Sunday, November 4, 2012

Romi in Union Glacier w/ the mounstrous ice truck!

Going up the headwall (to high camp).

Romi climbed Vinson Massif Jan5,2012.
(full story of his 7 Summits quest will be published around March2013, his first book).

the other 6th peak!

Romi (with Levi N.) at the Summit of Carstensz Pyramid, Papua (2011).
Nowadays, 7 Summiteers (or would-be) climbs both Kosciosko and Carstensz to 'ensure' that they did 7 Summits. I.e. both Bass and Messner list.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Dec 28,2008. On top of Mt. Kosciosko - the highest mountain in the continental Australia.
It's the highest in Oz, but the easiest among the 7 Summits given a friendly altitude (~7300ft) and a nice terrain and mountain condition.
Of course, it's not without the normal challenges - I was bombarded with ~80kph winds, and an incoming rain storm on my first day of attempt (w/c made me abort). 2nd day of attempt was still with the relentless wind, but manageable for me to get on top. whew!
Now what?
I can either climb Carstensz first - w/c means i have to shell out 12000k$ if without sponsors (a more likely scenario), OR - just climb Vinson's of Antarctica to complete the Bass List 7 Summits. And this is already a first for Pinoy!
Maybe climb Carstensz after that - to complete the Messner List 7 Summits.
Let the fate decide.... =)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The 5th Peak!

Pic1. my small remaining team battered by storm.

Pic2. On the way down from West Butress Ridge (from Camp 17,000). Going home after 19days of climbing up.
At long last, I've been dreading my climb in Denali given its super heavy load requirement of 120-130lbs. There are lots of first for me on this one: (1) first time to travel full-on rope-up w/ teams THE WHOLE GADAMN TIME! (2) first time to use sled (w/c amounts to 60% of my total load. (3) first storm on actual summit day!! (4) First time to lose all guides in an expedition (original 3 got sick due to virus?, our summit guide was from a different team/batch). (5) first time to shit in a can hahaha!
Alaska has proven its reputation of sudden weather changes, tons of snow fall, and unpredictable wind conditions. I still feel that our summit assault 'incident' was my closest in meeting Mr. Hell himself, when a 30mph windstorm hit us in the summit, when a teammate (that I was roped up with) fell on one side of the summit ridge (and me losing a mitten in the process), when cold dry wind froze our masks, goggles and faces, when my team was stuck (for a while) in a very exposed summit ridge 930ish in the evening - unable to climb down on a zero-viz and relentless windy condition. THAT WAS SOMETHING! Truly Epic ;)
But that's life ;) we just have to suck it up, survive, and climb again :) On to the 6th of the 7 summits....

Sunday, September 9, 2007

4th of the 7 SUMMITS

Alas!! Aug27, 11.02am Local time - Romi made it on top of Mt Elbrus' West Peak 5642m (Highest in Europe). This is the 4th of the 7 SUMMITS! 3 to go!!! Layo pa haha!

Finally, after a long dreaded re-attempt to climb the West Peak of Elbrus – the summit revealed itself to me! WHEW! And as usual, given the mountain’s notorious behavior of sudden weather change – we almost didn’t make it. Our guide thought of aborting the climb 20-30mins before reaching the summit due to high winds, bad visibility and white-out! Imagine we already reach the summit-rim and just need to find the highest mark of the rim – the thought of walking back from that point can make you Mad like hell! But luck favored us that time - the weather held for a bit and we were able to continue on and went back to safety.
My team mate was not as lucky. He lost his baggage (containing all his customized gear), then got sick a few days later – and when he was finally making the summit push – 2 avalanches sent climbers tumbling down the slopes (1-hr before the summit), eventually shooing them away from its summit! Tough luck!

Well, I was not too lucky all the way myself – the immigration officer in Min.Vody (I flown in straight here from Baku), wanted to kick out my sorry ass back to Azerbaijan (where I “connected” my flight) claiming that I should pass by Moscow first (as written in my useless voucher document). For the knowing tourist – he was simply after $$$! But I’m a stubborn SOB, and although I was the last one to leave the airport – at least I was let go! WHEW! I did expect “some problems” along the way (the place being Russia), but it was a surprise to have my first point of contact (immigration) to be my problem. Such is life!!

