This will be my 3rd climb to the famous volcano that was considered the "most violent volcanic eruption of the 20th century" in 1991. My first climb there was in 1994, with my Congress Mountaineers buddies, we called the "Crater Traverse Expedition". It took us 2 days to climb up the crater from Pampanga side, one day just to go down the cliff, down to the beach of the small crater lake, one day to cross the lake, and 2 days to go down Zambales side.
My second climb to Pinatubo was in 2006, But that time, we walked for only about 3-4 hours as we rode 4x4 jeeps, from Capas, Tarlac and back.
Last July this year, our team leader in the 1991 expedition, Jules, brought his 2 Jap friends, plus another mountaineer friend Jun Velasco, they run to Mt. Pinatubo crater and went back the same day. Photo below, the two Japs, Jules and Jun. These photos below posted by Jun in our Congress Mountaineers fb group.
Compare with Pinatubo crater lake in 2006.
And Pinatubo in 1994. Uly Veloso doing a comic pose on the edge of a cliff.
We were lucky in our 1991 climb, no injuries on those 6 days of adventure except swollen feet on our way down as we have to criss-cross rivers and creeks full of lahar deposit. The sand and small stones entered our shoes as we cross the waters several times.
Here, Jules and company crossing a river. In 1991, Pinatubo near the crater has zero vegetation. It was all sand and volcanic materials, waiting to go down in the annual lahar onslaught in Pampanga and Zambales provinces.
These guys, look at their body -- fat tummies. I used to have one, until about a decade and a half ago.
The sand-exposed hills, these could be at the crater, near the lake.
Climbing up and going down huge rocks in a maze, we did lots of that in 1991, with heavy backpacks. Each one of us must be carrying at least 20 kilos of backpack that time, including a rubber boat, tire interiors, lots of long ropes, food for 5-6 days, etc.
Here, their group was negotiating a rock descent. It's easier if one is not carrying heavy backpack.
I am excited about our trail run tomorrow. When you're 50+ like me, adventures like this pump high adrenaline on your mind and heart, and legs.
Our preparation for this climb should include several kilometers of running. I hardly do that due to various household errands and work. What I do, sometimes I climb Axa building 25 storeys up by stairs, to the office, then walk down when going home. Besides, I talk a lot. My principle is that if in Makati, if my destination is less than 2 kilometers, I walk. I don't drive her except to bring the kids to school and pick them up later, or weekend family errands.
Mt. Pinatubo Climb, December 1994, January 24, 2014