Osmena Peak


Osmena Peak (1015m) is the highest mountain on Cebu Island, the highest in the province of Cebu, and the highest in Central Visayas (Region VII). So obviously, this is a very important peak for Filipino mountaineers.

Friday, December 30, 2011 | Posted in , , , , | Read More »

Alto Coloane


After a very short visit to Tai Mo Shan in Hong Kong, my next objective was Alto de Coloane, the highest peak in the gambling mecca Macau.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Tai Mo Shan


Some say Tai Mo Shan (957m) is a country high point while some say not. It's all about how one classify Hong Kong and its level of independence from mainland China.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Yushan and 9 days in Taiwan


Yushan (Jade Mountain) at 3952 meters is the highest mountain in Taiwan. I started the paperwork barely 3 weeks before I landed in Taiwan, and by a slim margin, I received the permits (park permit + mountain permit) by e-mail just a couple of days before my cheap flight from Manila to Taipei. The permit is free of charge, but one must expect some small expenses to send the original and signed application with DHL, FedEx, LBC Express or if one has a plenty of time, the local post office. I sent my application with LBC Express from Manila, it took 4 days and cost 17 USD.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , | Read More »

Malapascua Island


Malapascua, a tiny island north of Cebu, is said to be the next Boracay (whitest sand beach in Philippines), so we decided to check it out.

Saturday, October 29, 2011 | Posted in , , , | Read More »

Alto Peak


Before we arrived Ormoc City in the Philippines, we had done some research about Alto Peak (1330m), which is the highest peak in the Eastern Visayas region. Locally this peak is more correctly known as Mt. Mindieun, Amendiuen or Amindiwin (yes, a lot of variations over the same name).

Friday, October 21, 2011 | Posted in , , , , | Read More »

Canigao Island


Canigao Island is the hidden paradise of Leyte, and it has quite surely the best white sand beach in the entire Eastern Visayas. By hidden I mean it's spared from western tourism and development, but beware, the local "tourists" can be of much nuisance as well.

Monday, October 17, 2011 | Posted in , , , | Read More »

Theft in Manila


I missed my flight to Tacloban and my camera was stolen. Shit happened twice on this unlucky day of October 4.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 | Posted in , , , | Read More »

Qatar High Point


We are a bit confused regarding the name of Qatar High Point, whether it is Al Galail or Qurayn Abu al Bawl. The latter one is located another place in Qatar according to Google Maps. However, we are pretty sure that we have scaled the highest point in Qatar and we measured it to 103m. You can read the entire trip report written by Lars Holme (in Norwegian language) on World Wide Vikings.

Sunday, October 02, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Jabal Dukhan


We were caught by the military in a highly restricted area, but that was after we had summited. You can read our trip report written by Lars Holme (in Norwegian language) on World Wide Vikings.

Sunday, October 02, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Jabal Shams


Jabal Shams (3012m) is the highest mountain in Oman. We knew that this would be a great challenge, even impossible because of restricted areas. But we had to give it a try. This is what adventures is all about.

Friday, September 30, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , | Read More »

Jabal Bil Ays


As I was going to the far east anyway, I found out that a stop in Dubai with Emirates Airlines was a good opportunity to gather more country high points. Actually I had planned to do only United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman, but things changed a bit when the experienced country high point collector Lars Holme decided to join me. Quantity rather than quality was now the major focus, so we agreed to visit Bahrain and Qatar during our 4 days trip as well. It was a great idea, but that plan had small margins if something unexpected would happen.

Thursday, September 29, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Ben Nevis


After a hectic weekend on Carrauntoohil, the highest mountain in Ireland, I went on with Ryan Air from Dublin to Glasgow. Here my plan was to climb UK's highest mountain, Ben Nevis (1344) in Scotland. Ryan Air's Prestwick Airport is quite far outside of Glasgow, but because the train was out of operation, buses went all the way to Glasgow Central Station free of charge. From there it was just a few blocks to walk to the Buchanan Bus Station in Glasgow, where I almost immidiately jumped on a Citylink bus to Fort William (3 hours).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Carrauntoohil


I and my good friend Håvar traveled to Ireland by a cheap flight from Oslo/Rygge to Dublin (Ryan Air). At Dublin Airport we picked up a rental car for the last 300 km drive to Killarney (approx 4-5 hours). In the evening we checked into Sugan Hostel, a friendly and cheap place to stay centrally in Killarney town. We ate Irish food and went bar hopping to test out the local Guinness beer, before we eventually went to bed.

Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Kyrkjenibba and Steindalsegga


The topographic prominence of Steindalsegga (1356m) had been set to less than 100 meters in a Norwegian database of peaks (peakbook.org), so I decided to go up and check it myself.

Sunday, September 18, 2011 | Posted in , , , , | Read More »

Machu Picchu


Finally there, standing on top of a small hill and watching the sun rise from the horizon, I was overwhelmed with feelings. Machu Picchu, its sheer beauty and spectacular setting, is really something out of this world.

Saturday, September 10, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , | Read More »

Aguas Calientes


Aguas Calientes is the entry-town of Machu Picchu, and that means a lot of tourists going by. Souvenir stalls, expensive restaurants and upscale hotels are booming in this little town. I simply had to get away from this madness.

Friday, September 09, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , | Read More »

Lake Titicaca


Leaving La Paz (Bolivia) and heading back to Lima (Peru) overland, I decided to spend one night at Lake Titicaca, the highest big lake in the world, 3811 meters above sea level.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , , | Read More »

Ancohuma


Together with Nicolas and Kevin, l set out on an adventurous journey to climb the third and fourth highest mountain in Bolivia, namely Ancohuma (6427m) and Illampu (6368m). Everything didn't go as planned though.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , , | Read More »

Revenge on Illimani


Our first attempt to climb Illimani (6438m) a couple of weeks ago, came to a sudden halt when two of our ice axes disappeared in High Camp. But with two brand new ice axes bought in La Paz, Nicolas and I were now back to get our revenge!

Monday, August 22, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , , | Read More »

Sajama


Nevado Sajama (6542m) is an extinct stratovolcano and the highest peak in Bolivia. Nicolas and myself climbed it by fair means (entirely selfsupported) on a 4 days adventure towards the border of Chile.

Sunday, August 14, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , , , | Read More »

The mystery on Illimani


We are ready to climb Illimani (6438m) in the middle of the night but something important is missing, which puts the entire climb at stake. The worst anti-climax imaginable. What really happened that night?

Monday, August 08, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , , | Read More »

Huayna Potosi


Huayna Potosi (6088m) is the closest high mountain to La Paz in Bolivia, so me and Nicolas decided to do this as a one day climb from the city. But that actually turned out to be a fairly long night and day with 1500 meters gain of elevation in thin air.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , | Read More »

Laguna Llanganuco


Just in case I'll never return to Peru, I decided that I at least had to see the Laguna Llanganuco, a stunning turquoise lake between the Huascaran and Huandoy mountains in the Cordillera Blanca.

Friday, July 22, 2011 | Posted in , , , , | Read More »

Huascaran 2nd attempt


On my second attempt on Huascaran Sur (6768m) I finally reached the summit of this giant, the highest mountain in the Cordillera Blanca and the entire Peru.

Friday, July 22, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , , , | Read More »

Huascaran 1st attempt


Huascaran Sur (6768m) is the highest mountain in the Cordillera Blanca and the entire Peru. Because of this it can have its own evil weather, something we were about to experience.

Thursday, July 14, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , , , | Read More »

Chimborazo


Chimborazo (6268m) is an inactive stratovolcano, and the highest summit in Ecuador. Its summit is generally regarded as the spot on the surface farthest away from the center of the Earth.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , , , | Read More »

Cotopaxi


Cotopaxi (5896m) is a perfect shaped volcano, extremely active and the most famous in Ecuador. My attempt to do it solo, unsupported and very cheaply from the bottom of the mountain, unfortunately ended in a stormy weather at the refuge.

I've heard that Cotopaxi is a very busy mountain, both seasoned mountaineers and a lot of tourists who have never seen crampons or ice axe in their life, aim for this popular volcano. I've also read that reservation is recommended in the high season when available accommodation in the park is limited. Thus I just decided to bring my own tent, to avoid all the hassles. I also planned to do Cotopaxi solo and unsupported from a lower point at the foot of the mountain, unlike the majority who just arrive by vehicle at the end of the road very high on the mountain.

