shaped volcano, the most active in the Philippines, élève
rises to 2 462 m. But its beauty is deceptive, and an ascent
surprisingly difficult. The classic climb via the South
facehas been impossible since the eruption in 1993. The
north face starts at the Mayon Rest House Obsevatory. A
small path in the forest abruptly ends after 1,5 km at an
old grey lavaflow, eroded by rainwater which has carved
and filled bath like hollows -completely irresistible !
Just after the start, a 4 m high earth wall with only a
single handhold - a root - could easily have called a halt
to climb before it really began. Following this, there were
some difficult steep walls formed by the lava flow (it is
rock climbing, not a little trek). The frequent heavy rains
ensure they remain most slippery. At around 2 000 m, the
vegetation stopped and the summit could only be reached
across unstable or ash strewn ground and thick fumes.
From the edge
of the long awaited crater, we leaned forward over the huge
horse shoe shaped amphitheatre which opened up below.
Clouds of fumes lazily rose into the air hiding
part of the crater dome. There is little to see and so after
a few minutes, we go back down folowing the ravine that
will lead us to our little tent.
All of a sudden, we are stopped by the rocky bluff
10 m high. The only thing to do is to retrace our steps
and wait for the thick fog to dissipate.
Huddled in our ponchos, continuously drenched by
it was only after several hours that we were at
last able to find the right ravine,
parallel to the first one and rush to our little
The following day, Patrick's exhaustion transformed
his descent into a misery of several hours.