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mountaineering

Climbing Mt. Talinis with Cuernos de NegrosFeb 17-20, 2011

Climbing Mt. Talinis with Cuernos de Negros

Event Name: KatKat Pahinungod 2011
Climb Level: Open Fun Climb
Route: Apolong Route traverse to Bediao Route
Activities: tree planting
Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Water Sources: 3 - Casaroro Falls, Rancho Campsite and Lake Nailig
Attractions: Kaipuhan Sulphur Vents, Twin Falls, Lake Nailig, Lake Yagumyum

Mount Talinis
Rising 1864 MASL (meters above sea level), Mount Talinis is the second highest mountain in the Negros Island (the highest is Mt. Kanlaon). The mountain remains active with 2 geothermal infrastructure in place - an operational system in Valencia and a dormant yet-to-produce system in Dauin. The fertile grounds of Mt. Talinis yields an abundance of lanzones, rambutans, durians and all sorts of fruits and vegetation. Its top soil is volcanic black...the stuff a gardener would trade his compost for. Not surprisingly, it is home to endangered and endemic flora and fauna.

On a personal level, Mt. Talinis is literally my backyard. I live in Valencia which is located at the foot of the mountain. Given all the fruits I've devoured with every changing season, I attest to the fertility of this mountain slope. I bet every seed you throw here would grow roots.

Mt. Talinis is inescapable in this area. It looms big and mighty as it lords over the lowlands with its dominating presence. I see it everyday and every time, I say to myself, "...one of these days". Well, that day finally came, courtesy of Cuernos de Negros.

Cuernos de Negros
Here in Dumaguete, the definitive mountaineering org is Cuernos de Negros. The members are well respected and highly regarded as guardians of the ecosystem. They are pro-active in numerous outdoor disciplines whose expertise have been called upon in the service of Dumaguete's festivals and events. Their brand of camaraderie and fun are infectious. I would become a beneficiary of such hospitality.

KatKat Pahinungod 2011
Cuernos de Negros holds two annual fun climbs for Mt. Talinis - Pahinungod in Feb and Trek to Mt. Talinis in Sep (or Oct). Being a fun climb, its an occasion for wannabe mountaineers to get their feet wet (and dirty!) with expert hand-holding provided by seasoned climbers of Cuernos de Negros. Of course, it's also a gathering event for climbing enthusiasts - other club members, freelance climbers, etc.

Pahinungod registration is a very reasonable P500 which includes:

  • commemorative t-shirt
  • pre-climb dinner
  • LNT (Leave No Trace) orientation
  • transport to jump-off
  • transport pick-up
  • post climb dinner and socials
  • oh yeah....it also includes the best party on the planet!

Our Hiking Tracks (using a Garmin Vista GPS)

Mt. Talinis hiking tracks

5 Established Trails on Mt. Talinis (according to the posted sign on the Apolong Route)

  • Bediao Route - considered the easiest route taking 4 hours to the peak which includes passage through Narolon Peak (1800 MASL) and Lake Yagumyum
  • Timbao Route - at 3 hours to the peak, this is the shortest and most difficult
  • Bongbong Route - overlaps with the Timbao Route and considered to be one of the most difficult
  • Apolong Route - with the jump-off at Casaroro Falls, the Apolong Route is the 2nd longest, taking about 7 hours to the peak. Its difficulty level is moderately challenging. Its attractions are the Kaipuhan Sulphur vents and Lake Nailig.
  • Lunga Route - the longest route at 10 to 12 hours passing through Dakong Sapa, Dakong Datag, Kaipuhan Sulphur, Camp Vendiola, Tutoy Dalaga and Lake Yagumyum

A First
This is a first for me at many levels. My first time to climb Mt. Talinis, my first time to climb with Cuernos de Negros, my first time to climb not knowing anyone, and my first time to go self-contained. Too many unknown variables...but it's all good. That's how I like it anyway. By coming alone, I was free to bounce around.

The Rogues Gallery
Going by myself, I didn't have any social crutch. I had my license drifting into their orbits - which is the ideal scenario...interacting as I get interacted upon. I'd drift into one group and nose-around on another group, checking out their stories, what they're cooking for lunch and dinner, etc. Mountaineers come in all shapes, sizes and characters, some more memorable than others, some being the good story-teller, some being good at making people laugh, etc. It's an eclectic mosaic that forms a big picture that's unique to this endearing group.

