Mount Silay in Negros (the Philippines)
Mount Silay
Northern Negros Forest Reserve, Negros Is., Philippines

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5,033 ft.

South of Cadiz City near the borders of Victorias City and E.B. Magalona

Unknown; Climbed by the an SB team, the first mountaineers to do so, at 5:00 p.m. on August 29, 1999 although this feat was recognized by the SB after 1 1/2 years later
     
The official summit of Mt. Silay; mostly primary forest cover; volcanic mountain; sheer south face with a base that is difficult to approach due to its rugged terrain and thick forest cover

South Base from Barrio Gawahon

Uphill and downhill logging road (1 day); bushwhack to south base (0.5 days)            

Nagabusay Col

Hack a trail to Nagabusay Col between the summit-ridge of Dinamlagan East Wall and Silay-Proper (1 day); climb the ridge and follow it to the northeast (0.5 days); bivouac is neccessary

Orienteering skills or a sense of direction in the forest is a must; pack water from water-sources
Lush tropical rainforest at the base of Naathagan Buttress at the base of South Face Peak adjacent the summi of M. Silay.
Singarong Backpackers
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(Northern Negros)
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Background Mountaineering History
           The summit of Mt. Silay (the official summit of the mountain range bearing that name) lies to E of Dinamlagan Peak and NW of Sicaba Diotay Peak . Its seclusion held it out of reach of logging operations that stopped in the early 1980's with the imposition of the government ban. Over the north side of the summit lies the Kagang-Bukay (name coined by the SB), a high-elevation valley thriving with conifers and palms. The Kagang-Bukay is the uppermost basin of Sicaba-Wala River that separates it from Sicaba-Daku Pk to the NE. North of Ubak Valley, the great valley east of the Gawahon-Calaptan mountain-chain, Silay feeds the Manlingay Creek (one of several streams that feed the Malogo River from the northeast).
          
Map showing the five attempts of the Singarong Backpackers to climb Mt Silay that resulted in the ascent of Dinamlagan, South Face, Sicaba-Diotay, Sicaba-Daku (Sewahon) and the incidental ascent of the true summit
           The young and early start of mountaineering history of Silay is virtually the struggle of the Singarong Backpackers to climb this summit which is alleged to exhibit a strong magnetic force. Considering that Calaptan Peak is Silay, the SB made its first attempt to climb it in September 1998. Eventually, the SB discovered the mistake while positioning for the Southwest assault in Canlusong where they met folks who pointed out to them that Silay lies to the northeast of Calaptan. With this sketchy knowledge, the SB attempted the South Face of the Dinamlagan East Wall (northeast of Calaptan) that eventually led to the climbing of the West Pinnacle of the Dinamlagan Southeast Ridge on October 16, 1998. Practically, the absence of a topographical map and the SB refusal to utilize an accompaying guide in its assaults hampered these early attempts - primarily its recognition of the true Mt. Silay.
             Attempting the South Face for the second time, the SB clinched the South Face Peak (formerly the SB called it Makawili Peak) on August 29, 1999. Experiencing  an anticlimax, the SB learned that the South Face mountain and the Dinamlagan belong to a singular mountain with the pinnacle of the later as the higher summit. This discovery lead to the formulation of the theory that Dinamlagan (a peak already climbed by the SB on October 3, 1998) is the true summit of Mt. Silay. This theory persisted for almost a year despite of the discrepancy it imposes on the relation of relevant peaks from map positions against positions taken from actual observations. There is no such thing as a Sicaba Diotay Peak southeast of Silay (granting it is Dinamlagan) contrary to the information contained in most maps (not topographical maps) consulted by the SB.
              By June 2000 on the planning stage to climb Sicaba Diotay Peak, the SB discovered a least noticed mountain east of the Dinamlagan East Wall from reconnaisnace photographs assembled for the purpose. Indeed, this eastern mountain is the true Mt. Silay! Not alien to this mountain, the SB had actually traversed through its summit ridge, barely making it to its summit (150 feet short), on its northeast detour after climbing the South Face Peak.
             
