(Philippines) (1997)

This perfectly 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 rain,
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 fabric shelter.
The following day, Patrick's exhaustion transformed his descent into a misery of several hours.

* Back to Philippines ("Personal volcanic trips").

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