The Trail
Even on a hot day, climbers are sheltered from the sun's scorching heat by the forest canopy. The trail is mostly going through the mossy forest - slippery roots, rocks, mud, river crossings and packed earth. Closed routes on junctions are clearly marked. The section after Rancho (the first campsite) is narrower, brushier, more steep and technical, sometimes requiring upper arms to pull through a steep rooty ascent.

Lessons Learned
Somehow, a climb is not without my usual boo-boos. I have yet to do a perfect climb. Boo-boos?

  • backpack cover - When I lost my backpack cover in Mt. Kanlaon, I failed to get a quick replacement. I've always thought the backpack cover only keeps the backpack clean. Wrong. With a 6 year-old backpack, its water-proofing properties have long been gone - water doesn't bead and roll-off like new. When it rained, within the 2 minutes before I got my umbrella out, my backpack soaked-in enough water to burden me with something that felt like a 1.5L additional soda load...ouch!
  • water-proofing - this is so basic I wanted to kick myself. With insufficient water-proofing, some of my stuff got wet, including my sleeping clothes...go figure! Duh!
  • borderline fuel - I thought I'd lighten up my load by filling up my stove with fuel and leaving my fuel canister behind. The entire climb, I was fearful my fuel may not last. It made me do single-pot meals, cooking only once for an entire day's consumption with nuts and bars to bridge the hunger gap. Sure, I got away with it, but no hot coffee in the morning and evening on cold mornings and nights? Unthinkable!
  • I slept through the first night socials...and missed out on the best party (and great bonding) that happened on the planet! I should write this 1000x on the blackboard: "socials is an integral part of the climb - be a part of it!" Duh...1000x!
  • overall, the slightest shortfall gets magnified on the mountain - don't take a chance.

Fear
Unlike many of the sports I do, mountaineering is different - there's always that element of fear. I'm not sure if that stems from the inherent element of danger in the discipline (although I've done more stupidly dangerous stunts skin diving and mountain biking), or from the uncertainty of being a part of a group. I'm not really very good with group dynamics - throw me in any group sport and I'd be clueless what to do. At any rate, fear can be a good thing as it reminds me just how fragile I am faced with the natural elements. It can also be a bad thing when it gets paralyzing. Imagined or real, overcoming the fear breaks you out of your mold.

Getting to Know Me
It would seem that the more I climb, the more I get to know myself - my strong assets, my vulnerabilities, what scares me, what issues are played out inside my head, etc. It's almost like a getting-to-know-you process that replays itself, each time being a little different from the last. I might be in a group, but mountaineering is an intimately personal process.

Ending Thoughts
It was a brilliant move to make the climb 3 days and 2 nights instead of the usual frenzied 2-days/overnight. The extra time allowed us to enjoy the place a little more. The side trip to the Twin Falls would not have been possible if the climb was rushed. Besides, with the abundance of water, there's more space (and weight) for food given the extra day.

This was a great fun climb, but make no mistake about it - Mt. Talinis is a challenging climb!

When something this good happens, you know what I think? That the people who organized this did a spectacular job. Why? Because you just enjoy yourself completely oblivious to the behind-the-scene planning and on-the-fly tweaking that went on under the radar, ensuring that the party-ers continue having a great time. Analogy? It's like coffee. When you're served good coffee, it doesn't necessarily grab your attention. You just enjoy yourself, enjoy the company and enjoy the conversation. But when you're served bad coffee, you're quick to notice the coffee tastes shitty, right? I guess what I'm trying to say is that Cuernos de Negros, particularly the latest inducted batch, did one hell of a good job planning and organizing this event. And I guess another thing I'm saying is...thank you guys, you're FAB!

--- TheLoneRider


Other Mt. Talinis Articles by TheLoneRider


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Reader Comments:

Sahlee Cabling
(Mar 24, 2011) ...saw your pic at the falls, kinaya mo 'yun? But it's a nice shot.


Bianca Espinos
(Feb 20, 2011) Mt. Talinis is a beautiful mountain and Lake Nailig is a special place. Say 'Hi' to CheChe for me!

»» next story: Grilled Lobster and Jumbo Tiger Prawns with Kale and Hitoshi
»» next mountaineering story: Camping at the Japanese Shrine with Cuernos de Negros

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