Mountain Climbing

Why climb a Mountain????

The latest episode is some small testimony to the health benefits attainable throughout the many thousands of pages we have posted to the internet. That list of internet sites along the side of many of our pages is an ongoing challenge being updated daily to help those who are stuck in a medical condition with no progress or quality of life. I have tested stomach, prostrate and skin cancers, heart disease and arthritis so at 73 climbing Mt Apo in the Philippines was a challenge.

Mt Apo is a popular climb Near Davao in the Philippines mostly undertaken by athletic young Philippino men and women under 30 and a few businessmen testing their fitness up to forty. 

It is …………………. high rising above the clouds, an extinct volcano with some sulphur springs still active. The climb is taken from Paradise village and while the distances are hard to find it becomes a challenge from the outset. The first sections are through the fields of vegetables which are accessed only by horse and relatively steep. Then the rainforest which has slopes of about 40 degrees. The difference in this climb from many others is that any path in excess of ten meters is rare. The obstacles include fallen trees, large rocks,mud puddles and creek cuttings. Also there are no straight sections.
Typical creek cuttings include vertical climbs both sides of around 6 metres and these climbs are negotiated by holding onto tree roots which emerge and disappear back into the cliff face almost like they were planned. There are toe holds always so no section is difficult to athletic climbers although many needed help up or down the worst of these sections.
The boulder section seemed to span a few kilometres of the climb, where the slopes were covered with boulders from bucket size to small house size just dumped by nature as they fell. The best path was always marked with little stones or piles of rocks sitting on top of boulders. But of course you could pick a path you thought better at any stage. One had to be wary of loose rocks. Little bushes grew in some areas with sweet little berries. It is in this section that the jet like sulphur springs spurt the smelly air out. All the ground around them was a vivid yellow.

Then approaching the summit were rocky outcrops where you could hang onto small rocks like in the rockface climbing shops springing up around the world.
The porters who carried the food water and tents were very fit young men. Carrying up to 40 kilos at a guess as the climbers had about ten kilos each in a small pack. Some opted to pay a porter to carry their bag as well making the climb a lot easier. And surprise Surprise two of the climbers ordered a helicopter to pick them up at the top and take them home. Alas the helicopter could not get through the cloud for some reason only to 7,000 ft. So given that the course was indeed a reasonable challenge for the thirty year olds it must be presumed that the 73 year old body was indeed pushed to its limit. And yes this was the case and although in the lead for most of the two days some noticeable fatigue was felt in the third day around midday. It is funny that following this maybe after lunch came the feeling that the climbing could continue forever. I have felt this feeling when running a marathon distance and in some other endurance related challenges. It is of course not true and in fact seems to occur when the most damage is being felt by the muscles and bones. Accidentally the 73 year old body came home first. And of course there is no prize or recognition or disparaging remarks about the balance of the climbers, who were at all times supportive and superb comrades. The recognition though comes from the ability to perform at this level ,which in normal circumstances would go unheralded. This whole website exercise is about health and the principles explained throughout the websites have been adhered to generally as circumstances allowed and the results are a healthy and competitive body at that age. So sit up and take note and expect some more performances of note in the future in support of the healthy life.