flory-vie, thanks for taking time to read this [very lengthy] post of mine.. hehe, yeah, enjoy every climb and keep on reaching the top :)


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