I always asked myself if I can be categorized as mountaineer. I haven’t attended BMC or Basic mountaineering course except for the Team Sagul – orientation and first-aid (while rapelling in Buruwisan Falls) in 2008. I only attended Earthquake and Landslide Search and Rescue Orientation Course by MMDA held in our Project site. I simply listened to Donald a.k.a Patrek a.k.a Direk for words of wisdom –he climbs since his college days. And to all experiences that I learned every time we conquer mountains (2008 to present, almost 38 mountains including the repeated climb and still counting, I haven’t tried the difficult scale of mountains here in the Phils and anywhere in the world, but I can brag for climbing Mt Apo (highest) in 2012, Mt Pulag Akiki-Ambangeg trail (3rd highest/ highest in Luzon)in 2012, My Tapulao (long and winding road na parang walang katapusan) in 2009, Mt Balingkilat trav Anawangin (mamatay ka sa uhaw trail) in 2011 and Mt Makiling trav (buwis-buhay trail) in 2012 that gave me a thought to stop climbing mountains for a mil-second).
Am I a mountaineer?
I’m not involved in any legalized organizations and group, but I belong to a freelance – KIT-ONE Outdoor Group or sometimes KIT-ONE MS; OG or MS doesn’t matter, what only matter is we belong to KIT-ONE. Our group started March 2009. We came from a construction project (One Rockwell Project) consist of different contractors (DATEM, ICPWI and JVF).We were Cad Operators, we produces Combined Services Drawing in our project. We started naïve, immature and young. But we respect the Law of Nature. We try our best to follow the Leave No Trace Principle and the famous saying “takes nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints and kill nothing but time”. We search the net for ideas and tips to minimizing our impact. We may not participate in tree planting activities but we try not to damage the environment we visited.
By this simple means, can I be called a mountaineer?
A mountaineer based on the dictionary is a person who takes part in mountaineering (the sport or activity of climbing mountains). If this meaning is too broad and every single person climbing mountain without the sensitivity for his/her impact will totally damage the environment. This happen everywhere actually, people climb mountains not only to appreciate the view up there, but sometimes, they become the main reason of these damages (mass climbing, multi- trail, garbage, noise, etc.)
If I reflect and realize the importance of Nature, can I be called a mountaineer?
I learned that the utmost law in mountaineering is to Respect Nature, Love Nature and appreciates the beauty it unfolds to our senses. From this we can eliminate or minimize the things that will cause damage to the beauty it offers. We review again the principle of LNT: Plan ahead and prepare; Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces – Use designated trail only; Dispose of Waste Properly; Leave What You Find; Minimize Use and Impact of Fire; Respect Wildlife; and Be Considerate of Other Visitors. It’s simple and yet we make it complicated. We have to learn and endure the things that will minimize our impact to “our” Nature. So “our” next generation can also have their time to appreciate God’s creation.
Being a mountaineer is not merely a term but an obligation, a responsibility and a liability not only to our Environment but to the creator itself.
I may climb with porter and guide (forgive me since I endure back pain after my Balingkilat trav Anawangin climb), climb with Kit-one, climb with trail adventours, join invitational climb, climb monthly or when holiday strikes, climb with trekking pole, climb with umbrella, climb with lots of warm clothes, fleece and jackets, climb with complete toiletries, climb with minimum of 3 liters of water… I climb mountain and endure the grueling trails along the way not for the sake of climbing it but to experience wonders of each detail God created mountains, for a single minute to gaze on sunrise or sunset or fog or sea of clouds, for being up there were I can reach the clouds and He can reach me as I opened my both hands in total submission. I climb to enjoy his generosity in proving us his wonderful creations – our Nature.
So, Can I be called a Mountaineer?
How about you… Are you a mountaineer?