The camp was alive at 6 AM, everyone was busy preparing for breakfast. The schedule to leave for the much-anticipated Alto Peak climb was at 8 AM. We were told to prepare our gloves & all cause it’s gonna be an uphill battle. And what a battle indeed.
We left the camp at 9:00 AM. Like the previous day, we started with a prayer led by Ms Ai. But unlike the previous day, she delivered it in vernacular this time. Warm up exercise followed by the amazing Gwen. I expected the exercise to be almost a routine but turns out, our exercise for Alto was a little different from what we had at Janagdan.
We left our big bags at the camp. We only brought our assault pack with our lunch, snacks & water. I underestimated the water at Janagdan, so I aimed to have 1.5 liters of liquid this time – 1 Nalgene of water & a 500 ml Pocari sweat. But ekkkk! It was still not enough. Drinking Pocari didn’t quench my thirst. It made me want to drink more water. Lesson learned from Ms Cha: just bring water! Drink ionized water before the trek, not on the trek.
From the entrance where an “Alingatong” plant stood, the real challenge begun. Compared to Janagdan where we could hold on to something, the trail to Alto had nothing. The bushes & grasses lining up the trail was either too big or too small for us to hold on to. I managed to hold one but got very scared when I saw a hairy worm just above my hand. And needless to say, I became paranoid. From that point, I relied on my knee power. And for the first time ever, the bruises and scrapes I had conquering Alto was record breaking. It was too many to count.
The 90 degree Climb
We were told that there would be some rope action but being me, I totally forgot. I only remembered it on our snack stop when Ms Cha mentioned that we were drawing near to the 90 degree part. And of course, it excites me more. I’ve never had a climb with a rope part.
We took our turns on going up. I was supposed to timed it but forgot again. Being excited is really bad for me cause I tend to lost focus. When it was my turn, my heart dribbled. I muttered a prayer, shouted to Cristine to take a picture of me. And then up I went. Cristine commented about how quickly I scrambled to the top. I must have been really hyped up to be able to do that.
The beauty of Alto Peak started after the 90 degree ascent. From that point, it was just breath taking. I literally took a picture every stop I had in going up. Because I took too long in taking pictures Liz went head of me this time.
The trail was winding & menacing. We needed to catch up with the others to make sure we are on the right track. But they are nowhere near so we just took our time. After a while of walking Liz blurted out what I was feeling since after the 90 degree ascent. The views that we saw were already enough to justify every bruises and scratches that we had. I asked her if she wanted to have lunch already because at that point my stomach was growling. Glad that Liz didn’t took my suggestion ’cause after 5 minutes, we finally saw them.
It wasn’t quite what I imagined. I expected an open space just like the peaks of Apo, Pulag & Canlaon but it was more like the peak of Talinis. It wasn’t an open space. The peak was with plants on it. We ate in a small space. And what baffled me was the fog covering the view. I really thought that it was about to rain but the sun was very hot when we finally left the peak. From the blogs, I’ve read that the clearing in Alto peak is very rare. Most of the time, fogs will cover its peak. Should have prayed for a clearing just like in Canlaon. Oh well, maybe next time! 😀
Going back to the camp
Unlike Janagdan where we traversed to the exit, in Alto, we went back to the same trail. I have always favored going down than up but it was especially hard this time because my legs are already sore. But guess what? I just learned how to numb myself from the pains. Talk to your trekmates about your lovelife. Haha! That’s what I did. Lol Haiz & I exchanged stories. And it wasn’t very long before I noticed Ms. Ai catching up on us. She wanted to hear our stories. Haha!
Going down seem quicker than going up but the time is actually just the same. We were reunited with the others at the camp site at 15 minutes before 3 PM. We waited for another 15 for Ta Ma to arrive. When she did, we left the camp site, now carrying our big packs, back to the junction where we started our Alto Peak journey.
Ms Cha mentioned about the coke & watermelon waiting, but since the 5 minute estimate to the peak turned 50, I started to take her words with a grain of salt. But lo and behold, same as yesterday, cokes & watermelons were waiting for us again. Yay! But no ice this time. When I heared them talking about how the boys were there waiting for us since 11 AM, I immediately assumed the ice melted while waiting for us. Poor boys…and poor us because our coke is not cold anymore. Haha!
Off to the pickup
The military truck was supposed to pick us up at the junction but Ms Ai related that for some reason, they just have to wait for us in the residential area which is estimated to be almost 2 hours away. I wasn’t quite sure if it’s 2 hours exactly since this time, I was busy talking to Cristine. Haha! Oh well, I tend to get lost track of time when I am talking so.
Bye bye Alto Peak
When I saw the truck, I felt an overwhelming feeling. This is it. Our journey with Alto has finally ended. I turn around, look at Alto once more and muttered a silent prayer. Thank you Lord for keeping us all safe!
Story of the 2nd night camp at Lake Danao, the celebratory dinner with Lechon (roasted pork) and our socials to follow. That and our heartfelt messages & dresses as well. 😀
All Women Climb Series:
Summary: MFPI All Women’s Climb (TO POST)
AWC Day 1 – Climbing Mt. Janagdan in Ormoc City, Leyte
AWC Day 2 – Climbing Alto Peak in Ormoc City, Leyte -> You are here.
AWC Day 3 – Camping at Lake Danao, Ormoc City (TO POST)