The good thing about a crowded mountain and a glacier route like Cotopaxi, is that it's fairly safe to travel solo and unroped on the glacier. The snow trail will be solid as ice and the risk of falling into a crevasse or getting lost in a whiteout is substantially reduced, assuming there is no snowstorm approaching which will bury the track after short time.

I decided that Tambopaxi (3750m) at the foot of the mountain would be a good place to start. So I got Antonio to drive me from Quito to Tambopaxi for 70 USD. He also brought his brother, who's normally living in New York but now was on holiday in Ecuador to visit his old and dying mother. There was one issue however, Antonio is not a licensed tour operator, he's just an independent guy who has been driving around on mountaineers for the last 20 years in Ecuador. Because he's not part of Ecuador's "tourism mafia", he is not allowed to drive foreigners into Cotopaxi National Park. This was not a big deal though, because Tambopaxi is just a couple of kilometers inside the national park, so if the rangers didn't admit Antonio and his vehicle into the park, I could easily walk from the checkpoint to Tambopaxi in less than half an hour.

As we were getting closer to the checkpoint, Antonio suggested that I could drive his Toyota pickup while he would hide under a blanket in the back of the pickup. There would be no problem for a foreign guy like me to drive into the park with a rented vehicle. His brother Alex speaks perfect American, so he would act as a tourist as well. This way the rangers would not assume that Alex is another local Ecuadorian guy who drives me.

We arrived at the checkpoint and I was behind the wheel. Alex went out of the car and started to take photos of the surroundings (e.g. acting like a tourist). One of the rangers started to talk with Alex in Spanish, but Alex acted like he didn't understand and continued to take photos. The rangers asked me for the registration card of the vehicle and I handed it over to them in addition to the entrance fee for two people (4 USD). The rangers then walked inside their office (to check it!) and after a few minutes they returned with the two entrance tickets and the registration card of the vehicle. Everything seemed perfectly right, and Alex jumped into the car again and we were finally off to Tambopaxi. As soon as we were out of view, we stopped the car to let Antonio out of the "cage". We were happy to be inside the park, and especially Alex was smiling because this was his first time in the park. He left Ecuador when he was 21 years old, and has been staying in America ever since then.

We arrived Tambopaxi just a few minutes later. Antonio and Alex helped me checking in at Hosteria Tambopaxi, before they left on their own journey inside the park. I was really surprised to be the only customer at Tambopaxi. Because of this I decided to stay in the dormitory (20 USD). No need to pitch a tent, when I can have the entire dormitory for myself for a few bucks extra. Tambopaxi is a really nice place with a great view of Cotopaxi. The buildings are quite new and you get a feeling of being in a much more exclusive place than the fairly cheap charge would indicate. The dining hall looks like a luxury resort in the mountains. I was even offered to use their modern kitchen free of charge, if I needed to make any food for myself. Thus I decided to make my own lunch there in order to save some money. But in the evening I ordered the excellent dinner set for 15 USD. This was a delicious meal starting with a soup, then a main dish (chicken) and finally a dessert.

I spent some time walking around at Tambopaxi, then I spent rest of the day inside the dining hall to watch the ever changing lights of Cotopaxi from the window. They even had free Wifi in this remote place, so I could catch up on my e-mail, facebook and news on my iPhone.

I woke up early next morning and ate some bread I brought with me from Quito. I started to walk from Tambopaxi 7:40am. It was mostly flat and easy walking on the road, but higher up I started to feel the lack of oxygen as the uphills got steeper. That I carried more than 20 kg on my back didn't ease the breathing. I was tempted to hitch hike with some of the cars that passed me, but I decided to stick with the schedule and my plan to do Cotopaxi by fair means.

It took me 3:45 hours to reach the parking and then another 45 minutes in a very slow pace to reach Refugio José Ribas at 4800m. Except from some day trippers, I was the only one at the refuge. It was very surprising to find out that there were no other mountaineers hanging around. So again I started to wonder why I should sleep in the tent when I can have the refuge for myself. Besides it was starting to rain outside, so I decided to pay the 20 USD and got a first selection of bed. I even got a locker in the dormitory.

