With another news about a mountaineering accident that happened just a week ago, we are again reminded not to underestimate mountains. According to Rappler, a QC resident (58 y.o.) passed away last Monday due to a heart attack while resting at Camp 1. Although the temperature then was 4 degrees, the town doctor did not confirm that the death was due to hypothermia.
One thing I realized with my first Pulag climb is that the Ambangeg-Ambangeg trail is difficult not because of the trail itself, but because the high elevation and the temperature can be quite shocking (check out my blog in three parts: 1, 2, & 3). It was my first time to climb at such elevation that I had to take several stops because of shortness of breath and chest pains. My lungs took a while to adjust to the air which is thinner compared to what I’m used to in Manila. And the temperature? Because of the rain, we slept in the Rangers’ Station. I had to wear 2 shirts, my jeans, and my trekking pants outside my jeans (couldn’t wear my jacket because it was soaking wet). I slept with the emergency blanket inside the sleeping bag but I was still shivering with cold.
Climbing a mountain is difficult — any mountain. This is why everyone is encouraged to do thorough research and preparation for each climb. No two mountains are similar and it is important to keep in mind that nature can be very unpredictable. Even though packing light is a must for every mountaineer, do take all precautions that might be needed in that particular mountain you are aiming to climb, and make sure you are mentally and physically prepared for anything.
Be safe everyone!
P.S. Deep condolences to the family.
Erratum: According to a family member of the deceased, he passed away not at the foot of the mountain nor at camp 1 but at camp 2, after 4-5 hours of trekking. He had a heart condition but insisted to pursue the climb. The cause of death was cardiac arrest due to hypothermia.