I’ve been climbing for about 10 years, but ask me about our sport’s superstars and I’ll stammer to give you three names. Talk to me about the most recently opened climbing routes and their grades or which rock god just sent it and I’ll shrug my shoulders and give you a blank look. Tell me to rate a climb or a boulder problem and I’ll scratch my head.
I may not be as technical or experienced as the other “old timers,” but like you, I love to climb. And in recent years, I’ve discovered a love for bouldering.
I’ve had the pleasure of going on two rock trips: CDO’s Goo Goo Gaga in November, and just two weeks ago, to Baguio’s Ambongdolan Rock Trip. And just because the latter is the more recent adventure (and the one my memory will allow me to remember), I’ll chew the fat on this one.
After a five-hour ride up to our country’s summer capital, I was hoping to get to the crag and climb. But Ambongdolan is 1 ½ hours away from Baguio City via a hired jeep (or in my case, Alvin’s 4×4), so the wait only got me more excited. Miles later, we reached the Barangay Clinic—our home base for the weekend.
And since I’m a non-technical climber who can’t tell my V0’s from her V10’s, I can’t say what grade these problems are. But I do know that everyone on the trip—from the most inexperienced to the most seasoned—got their hands on a lot of juicy problems. Some easily and happily sent, others refusing to be finished until we come back (very soon, I hope). No waiting in long cues to jump on a problem—you can hop on another one if need be (although we had a shortage of crash pads, so when you do head over, make sure you’re well-stocked).
The Ambongdolan locals pride themselves in their caves, which are popular spots that tourists like to visit. On the second day of the trip got the chance to explore one cave whose formations we all marveled at mini rice terraces, a fried egg, a giant mushroom, angel’s wings, and more. The spelunking was a good break for our tired bodies and raw fingers, but we didn’t expect this cave exploration to take a lot of work. We crawled through soil, tiptoed around precious stalagmites, and kept our balance through the wet ground, all in the dark. Our eyes could take the dark for only so long, so we were thrilled to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
By early afternoon, it was time to pack our things and clear the Barangay Clinic. We boarded our jeepney and in Amazing Race-style, got back to the jeep terminal in time to grab a quick dinner and board our bus back home. Two weeks and a sore ring finger after, I’m still dreaming of going back to Ambongdolan. Who wants to come?