Wednesday, August 3

My Daily Post for Aconcagua Trip


Aconcagua Climb Expedition
December 1 - 19, 2011
Outfitter - Aconcagua Trek
Route - False Polish Glacier Traverse
 Expeditin Cost - $3,300.00USD

Zean Villongco
Mon Dysangco
Cheryl J. Bihag

July 23, 2011 - After million times of thinking, will I really join the trip, after an offer received from a friend of doing the expedition some other time and considering my financial status at this very moment, I really had reservations of joining the trip. But I decided to just proceed, and I signed the Aconcagua Trek reservation form.

TNF Women's Mountain Light Jacket
July 25, 2011 - Gave my down payment of USD 500.00 and sent through Western Union money transfer.

Time to do my physical and gear preparation.

August 10, 2011  - today I asked my dear sister to buy me an outer shell for this trip, this is at least another off on my list. Few more gears to do on my list.

For several days now, I've been thinking how on earth will I be able to buy all the gears that I need to bring on this expedition. I am looking for options on whatever way I can save when it comes to gears, it dawned in my mind if I can borrow even to somebody whom not close so close to me, I'll do it just to be able to able to save a little amount.

TNF Rideachy Pants 

August 11, 2011 - After my daily search on my favorite outdoor online site Altrec, I realized I needed another pants that will serve as my trekking pants on the higher camps of Aconcagua, not may be the one that I really like to have but most I do not have a size that will fit me anymore, I decided to purchase additional one. I was thinking, this will serve as my higher camp trekking pants, and my old one will serve as my camp outer layer pants to add up the insulation. I just really wish this thought will work out fine. I decided to get the TNF Ridearchy Pants, original price 248.59 now on sale and being the last piece only costs 80.59. Not bad.

MRE from Sir Bombox
August 15, 2011 - After I saw the MREs that Gabby showed to us, I realized, I guess it would be a great idea to bring at least a 'stay alert' chewing gum and the other stay alert supplies on the MRE pouch to the summit of Aconcagua, I really do not know if this strategy will work but I said I will give it a try. With Sir Bombox offering to give me one pack, I did not hesitate to accept his offer, and I get it his office.

Scrapa Inverno Mountaineering Boots
After thorough thinking on how I can save on gear especially on a boots that costs USD319.00, do I have to rent, buy a lower kind of boots or borrow from a friend, I decided to just buy on exactly the same kind that is highly recommended, the Scrapa Inverno Mountaineering boots, when will i be able to get one, I still do not know.  

August 23 - team's second pre climb meeting. Lots of things being discussed, I found out I can get a cheaper ticket by passing through Guam via Continental Airlines, this means two things to me, saving on the cost and seeing the kids even for just a while.

An overview of the trail that the expedition team will join. This looks easy on the picture but I know this is challenging not just physically but also mentally on the actual expedition. This is to the hope that this illustration will help us prepare mentally and will give us a picture on how it will be on the actual climb. The team is still on the process of  preparing every single detail of this exedition, three more months left and we really haven't finalize everything yet. We still have to prepare for our visa but before doing that we have to purchase our tickets first, this is one of the  document needed for the visa requirement.

I already have one of my bank certificate which I got in the province, I still have to apply for two more bank certificates. Another document that I need to prepare is plane ticket which will really cost that much, we just hope the embassy will grant is the visa for even before our trip will be certain due to the visa approval we will already spend that much on the cost of the documents needed to present. Another one is medical certificate, this is something that I still have to produce, I already talk to my friend doctor and she already agreed with it. As the time of the expedition really is approaching fast, I had to prepare for a big amount of USDollar bill as well. Good thing my cousin who just arrive from his long post abroad happens to have some dollar bill, that saves me a bit in the excahnge rate.

My friend signify his interest of joining this expedition with his daughter which I hope they will push with it. I am always excited to be climbing on a bigger number than doing it on a small group. And besides that will make us two female climber now rather than just being the only girl on the team.

September 6 - by sending my filled up application form of the 25th Mt. Kinabalu International Climbathon Race makes me an official delegate of the Philippine Skyrunning Team who will be competing the race this coming October 23, 2011 on the mountain ranges of Kinabalu. Despite my tight budget, I thought of doing this for the very reason that this will give me a chnace to do some acclimatization climb prior to my actual expedition. The mountain is not that high compared to Aconcagua, not that cold and we will not even be carrying a heavy load on the several times that we will be doing the climb and on the actual race but my thought is at least I will be exposed to the high altitude. This is my second time in Kinabalu, what makes it different at this time will be the race proper, we are going to run on the slopes of the mountain.Another goodluck to me again.

After several days of planning of visiting my doctor friend to start updating my vaccine shots finally last September 7, I did my first two shots, for Typhoid and Hepa B. Where she does her clinic is really far from the city, it's several hours of jeepney ride but I need to start doing it otherwise I won't be able to finish it. There are 5 more shots that I will take from her, and one from the Quarantine Section of the Department of Health, my cholera prophylaxis. Actually Argentina just require yellow fever certificate but I always wanted to do some precaution especially to countries that I am not so familiar. It's best to prepare for it even if it's not part of the visa requirement.

September 10, 2011 - some of my major gear arrive today, upper and lower outer shell. I just hope this will be enough to make me warm while on the expedition

September 11, 2011 - finally purchase the scarpa inverno mountaineering boots but has to ship through chelo's address. As to how I will be able to send it here, I still do not know. Will look for options on it yet.

September 13, 2011 - Blue Cross Insurance, Inc through their Travelsafe Insurance plan officially agreed  to cover the expedition's insurance plan.

