By: Lex de la Torre
Who says Mensans aren’t outdoorsy people? 😉
In preparation for a much grander Mt. Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) climb of MENSA Philippines and other international chapters this January, we have decided to train by doing a Mt. Batulao dayhike.
We started very early, left Manila at 330am via private vehicles and arrived at the jumpoff point around 6am. There are two trails to the summit, simply dubbed as the “Old trail” and the “New trail”. I suggest climbers experience both by doing a traverse for they offer different picturesque views. Our group ascended via the old trail and descended on the new trail.
The old trail offered steep climbs, with resting points at any of the nine campsites. It culminates in a 70-80° wall that one needs to rappel before reaching the summit, which is also the tenth campsite. We were covered in fog for our entire ascent, but it dissipated when we reached the peak (lucky us!). The view from the top was breathtaking, offering sceneries such as rolling terrains and the nearby mountains of Pico de Loro and Maculot.
We descended using the new trail. While it is less steep, the trail was narrower. It was also more open. Nothing shielded us now from the Sun, except the occassional friendly clouds.
All in all, the difficulty rating in pinoymountaineer is justified (4/9). The vertical wall and the steep assaults & drops might present some challenges, but the entire trek is quite short. We traversed Batulao in 7 hours, with about 1 hour dedicated to respites and picture-taking.
I might do this again. Thanks MENSA!