Sunday, February 23, 2014

Climb: Tarak Ridge 2014

I can still remember the sound of the strong wind produced when it hampered the trees along the ridge of Tarak in 2011. The sound produced by the leaves were like big waves trying to grab the shores in a beach. That was my first experience in Tarak Ridge. We decided to proceed with the climb even though Bataan was put into storm signal number 2. This time around, the great weather gave us the best of Tarak experience.

Mount Mariveles is a dormant volcano located in the province of Bataan in the Philippines. Mt. Mariveles and the adjacent Mount Natib comprise 80.9 percent of the total land area of the province. The mountain and adjacent cones lie opposite the city of Manila across Manila Bay, providing a beautiful setting for the sunsets seen from Manila.

There are already three peaks familiar to the local mountaineering community namely: Tarak Ridge, Pantingan or Banayan Peak, and Mariveles Ridge. The rest of the peaks in the caldera are still waiting to be explored.

Tarak Ridge is the more well-known destination on Mount Mariveles with its jump-off point situated at Barangay Alas-asin, Mariveles, Bataan. Pantingan Peak (locally called Banayan Peak) can be accessed through Sitio Duhat, Saysain, Bagac, Bataan. Mariveles Ridge can be accessed through Sitio Parca, Mariveles, Bataan. (from Wikipedia)

Picture-Picture Before the Climb

I'm from Bataan, so my girlfriend and I left Manila a day ahead of our group. We were in charged of the food so we cooked our dinner a night before our climb and packed everything light. We met the team in the bus (since I live near the highway) and arrived on the jump-off point at around 9:00 AM. We went directly to the Baranggay Hall to register (The registration fee is 40 pesos per head). After registering, distributing the food and eating heavy breakfast, we started our climb at 9:30 in the morning.

Mariveles, Bataan
Jump off point: Brgy. Alas-asin, Mariveles
LLA: 14°30.357′N, 120°30′E, 1,006 MASL (ridge); 1,130 MASL (peak)
Days required / Hours to summit: 2 days, 5-6 hours
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 3
(see more at PinoyMountaineer)

After 2 hours of trekking, we reached the Papaya River. We waited for the rest of the group there and filled up our extra bottles with water from the river. The water in the river is very clean and safe to drink.

Papaya River

After having our lunch, we packed up and started our climb to the camping site. The second part of the trail is mainly assault and root climbing. If you have huge camping bag, you need to take extra stop to recover from the steep climb. It took us roughly 3 hours to reach the lower campsite. The best place to pitch your tent is on the upper campsite inside the tree formation. The trees will protect your tent from the strong wind. 2 groups of mountaineers arrived on the campsite ahead of us and got the best spot, so we decided to camp on the lower campsite beside the tree formation. The tree and the tall grass helped in sheltering us from the wind. There is a campsite before you ascend to the summit, but that is exposed on both sides of the ridge.
View of the Lower Camp Site

The Path to Summit and The Exposed Campsite

My Vantage Point


Early Morning View

T20 Family

Tarak Ridge is under the Major Climb Category so preparations before climb is required.
     - The mountain has its own weather system, so waterproof all your valuables and clean clothes.
     - If you don't have a tadpole tent or tent with good aerodynamic structure, bring extra pegs and peg lines to safeguard your tent from strong winds.
     - The only water source is the Papaya river. If you need  water for cooking, bring an extra bottle and fill it up when you reach the river. If you have a good balance and reflex, going down to Papaya River from the summit is less than an hour.
     - At night, the temperature drops to around 15-20 degrees. The problem, however, is the wind factor. It is essential that you bring a sweater and (if you have) a windbreaker.
     - Pack your bag properly. There are steep assaults which require good balance.
     - Last but not the least, Enjoy not just the summit but the trail and your company as well.
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