|The first G2 Expedition...It took them two expeditions to finally summit G2 in June 1982|
|First summiting of G2 in June 1982 |
Blogger's note: All images are courtesy of Sir Edwin Gatia, one of the first to summit Mt. Guiting-Guiting. He was also a part of the team that trailblazed the Leyte Mountain trail in 1982 (about two months after they conquered G2), a member of the first MFPI team up Mt Kinabalu (1983), founder of the Philippine Mountaineering Society (1977), co-founder of the MFPI and the Negros Mountaineering Club, Inc., and the designer of the MFPI logo which is still in use.
I was supposed to write about how I survive alone in the wild. But a correspondence with one of the biggest names in the early mountaineering scene in the country made me put that post on the back burner in the meantime.
I have always had this aversion toward old-school mountaineers. I even wrote some kind of parody about them in my other blog. Every time I talked with them, they always seemed to give me this air of confidence and condescension as if saying “I’m telling ya! You don’t know what mountaineering in the Philippines is really like!” They start dropping names and asking you about places as if you are in a quiz show in which the quiz master knows you don’t know the answer! Perhaps I was just exposed to the wrong old-school mountaineers. Because when I had this correspondence with one of the first men to summit the mountain feared by many and when I learned about all his other exploits and the exploits of his contemporaries, I knew what respect was! I was utterly humbled. And it made me realize how little I am! It made me think that here we are, new generation trekkers, with our noses up in the air, arraying our solo treks and three-peak climbs, when in fact our ‘feats’ can barely pass for a paltry comparison to their failures, much less to their achievements! And when you see their pictures, you’ll want to hide those Groundzero shorts knowing they climbed the highest peaks in the Philippines a la blue-jeans-gang! I suddenly felt like wishing I had been born before my time that I may have been given the chance to be a part of those tours de force in the early Philippine mountaineering scene. But there is still hope for all of us. Let’s just retrace their steps and do our best to protect and preserve the gift of easier clearer trails that the old-school mountaineers gave us! So that someday, this story will still have relevance to them!
|Sir Edwin Gatia (L) and G2 Expedition leader Art Valdez (R)|
|Sir Mayo Monteza after whose name Mayo's peak was christened|