Anyway, the solid, good news was that, I’m now “4 out of the 7 SUMMITS” (the current Philippine record) – and the obvious question being – WHAT’S NEXT?!

Let’s see… :)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Back to El Bruce

To avoid recalling the difficult times in the slopes of Mt. Elbrus, I’ll change the name of the mountain as El Bruce hehe.

I made a bold attempt to summit 18,400ft El Bruce last 2004, but failed. On the 4th day of the climb, I made an attempt – weak and sick. After more than 10 hours, I was still walking upwards, when snow clouds enveloped the mountain dropping visibility to as low as 3-5 meters. 200 vertical meters before the summit (2-3h to go), I met up with the lead team. The members were on their way down, while I was still struggling to hike up. Sensing danger and higher risk, the expedition leader asked me to go down to live another day. Weeks of preparation, thousands of dollars of my savings, hope for the Conservation project work that this expedition should support – all seemed to float in the air, higher and higher - and into oblivion. It was one of the most miserable and humbling day of my life.

3 years had passed, and the memory of my agonizing time in El Bruce is still fresh in my mind. I dreaded the mountain, the ever changing weather, the Russian atmosphere, and the possible repeat of defeat. Will I climb its summit this time?

Only time will tell…

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hold on dude

Ooops – I was told that I will be “on my own” for the time-being, so I have to scrap a 15-000$ Carstensz climb! I’ve spent a few hundred $s to buy new hardware and big boots for this climb, but now those have to be stored in my plastic drums to last until the real time comes. If.
Carstensz is relatively simple, yet unbelievably expensive climb due to ‘unique’ and unstable condition in the backcountry of Indonesia. Sometimes, late at night, while listening to the whirr-whirring sound of my electric fan – I thought of convincing myself, that the TRUE highest mountain in the Australian Continent – is Mt. Kosciousko (in Australia). That Carstensz Pyramid is a money challenge more than a climb, that there is no such continent as OCEANEA! We’ll have to find out. If after my 5th (of the 7) summits I still have zero funds, I’ll do Kosciousko to finish 6th. :) Then maybe, the plan to do the 7th (Vinson in Antractica) – will attract supporters and sponsors, so then the 1ST PINOY to bag the seven summits is finally realizing an expensive dream.

So we can move on with better adventure challenges ahead - umm, South Pole? hehehe..

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

UP NEXT - Carstensz Pyramid (Australasia)

The Mystic Mountain

Carstensz Pyramid sits in the isolated easternmost Indonesian territory of Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), it is to the west of Papau New Guinea – these combined Papua territories form the 2nd largest island on the planet (after Greenland). Carstensz, or Puncak Jaya as it is locally known - is the highest mountain in the Oceanea and Australasian continent, standing proud at 16,023ft/4884m. It is one of the popular seven summits, and “the most technical” of the 7, given its big rock wall in the approach to the summit.

The route has a steep granite wall with sharp, glove-tearing rock. Only a few hundred people have climbed Carstensz mainly due to security issues or political instability, and because of logistics nightmare of moving supplies and equipment in a dense and remote jungle frequented by lowland tribal men. It is a wet and cold climb in snow and rain with a tricky vertical rock wall climb leading to the peak. Compared to Montalban rocks (in Philippines), this is “rock climbing at high altitude”, and it requires a day of multi-pitch climbing. It is one of the last two (2) mountains near the equator with disappearing glaciers (the other one is Kilimanjaro).

Different tribes used to occupy and roam the jungles of Papua, most of them used to practice voodoo rituals, and cannibalism! The look and feel of the place brings you back to those mystical jungle feel of those King Kong movies, somewhat lost in time or simply back in the stone-age. For climbers, this is an adventure in the last remaining frontiers of our planet, and a rare chance to visit the mystical mountains of Papua.


(To-date, there has been no recorded Filipino climb on this mountain. If successful, this puts a new Pinoy mark on the highest mountain in Australasia or Oceanea, and brings us closer to the 7-summits dream.)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Everest 2006

May 19, 2006. Garduch on top of Mt. Everest... :)

Aconcagua 2004-5

Jan 1,2005. Summit of Aconcagua with Magnus (Sweden) and Pablo (Argentina), Andean Range Argentina.
Read The Aconcagua Climb Story