September 15, 2011 -  and I have my second batch of vaccine shots today

 Jules send us today the map of what we are going to do this coming Oct 2, in the mountain slopes of the highest peak of the country. This will be my first time, in as much as I wanted to do this on a trek but I feel like I needed to do this preparation to my Kinabalu Climbathon which is part of my preparation to this major expedition. I just hope that of the many physical activities that I am crazily doing now, I will be prepared and fit come the actual day. I also pray to God that aside from my physical preparedness, I will also be financially ready and and physically healthy. Truly, this expedition is really making me crazy, the preparation is so tedious and toxic, it in itself is also an expedition. I just hope that despite it's being a long run, we will also be greeted with a good weather on this day. I am excited at the same anxious for I haven't been into this mountain, something that I cannot even imagine what terrain I will go into aside from the fact that I will be doing this run on the highest peak in the country.

My PSA Team at the summit of Mt. Pulag
September  18 - I decided to join the PSA team to do a skyrun in the highest point in Luzon, Mt. Pulag via Akiki-Ambangeg trail. This is my highest trail running being done ever, despite the fact that I've climbed this route several times with load, doing it in a so minimal load but a so fast pace does not make any difference at all. It just really simply made my heart burst into faster beat gasping some air on a thinning air as we go up the steep trail. To add into it is is the cold weather that each of us experience that time.

Thanks for SMC for Mt. Kanlaon Climb
September 23 to 25, after doing my sky run on the highest peak in Luzon, the third highest peak in the country, Mt. Pulag, on this weekend I did a climb on the highest peak in the Visayas, Mt. Kanlaon via Wasay Guintubdan trail, one of the most challenging and longest trail on this mountain.  But what made this trek more challenging at this time is that the weather just did not cooperate with our wishes. We were hoping for the best weather that a climber at that time could hope for, but it was the other way for us, it was a rainy windy cold trek for all of us, not a favorable weather, no clear view on the trail, and all the more no clear view on the summit crater.

Thanks to Bugsy for my outer sleeping pad
But it was also a good practice for me, a simulation of the weather and temperature that I might experience in an expedition that I 've been preparing for. I am again carrying a super heavy load, on a cold wet trek and  campsites. I can say it was a fruitful climb for us and most especially for me, adding again a saving on my bank account of endurance. I thank the Smart Mountaineering Group for inviting me in this climb. It was a good rock in roll climb.

Thanks to Bugsy for my pee bottle
September 26, I learned that Bugsy got my another set of gear for this expedition, my therma rest Z Lite pad and hopefully the nalgene cantene a.k.a. pee bottle as well. This is another set of gear that which I hope that it will keep me warm and comfortable in the high camps of Aconcagua. Thanks to Bugsy and the rest of her company for taking the time to look for my items and at the same time bringing it depiste the fact that it's really bulky and expensive. I also borrowed from Jing Talesio her thermos bottle, I hope to experiment this as my bottle that which it can carry hot water on the summit assault of Aconcagua.

September 29, I got both my thermarest Z lite pad and nalgene cantene from Bugsy. This will be my additional gear for Aconcagua trip.

Thanks to Jules for organizing this run
October 2, from the highest peak of Luzon, Mt. Pulag two weeks earlier on a skyrun to Mt. Kanlaon, the highest peak of the Visayas on a climb a week earlier, on this weekend it was on the highest mountain of the country,  a skyrun to Mt. Apo via Kidapawan side, Ko-ong traditional trail.  A 16 kilometer run with 1,758 meters above sea level elevation gain. We did it in 12 hours. Given the kind of terrain on this trail and the 12 river crossing that we did on Marbol River, the team did it in a fast pace. The cloudy weather and wet shoes adds up to our training. It was a test on endurance and perseverance for all of us. We arrive the tail end all safe and on high spirits despite being so tired we finish it.

thanks PSA for Mt. Ugo run
October 8, another trail run on the slopes of Mt. Ugo. A rainy Saturday for 20 runners but the rain did not stop us from trudging the slopes of Benguet. In a way, the rain helped, a trail on the first hour is open and exposed making the run uphill more easier than the last time I was here. But as we move further it's getting colder for the rain did not stop. Most of us did not make it to the summit, some of us got lost along the way but overall it was a great training run. The view was just spectacular and the company was just great. Another skyrun full of fun and so much adventure.

October 15, I set off to Singapore for a 100K Duo trail run organized by TNF SG. I run this race last year but it was for a shorter distance. This year I decided to make it longer. Thanks to my friend Juliet who accepted my invitation to be my partner. I am confident I can do it, I am already familiar with the first part trail, it's the same as what we did last year, bu the next part is  the unfamiliar one. It's pretty easy still, it's just that it was an open trail. On a bright sunny day, the trail is not friendly to any runner most especially to me. I just really find the humid temperature exhausting and energy draining. I thank God despite the agony on the second part of the trail I still made it to the cut off time, and my partner Juliet made it too. Another mileage on the trail before my most awaited Kinabalu Climbathon.

October 22, 2011, 25th Mt. Kinabalu Climbathon. Three days after my TNF100 SG 50kilometer run is our summit training climb to Mt. Kinabalu. This is a 21 kilometer all uphill trail. Our purpose is for our body to acclimatize with abrupt elevation. And three days after is the race proper. With not much time for our legs to recover from the previous practice run, it's now time to do the actual race. I did not reach the summit cut off time but I need to race down and cross the finish line despite being on dnf status. What made this race so memorable, it's not just the physical gain that I  get being exposed to the high altitude which is the primary purpose of joining but also good and fun memories among friends and new found friends. I did not regret joining this event.

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