Thursday, July 3, 2014

[Throwback Thursday 07.03.2014] Our cringeworthy induction climb to Mt Manalmon

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Texting atop Mt Manalmon. Trivia: this photo was used for an article that came out in The Philippine Star.

This should have been my Throwback Thursday post last week because it was exactly 10 years ago on June 26 when the founding members of the Smart Mountaineering Club--otherwise known as Core or Batch 0--scaled the ridiculously short Mt Manalmon in San Miguel, Bulacan. I never wanted to, nor do I now, call it an induction climb because it makes me cringe. I mean, it's an extremely minor climb and this mountain--if it ever deserves to be called one--rises a mere 160 MASL.

In mountaineering parlance, an induction climb is the final climb where mountaineering trainees are inducted into a club following their completion of a basic mountaineering course (BMC). Depending on the club, the course could run anywhere from days to months. As such, induction climbs are often the hardest ones or if not, they involve the tallest mountains, preferably those that require more than 2 days to complete.

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That's the peak of Mt Manalmon on the right while on the left is Mt Gola. A river runs between these two.

I don't remember who exactly proposed this mountain but he promised that although Manalmon may be a short one, it involves river crossing, bouldering, and the like, which all make it sound like a technical climb. Well, there sure was a river, some huge boulders, but they weren't really challenging obstacles to our climb.

At the jumpoff in Bgy. Madlum we gathered for some supplemental lessons that weren't covered during our classroom sessions. Jovanni Cid, our Convenor then and who's also a member of the hardcore AMCI (another mountaineering club), gave the additional lessons.

We really took our time and only begain trekking at 12 noon. The trek involved leisurely walking through fields, some minimal uphill terrain, the river, and some huge stone surfaces. We also went through a cave at one point. I think it was called Madlum cave, if I remember it right.

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Remedial class for the core group?

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The trail looks rather idyllic here, doesn't it? And look, my backpack's so small! They said pack light so I did.

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Traffic jam on the trail.

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Inside the Madlum Cave. Just passing through, though.

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I was such a camwhore back then and still one to this day. I kinda miss this hairstyle.

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Scaling a 40-degree inclined stone surface.

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Obviously a choreographed shot. It was upsetting, however, to see these trees cut.

Because it was such an easy peasy climb, or trek, we spent some leisurely time by the river before our final ascent. There was swimming and some make-believe bouldering. Well, we just tried going up and around those huge rocks that littered the area.

Only after when we've felt we had had enough did we make our two-step final ascent. The first was towards the campsite and the final one was to the summit. Mind you, even in such a short route left, we made a lot of stops, mostly for pictures. Despite its meager height, Manalmon offered some fairly nice views.

And by the way, through all this we had a guide named Mark. He's a dog.

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You think this river's deep or not?

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Bouldering? Or thinly-veiled camwhoring?

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Picture-picture!

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Enjoying the views from the summit. That's our guide on the far right.

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Alright, since this climb was effortless, we tried our best to make it look hard. But I think we failed.

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Cooking dinner. On the menu was lechon kawali and sinigang na gulay. But who knew we'd end up together?

This whole Manalmon thing was nothing more than a glorified picnic. There was more swimming the following morning, though we did try a slightly more difficult route at one point just because. At least we had a taste of bouldering without faking it at all this time around.

Maybe we should've just called this whole thing a fun climb. Haha!

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Riding on a floating rock along the river. Teehee, it's the two of us again!

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Photos such as this makes you think if this was any climb at all.

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Okay, at least this wasn't faked.

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A well-choreographed river crossing. For posterity's sake of course!

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The whole gang. And we were ready to recruit more members into the club.

Happy Anniversary once again to the Smart Mountaineering Club! Despite the inevitable fact that people come and go, it's nice to see that SMC has taken on a life of its own, thanks to the many others who, through the years, have assumed the many responsibilities of running the club and keeping it very much alive.

Carry on!

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