I used the common kitchen (which has gas stoves free of charge) to cook myself a lunch. After a while some small groups with local guides started to arrive the refuge. Most of them had no experience at all with a few exceptions. One of the groups even walked up to the glacier in the afternoon to get some lessons on ice. I however got myself a short rest on the bed before dinner time. As I were standing in the kitchen starting to prepare my dinner, one of the local guides offered me their surplus of pasta (their clients didn't eat very much). I accepted their kind offer which saved me the hassle of making dinner. Instead I started to boil plenty of water for the upcoming climb. I was in bed around 7pm, so were most of the other guys (10-15).

Around midnight most of the guys were up for breakfast. I went out to pee and soon figured out that the weather was awful. It was a snowstorm outside and not wearing my goretex, my thermal underwear were covered in wet snow after a few steps over to the toilet. This was not the ideal conditions to solo Cotopaxi. I could of course sneak behind one of the guided parties in order to keep to the route, but that was not at all my wish. I wanted to do it solo, not be a freebie behind a guided group. I reckoned it would not be safe to go alone on the heavily crevassed glacier in whiteout conditions like this, so I went back to bed and hoped it would clear up after a couple of hours. But it didn't. A few guys started to return to the refuge in the middle of the night, heavily iced up and wet to the bones. I just continued my sleep which was not a good one. I kept on waking up every 20 minutes or so and had a minor headache as well. I bet that increasing the sleeping elevation from 2800m to 4800m in just a couple of days was probably the reason.

I was up at daylight shortly after 6am, and the conditions were still the same. I didn't want to hang out at this refuge for another night just to find out that the weather still was bad. So instead of wasting more time here I decided to pack up my stuff and descend to Tambopaxi.

Walking down was a bit depressing, but I were quite confident it was the right decision to do. Back at Tambopaxi I got them to order a car back to Quito. I was surprised he only wanted 40 USD for this long ride. Back in Quito the weather did not improve the couple of next days (good I did not stay in the refuge). Now I only had one goal on my mind, Chimborazo, that one I was not going to fail.

Cotopaxi at EveryTrail


Photo Album

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 | Posted in , , , , | Read More »

Guagua Pichincha


Pichincha is an active stratovolcano just outside of Quito in Ecuador. The mountain's two highest peaks are the Guagua (4784m) and the Rucu (4698m). The active caldera is in the Guagua, on the western side of the mountain and erupted last time in 1999.

Sunday, June 19, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , , | Read More »

Pasochoa


Pasochoa (4.200 meters) is an extinct volcano located outside of Quito in the Ecuadorean Andes. This hike is both perfect for acclimatization and to get a good view of multiple volcanoes in the vicinity, including Cotopaxi.

Saturday, June 18, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Gosainkund Trek


Gosainkund is a holy body of water, located so high up in the mountains (4400m) of Langtang that the lake is frozen almost year round. I've been trekking to that scenic lake 10 years ago, but never from the south side, through the cultural interesting Helambu area.

Monday, May 09, 2011 | Posted in , , , , | Read More »

Chitwan National Park


This is not a zoo, this is the real thing! We encountered rhinos, crocodiles, wild boars and a plenty of other wildlife.

Monday, April 18, 2011 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Annapurna Sanctuary


I've been trekking and climbing a couple of times before in the Annapurna Himal of Nepal, but I've never done the Ghorepani trekking loop (including Poon Hill) and the Annapurna Sanctuary. So we decided to combine those two spectacular treks in a single 10-12 days trek.

Monday, April 11, 2011 | Posted in , , , | Read More »

Pokhara revisited



I have not visited Pokhara in Nepal since the autumn of 2000, so it was about time to return to this tranquil lakeside town, before we go trekking in the Annapurna mountains.

Sunday, March 27, 2011 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Colors of Comilla



Ronnie, Hasan and myself visited Comilla today, mainly to see the Mainamati Ruins, one of the most important Buddhist archaeological sites in Bangladesh.

Sunday, March 13, 2011 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Mowdok Mual


Mowdok Mual (Saka Haphong) in the remote border region of Bangladesh and Myanmar is one of my most challenging country high points so far. Just the simple fact that I most likely would be the second foreigner on top, describes the nature of this adventure.

Monday, February 07, 2011 | Posted in , , , , | Read More »

Cambodia: Phnom Aural


Mount Aural (Aoral) is the tallest peak in Cambodia with it's 1813 meters. The information is scarce about this mountain so I hope my detailed trip report will be of great help for other hikers and peakbaggers.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Continents

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