A major double traverse dayhike

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Prior to the exploration and successful ascent of Mt. Sicapoo in 2009, Mounts Timarid and Simagaysay were substantially major climbs by themselves.  Now, they are overshadowed by the popularity of the latter. Albeit impractical to not involve these mountains, most climbs to Mt. Sicapoo make use of the so called rosary trail.  The Mt. Timarid traverse is coupled with a Mt. Simagaysay traverse when completing the Mt. Sicapoo rosary trail.

Behind us are the knife edge from Saulay and, all the way at the back, Mt. Sicapoo with a crown of clouds.

 

Taking off from the descent of Mt. Sicapoo, day three starts at the Saulay junction. Less than thirty minutes from the campsite is the summit of Saulay Peak. From there, climbers make their way to Mt. Timarid (1,527 MASL) through open and rolling trails. The previous two days’ tackling river crossings and hiking four peaks to Sicapoo take its toll on the knees when negotiating the knife edge trail. With the midday heat coming up and the blowing winds, it becomes a dance and a nice balancing act. As one can imagine given the shape of Mt. Timarid, there is a steep ascent prior to reaching the summit in three hours. Timarid’s summit is wide open with a few trees providing cover and respite from the sun.

Balancing ourselves on the narrow trail while bracing against the heat and wind.

 

The steep descent of Timarid leads to more open trails to the last peak of the climb. Ten shades darker and a little over an hour after, Mt. Simagaysay’s summit (1,341 MASL) is reached. The summit provides a fantastic view of both Mts. Timarid and Sicapoo on one side, and the neighboring Ilocos towns and the West Philippine Sea on the other.

The view of Mt. Timarid (and Mt. Sicapoo serving as its background) taken from the summit of Mt. Simagaysay.

 

With the end still approximately four hours away, climbers briefly enter a forest line and then move on to snake their way to more winding trails doubling as the locals’ pastureland. Lined with cogon grass, the trek becomes unforgiving as the sight of the plateau draws near. From the plateau, it takes about an hour more to reach the Solsona town proper.

IMG 004More open trails and rolling hills to the plateau. Photo courtesy of Julius Estrada.

 

See full itinerary of the 3-day Sicapoo, Timarid and Simagaysay traverse below:

Day 0
22:00 Depart for Laoag City via GV Florida (Php800.00)

Day 1
06:00 ETA Laoag City; load jeep
06:30 Breakfast; buy packed lunch
07:30 Depart for Solsona, Poblacion
08:30 Register at the Solsona PNP Station and proceed to the jumpoff at Brgy. Manalpac
09:00 ETA Solsona; secure guide (Php500.00 per day) and porter (Php1,000.00 per day); leave some things at Tata Emilio’s place
09:15  Ride jeep or walk to jumpoff
09:30 Start trek
10:30 Start of Gasgas River crossings
12:30 Lunch at Parpar Camp
12:45 Resume trek
14:30 End of river crossings
15:00 Ascend Saulay
17:30 ETA Balbalitok; set up camp (peak 1)

Day 2
06:00 Breakfast; break camp
07:00 Start trek (steep forest trail with leeches)
08:00 ETA Saulay junction; set up camp
08:45 Start Sicapoo ascent through a pine tree forest trail
09:45 ETA Bubuos Camp (peak 2)
10:30 ETA Balbalite Peak (peak 3)
11:30 ETA Pakpako Camp (peak 4)
12:00 Lunch
12:30 Resume trek; enter mossy forest trail with leeches
14:00 ETA Matalidong Peak (peak 5)
15:00 ETA Sicapoo summit and Penguin Rock (peak 6)
15:15 Start descent
15:45 ETA Matalidong Peak
17:00 ETA Pakpako Camp
17:45 ETA Balbalite Peak
18:30 ETA Bubuos Camp
19:45 ETA Saulay junction; dinner

Day 3
06:00 Breakfast
07:00 Break camp
08:30 Start trek
09:00 ETA Saulay Peak (peak 7 at 1240 MASL)
12:00 ETA Timarid summit; lunch (peak 8 at 1527 MASL)
12:45 Resume trek
14:00 ETA Simagaysay summit (peak 9 at 1341 MASL)
14:30 Resume trek (steep descent through a forest trail then onto rolling cogon trails)
17:30 ETA plateau
18:00 ETA Tata Jun’s place
18:30 ETA Solsona dam
19:00 ETA jumpoff
20:00 Depart for Laoag City
20:30 ETA Laoag City

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