Monday, December 28, 2015

Climb: Mt. Purgatory Circuit 2014

It's been a while since the last time I posted a new entry on my blog. I have a lot of backlogs of adventures I experienced since mid last year that, due to very busy schedule, was not able to post. Let me start with this one. Our climb in Mt. Purgatory.

Bokod, Benguet
Entry point: Japas Jumpoff, Bokod
Exit point: Brgy. Ekip, Bokod
LLA: 2290m (Mt. Pack); 2080m (Mt. Purgatory); 2329m (Mt. Komkompol)
Days required / Hours to summit: 2-3 days / 4-5 (Pa); 5-7 (Pu); 9-11 (K)
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 6/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Pine forests, mossy forests, Views of Benguet mountains


Nestled between two of the major Cordillera mountains – Mt. Pulag and Mt. Ugo – are the lesser-known but very beautiful peaks of Bokod, Benguet. In the past year, the municipality of Bokod with various hikers joined together to establish a trail going through these peaks, forming what is now called the ‘Mt. Purgatory Traverse’. This article is based on my hike up the mountain from December 28-29, 2012.

Doubtless, it is the evocative power of its name, Purgatory, that arouses curiosity and ultimately draws hikers to see what this hiking trail has to offer. Mt. Pack, one of the, if not the highest peak in the trail, is the one that mapmakers highlight, and perhaps Mt. Komkompol, being of the same height as Pack. However, it seems to be the locals’ wish for the whole trail to be labelled the ‘Mt. Purgatory Traverse’ and so we will adopt this naming, with the caveat that we wish for the whole trail to be seen as a circuit rather than a single-peak traverse, similar to the versions of the Kibungan Circuit. (read more: pinoymountaineer)

Going to Mt. Purgatory's jump-off location is like going to the DENR office in Mt. Pulag. The only difference is we are not required to go to DENR to climb Mt. Purgatory, but we are required with a certain number of guides. (at least 1 guide per 10 persons).

Jump Off Location

We started our trek at around 8:15AM. Mt. Purgatory is named so because of the long trail you need to go through to get to the campsite and then back to the drop off location. However, this name is opposite of the view that your eyes will feast on while you are carrying your 10-kilo backpack.

Our first stop is an elementary school. Some kids walks for hours just to reach this place on time.

This small village shows us the simplicity of life up in the mountain.

Below is the view of the terror which reminds people in the village of what happened in the 90's that killed number of people in the village below the landslide area. Everyone in the village here have lost someone during that earthquake.

Some of the road are being widened so a 4x4 car can easily get to the far villages up in the mountain ranges.

Mt. Purgatory trail will treat you with one of the longest and well maintained moss forest.

Our first peak. Mt. Pack. After more than 6 hours of trail, we reached the peak of Mt. Pack.

Peak of Mt. Purgatory.

The majestic view of Cordillera mountains...

Surely, this is something you'll never see in often here in the Philippines.

Usually, all my travel photos are taken using my Nikon DSLR (D50, D300, D700) but on this trip, I used both my DSLR and my Nokia Lumia 1520 phone. Now, which photos are taken using my phone and which is not.

The campsite. This is by far, the most tiresome climb I've ever had. It took us almost 10 hours of non-stop climb to reach the foot of the campsite. The campsite is located on top of a stiff but small hill (which after walking for more almost 10 hours with minimal rest) which is a challenge to walk up to (took me about 10 mins).


On the next day.....

WOW, just WOW....

The farthest mountain in the middle (the one partially covered by clouds) is Mt. Pulag.

Below is the view of My. Purgatory from Mt. Kom-Kompol. Imagine the distance between the two...

Told you, the best mossy forest trail!

Yes, you can take a sip here.

The great pine trees trail...

So you think we're almost there???? We are halfway there...

From here on, we've walked on a pebble laid road going to the drop off location. My opinion, it is way way better to walk on soil than a paved road, but it is way better to walk on a pave road than the pebbled road. You need to endure at least an hour and a half of walk from here on to the drop off location.

The view is still very much rewarding.

Our side trip is to go to the nearest water falls.

So there, my new post about our climb last year... Hopefully, I can continue adding some more this coming year.

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