By Euden Valdez
IMAGINE going head on with a 70-degree assault of trail with sparse forest cover under the blaring sun in the middle of the day.
This was the ordeal Traveling Journo Ph had to face in Mt. Kaypaye in Tanay, Rizal last November. I had to scale and traverse it along with RAK Ph Mountaineers in preparation for an outreach activity, as well as training for an upcoming major climb.
We came from a two-hour walk to reach Sitio San Ysiro, the jump off, all the while carrying our packs worth two days. Delayed in our itinerary, we started the actual hike at about 10 a.m. I have noticed at this point that the sun was already, generously shining upon us. Thankfully, the first leg of the trail was mainly on rolling hills and easily manageable.
Nevertheless, we were getting hungry at this point and thankfully, we accomplished the easy part in time of lunch. A river bed served as the perfect camp for lunch. We needed to replenish before we confront the looming assault.
Once face-to-face with the trail, it was obvious how strenuous it would be. A few minutes into the assault, chests were already heaving, sweat was trickling, and exhaustion was creeping in—fast.
But don’t be discouraged. The conditions weren’t just as favorable. With more time and lighter packs, Mt. Kaypaye would surely live up to its minor classification.
It stands at 800++ MASL with a trail class of 5/9 and racks minimum of five-hour hike to reach the summit.
Mt. Kaypaye’s trail opened for commercial climbs summer of this year through the efforts of a mountaineering group, but locals had initiated to push community-based eco-tourism as early as 2008. This according to RAK’s founding member who is in close ties with the Dumagat community of Sitio San Ysiro.
Needless to say, Mt. Kaypaye didn’t catch up to the popularity of its neighbors Mts. Maybuna, Cayabu, Irid, Tukduan Banoi and the peaks of Laiban Circuit.
One decade after their first initiative, the locals of San Ysiro now believe that they are ready and able to welcome tourists to their ancestral land—for them to see the beauty of Mt. Kaypaye. Behold:
As part of RAK Ph Mountaineers, I became witness to this. As a group, we wish to help in the promotion of a responsible and sustainable eco-tourism in San Ysiro’s Mt. Kaypaye.
And so, two weeks after our first summit and traverse, RAK Ph Mountaineers brought its first ever group of hikers to Rizal’s newest and most promising peak. They were members of East-West Seed Mountaineering Club, who also held an outreach to our partner Dumagat-Remontado community led by Chieftain Ernesto Dorroteo.
The group brought with them seeds from their company, which they turned over to the farmers after a knowledge transfer/seminar on natural farming on Day 1.
Came Day 2, the EWS Mountaineering Club finally took on Mt. Kaypaye. Unlike RAK Ph Moutaineers’ first time, there had been a change of weather making this climb a wet one!
Dark clouds covered the sky and before we knew it, the amihan, or the northeast monsoon, brought in a low pressure area. It did not rain heavily but we the light shower was consistent from assualt to summit.
Although the weather didn’t allow for a 100-percent clearing, it resulted to a misty, breezy and almost dreamy climb. The cold air and drizzle touching the skin was so refreshing compared to the exhausting heat from the first climb. The views were much different at clouds kissed the mountains.
Indeed, Mt. Kaypaye has showed its other side this time. Look:
Let it shine or let it rain, mountains will always be a new experience every time we climb it.
Interested about Mt. Kaypaye? Get in touch with RAK Ph Mountaineers via its Facebook page, or contact 0917-8021091.
is a former dyarista,