We're happy to share with everyone the latest crag the Climb Philippines team has been working on. Monkey Wall, like the rest of the walls we're currently enjoying in Wawa, was first developed in the early to mid-90's. Its sustained section features beautiful gray and white streaks, which was what caught our eye during a hike to the peak. Upon closer inspection, we found that it had already been established. Ahhh....so THIS is the Monkey Wall!
For that (and so much more), we would like to give credit to the 'Talban bible and its creators, the first guidebook Rockclimbing in Montalban (published 2000), a collaborative effort of Roel Tan-Torres, Simon Sandoval, Ruben Flores, Iva Ybanez, Jong Narciso, and Carlos "Kuya Mackie" Makinano.
We've devoted a few weekends to scout the routes, add some anchors, and replace some iffy bolts. Still a work in a progress, with more space for further development. But in the meantime, willing climbers are welcome to try the lines out. Just always remember to CLIMB SAFE, and do be mindful of the reminders outlined below.
We welcome any sort of feedback to the mini-guide that we made. Please give us a shout out at email@example.com for that, or leave a comment below. Climb on!
We all go through different phases of development in the different areas of life, from work, to recreation and sports. Many times, the learning curve is too steep that we just give up and move on, and try to find something that is more appealing or more in vogue.
But no matter what we choose, we still end up going through the beginner, advanced and mastery phases. There is so much joy and pain that go hand in hand in that whole journey towards personal growth.
For a number of years I was centered on looking to improve just myself, always looking for the hardest lines, and the areas with the most concentration of routes to ensure maximum use of my time and effort. Through this whole process I ended up in isolation and was in a mental paradox of finding the path to get past that plateau.
I learned that this is the same for a lot of climbers.
Climbers love to travel! The experience of getting to that dream crag can be as exciting as the climbs themselves. Prior to any trip a climber would do research on the areas he or she is traveling to. It could be as simple as Googling photos to check out the scene. Some are more “strategic” and plan out the best season to go, crag access, and the exact routes to attack.
Often the best routes are the ones personally recommended by climbers who know the area very well. Versus a guide book rating, climbers can describe a route’s compelling features, which is likewise very relative to a climber’s climbing style and preference. Sometimes, the story behind how a route or crag was established also adds to its quality. So for those who are looking into rock climbing around the Philippines, here’s a primer on what we have so far.
There are close to 300 sport routes across the whole country, divided amongst four main climbing locations or provinces (Rizal, Quezon, Iloilo, and Cebu). This may be a small number compared to other countries that offer over 300 routes in a single area, but this only means there is a huge potential for growth across the country’s many islands.
Wawa, Rizal was the center of development for outdoor climbing in the late 90’s, and is the area with the highest concentration of routes. As this was the beginnings of rock climbing in the country, majority of the routes are graded 5.10 and below, with a couple of 5.12 routes established in the late 90’s to early 2000. This makes Wawa an ideal area for first-timers or beginners to the sport.
Atimonan, Quezon – with its approximately 20 routes – has also been developed to the same level, but with more 5.10’s than the lower grades.
If you are targeting to become a 5.12 climber, these two areas would provide you with the best tick list to ensure you have enough endurance, technique and experience from climbing more than a hundred routes in the 5.10 and 5.11 range -- a solid foundation before you start looking at 5.12 routes.
In 2003 a drive to develop new areas in the Visayas region started, starting with Dingle in Iloilo and Cantabaco in Cebu. With a new generation of climbers craving for more challenges, the new areas had longer, steeper and generally more demanding routes than the previous two areas.
Naturally there were more 5.12 routes, and possibly even harder. So if you already have a good base of 5.12’s under your belt, Iloilo and Cebu will offer you the next set of routes to get you to the 5.13 level.
Below is the current spread of the sport routes by grade and by number of routes. It’s simply a visual representation of what we talked about above.
So what if you've already managed to tick all of these routes? We suggest you make it your next project to develop the hardest lines in the country. Finally, you can make your momma proud that you're keeping your grades up!
It’s thrilling to find such a quick outcome of putting this website together. In a matter of days, Climb Philippines received word about an existing trad climbing area in Masungi, Rizal.
According to our source, Masungi is blessed with huge and beautiful (and sharp!) limestone towers, and so far, they have already established around 15 routes, graded from 5.5 to 5.12, and ranging between 10 to 60 meters high.
While the crag is open to all climbers, it must be noted that it is located in privately-owned land, so best practice is to still ask permission before heading to Masungi.
As for your burning questions…
Q: Is this purely trad climbing?
A: Yes. Be ready with your full rack.