Tarak Ridge: A noob’s first major climb

It has been years since I last went for a climb so; I considered this climb to Tarak Ridge a major one.
I was only given 3 days to prepare for this climb. As a result, I ended up wearing the wrong type of shoes, didn’t use the right bag, and lacked other essentials as I have my climbing stuff at my parent’s house. Thanks to Ron for the head lamp, Joed for the trekking pole and Angel for being the master. Haha!

We left Cubao at 8am and arrived at Brgy. Alas-asin past 11AM. We registered, changed clothes, and bought food; at 1215 we headed for the trail head. The first few minutes was like hell for me. It was so hot, my pack was heavy and I know It was not going to be easy breezy. Good thing, we had our first stop after 20 minutes. Thank goodness! I guess my body was just warming up, from that stop and on, I was all good.

Le start.
Le start.
Le start.
Le start.
Rocky, eh?
Rocky, eh?

We took the trail that was made by the locals. It’s pretty established spare for some minor confusing paths (thanks to Angel and his awesome navigation skills). The trail we took did not cross Aling Kurding’s sari-sari store (unlike most of the blogs I read, they all took the usual trail).

Here’s one of our many 5-minute stops.

The trail was steep and it really tested my endurance. At some points, they had me lead our ascent so that I don’t get behind (obviously their pace is way quicker than mine). We reached the Papaya River at past 3PM.
Papaya River
Here’s where the Papaya River is, same place where we had our lunch. I went up along with 3 other guys. Yep! I’m the muse. Fact: I’ve got more guy friends than girl friends. Does that make me a tomboy? Lol.

Papaya RiverPapaya River
The Papaya River : Cold and clean stream water 😀 The boys did a quick wash up here while I dipped my dead tired feet. It was refreshing! (Images courtesy of Ron)

We continued our ascent but this time, Master Angel led the group. He was so quick and I was forced to keep up with his pace. The trail required us to hold on to roots/branches and go up and down on rocks. Phew! We reached the Ridge after about 2hrs. (We had to stop for almost 30 minutes because we don’t want to catch up with the group who was ahead of us). It was raining when we reached the ridge and I was so glad because we finally made it only to find out that there’s no more space at the ridge for us to set camp. So, we decided to continue the assault to the summit and set camp there.
We reached the summit roughly after 30 mins. Finally, it’s time for us to set camp. Wee!  Tents have been set, we had dinner, then socials followed. We just didn’t know that the place we chose to set camp on was the photo op spot.

Morning shot at the summit IMG-20130811-00369
(Left Image – myself. Right Image – Ron hanging our clothes to dry while Joed…uhm..I’m not sure what was he doing)

Just right after we had breakfast, a group of mountaineers greeted us a good morning while our clothes hanging on the tree branches greeted them back. We weren’t prepared for it. Lol! Soon after, a couple more groups came by and had their picture taking. At 10AM, we decided to break camp.

Mt Tarak

Le view at the summit.

Coffee morning! :)
Coffee morning! 🙂
Selfies. Yes, it's plural.
Selfies. Yes, it’s plural.
Ron’s tree shot.
Got a clearing.
Got a clearing.
I wore my volleybal shoes to Tarak.
I wore my volleyball shoes to Tarak.
Joed, Clang and Angel
Joed, Clang and Angel
It's us three, again.
Clang, Ron and Joed. (2nd peak)
View from the summit.
View from the summit.

We headed north with plans on visiting the Pantingan Falls. It was a sunny morning; we were all jovial and keyed up for another challenge. An hour and a half has passed (1230) and we noticed that the trail was continuously going up as we have crossed 3 peaks. No sign or even sound of water by far, so, the team decided to rest for a few minutes. At this point, we knew that we are already doing a traverse. The team huddled and decided to abort since we don’t have enough water to compensate for a traverse (especially we didn’t really know how close we are to a water source or if there is even one).

Mt Tarak Mt Tarak
(Left Image – this was when we still didn’t know that we’re headed to a traverse. See the energy? Right image – We’re at the 3rd peak near the Japanese Garden. This was when we realized that we took the wrong trail. Felt a bit of frustration save for the view, it was breath taking, so we just enjoyed it. )

So, we headed back to camp and continued our descent to the ridge. We rested for a couple more minutes there and enjoyed the refreshing drizzle brought to us by the nearing Typhoon Labuyo. At 3PM we’re back at the Papaya River. We had sumptuous lunch to replenish our energy. Haha! After lunch, I decided to take a plunge in the river’s cold water as Angel took a nap while the other two tried to stop their bleeding from their limatik bites.

Abort mission! Haha! It's time to head down.
Abort mission! Haha! It’s time to head down.
At the Papaya River. Ain't it a mess? :p
At the Papaya River. Ain’t it a mess? :p
Yes, Angel? Joed?
Yes, Angel? Joed?
I still managed to give a thumbs up! (y)
I still managed to give a thumbs up! (y)

The limatik victim.

For some reason, all three of them were limatik victims. They told me that limatiks hate girls (oh yeah, whatever boys… lol). After a good rest, we all geared up for our descent. Past 6PM, we’re back at the trail head.

Overall, my first major climb has awaken the sleeping mountaineer in me. I’m hungry for more. Here’s a quote to cap this off. “Climb the mountain not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world” – Anonymous.

Thanks for reading!
Mt. Mariveles Tarak Ridge – Aug 10-11, 2013

Thanks for reading! 🙂


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