Lately a bunch of friends, acquaintances and even strangers asked me on how they could start to climb, like what mountain is best for beginners, what equipment to start with and, in their current state of fitness, would they be able to climb mountains. And it’s funny because this is exactly the same questions I asked the first time I showed interest in mountaineering. And I’m happy to share my thoughts. I’m not an expert, I myself am fairly new in this, but I have some little bits of info that I believe could help newbies start a passion worth pursuing.
Now, you really don’t need to have those fancy branded mountaineering items, maybe in the future you’ll eventually want/need those, but as for now basic stuff will suffice. Except maybe for shoes, I suggest you invest on trek shoes, because this is the one item in mountaineering that basically takes almost all the battering, having a sturdy shoe really does help. For the rest of the apparel, inexpensive and unbranded trek shorts and dry fit shirts will do. For starters you really don’t need that much of an equipment: a backpack, a durable water bottle, a whistle, a portable first aid kit and probably a trekking pole are primarily what you’ll need. When camping, an inexpensive Dome-type tent, a sleeping bag and an earthpad will serve; all other important equipment like burners, cook sets and blades etc. have your more experienced companion bring those items. Eventually and gradually you’ll learn to upgrade your arsenal of equipment, it’s only a matter of time and budget of course.
Where to climb?
And now that you have your basic apparel and equipment where should you take your first step to climb?
Unfortunately, I’m only going to recommend mountains within Cebu, since I live in Cebu City and I’m quite unfamiliar of other mountains for beginners outside Cebu; My apologies for non-Cebu residents who are reading this. Anyways, here is a list of mountains perfect for newbies.
Sirao Peak is that hill across Ayala Heights at the Transcentral highway; there are multiple entry points to Sirao Peak, However, the most popular route is via Budlaan. Budlaan is in Barangay Talamban, the trail features a river trek, a semi wall climb and an open field assault to the peak. The peak also has a wide campsite with a very beautiful view of Cebu City. Budlaan falls is probably the highlight of this trail.
If you’ve been to Cebu City you may have noticed those prominent towers on top of a mountain facing the city. That mountain is Mt. Babag. Mt. Babag is known by local mountaineers as the practice grounds or the playground. The Mountain is also the highest point in Cebu city and probably the most climbed mountain within the city. It offers a non-stop assault to the peak – a feature that most veteran mountaineers are looking for, for practice. When climbing this mountain, it is advisable that you follow your own pacing – going too fast will definitely drain you in no time. Once on top of the peak, you’ll have yourself a 360 view of both the city and the vast valleys of barangay Bonbon and of course a closer look of the gigantic towers of Mt. Babag.
The Spartan trail lies beneath the forest inside the Pamutan-Buhisan water reserve. The first part of the trail is a steady assault and followed by a decent to a long river trail leading to the Buhisan water shed. This is a very long trail, so prepare your knees.
It is recommended that you have had climbed Sirao and Babag before climbing this mountain trail because if not for its lack of height this could well be considered as a major climb. It is approximately 75% river trek with huge slippery boulders, aesthetically beautiful to look at, but very dangerous to tackle with. This is by far the most scenic trail I’ve been to that is within the jurisdiction of Cebu City, this is undeniably a must try trail.
San Carlos Heights
It’s a small mountain near where I live, it is here where I usually run, jog, hike, walk and meditate ^_^ whenever I got not much time to do a minor climb in a larger mountain. If you happen to live in Basak Pardo, Cebu City or somewhere near it, give me a ping and let’s climb, it’s a perfect site for climbing practice.
You can also join Mountaineering groups in facebook that schedules a climb every weekend – SuOC, DIY Travel, Cebu DIY-KKB climb, DimenEU, Kat-Kat just to name a few
There are many mountains in Cebu Province that you can try, most of them are friendly to beginners. Mt. Mago, Mt. Manunggal, Mt. Mauyug, Mt. Manghilaw, Mt. Lanaya, Mt. Hambubuyug, Candongao Peak, Osmena Peak, Mt. Kapayas and the list goes on
Unless you have a serious heart problem There is no excuse, you are capable to climb, so Welcome my Friend and see you on Top of a Mountain!