Ascent of Bulusan Volcano in 1997-04

Climber: Dan Baxter

Others in Party:Kevin Lewis
Chito & Jet balane
Guide & Porter
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:April, 1997
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Bulusan Volcano
    Elevation:5135 ft / 1565 m

Ascent Trip Report

Climbed after holy week. Year approx. may have been up to two years previous.
Hired a local mountaineer as our guide.
This was the only time when I feared death in the Philippines, as an unexpected typhoon hit nearby as we summited. Very hypothermic. Our campsite in the old crater filled with water as we decamped and we literally had to do some swimming to get to the exit. Kevin got washed down about 20 M in the rainforest as the water on the traverse was knee deep and rushing. Near summit I also got washed down Indiana Jones style in the cogan grass which cut my hands.
The summit crater had a small lake and next to it was a fumarole which was as loud as and sounded just like a jet engine on a tarmac. Visibility was poor. In fact, it was raining so hard that a continuous unbroken flow of water poured off the brim of my baseball cap at the summit. I've seen friends' recent photos of the summit crater but those show a deep jagged crater. Our experience was that of a more gentle terrain. Obviously the recent massive eruptions of 2007, 2010, 2011 & 2015 have considerably altered the summit area.
There was active NPA communist guerrilla activity on the mountain at the time, but we did not encounter any ourselves.
We approached from the north. Most use a longer harder approach from the lake to the south. Our guide chose our route because it was easier, but it was known to have more NPA activity. In fact the nearby army station was unsuccessfully attacked by NPA a month before our climb.
The rain forest had dense limatik (leech) activity. It would have been impossible to camp there. Luckily the old crater lacked rainforest and was free of leeches. We camped on sand bars interspersed with sporadic brush.
There was much wildlife. Wild pigs, chickens. That night I heard 3 different species of owls calling.Also the blood curdling screams of some mammal being killed by a predator. One poisonous snake on the trail.
All this data entered many years later (in 2016)
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Guide, Porters, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Raining, Frigid, Extremely Windy, White-out

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