UPDATE: The Singarong Backpackers recognized late on March 24, 2001 that it has already climbed Mt. Silay at 5:00 p.m. on August 29, 1999 after summiting South Face Peak at 11:00 a.m. in the morning. Unable to recognize that peak, they even bivouacked on it as a result of an eastward traverse in search of a route down the mountain - a move that standed them on the mountain and resulted in a dramatic northeast detour.
The shallow col breaking the ridgeline was named by the Singarong Backpackers as the Nagabusay Col. This Col separates Dinamlagan (including South Face Peak) from mountain-summit of Mt. Silay lying to the east of the former.
Climbing Records
Distant view of Mt. Silay from Mt. Mandalagan
                           "The Fourth Attempt : Approaching the Real Mountain"

South Slopes (August 12-18, 2000)
Singarong Backackers : Dennis Ella, Pedro Palabrica, Mariebelle Porras and Roger Sildres
Nonguided Exploratory Climb

            
In a 7-day expedition for the tandem climb of Mt. Silay and Sicaba Diotay Peak, just 1.4 kms apart, the team blazed a 2-day trail from Barrio Gawahon (actually half of which is already known to the team) to the Northwest Slopes of Sicaba Diotay Peak. In the third day, the bid to assault Sicaba Diotay Peak was repulsed by an 'unscalable' rock-wall on the West Ridge. Loss of morale, depleted supplies and fatigue on the fourth day defeated the effort of Dennis (Climb Leader) to mount a reconnaisance of the Silay-Sicaba Diotay col. All the Climb Leader could do is to personally scan the South Face of Mt. Silay from a vantage position. The team returned to Gawahon on the fifth day.
                    
                                   "The Fifth Attempt : A Southern Approach"
South Slopes (Sept. 13-17, 2000)
Singarong Backpackers : Dennis Ella, Pedro Palabrica and Mariebelle Porras
Nonguided Exploratory Climb

           Intending to utilize the Nagabusay Col (the Dinamlagan-Silay col), the team blazed an eastward trail from the ridge of Tiniphagan (the massive landslide in the lower slopes of South Face Peak or the Dinamlagan East Wall) towards the eastern 'sikwayan' (major declination of a summit ridge) of Dinamlagan. Without a map in the dense forest, the team overshot the 'sikwayan' and entered instead the Northwest Slopes of Sicaba Diotay Peak (S57E of Silay) in the afternoon of the second day. In view of the proximity of Sicaba Diotay, the team opted to cancel the bid for Mt. Silay in exchange for an attempt of the closer one. Although a failed Mt. Silay climb, the team gained great knowledge in this particular approach to Mt. Silay - the most difficult to approach in Upper North Negros..  
                     "Climb During the Third Attempt Recognized on March 24, 2001"
Nagabusay Col through Naathagan Buttress (August 29, 1999 @ 5:00 p.m.)
Singarong Backpackers : Dennis Ella, Pedro Palabrica and Mariebelle Porras
Nonguided Exploratory Climb

           During the Third Attempt of Mt. Silay, the SB's Messner Team summited at 11:00 a.m. on August 29, 1999 South Face Peak (assumed by the SB as the summit of Mt. Silay prior to the climb). Learning by actual observation that Dinamlagan Peak to the east towers above South Face Peak of the same mountain, the Team theorized that the former is the true summit.
             In search for a new route down the mountain, the Team went westward past Nagabusay Col (depression between the true Silay and Dinamlagan) and, at 5:00 p.m., bivouacked on a pinnacle (then unrecognized by the SB as the true summit).
             More than a year after the unrecognized climb, two actual observations shed light to an incontrovertible fact - Silay has been unknowingly climbed as stated.
December 30, 2000: An SB party was able to view the full length of the east-west length of Mt. Silay from a ridge of Sulfatara-Gamay in Mt. Mandalagan; noticeably in this perspective, the SB learned that the pinnacle near Nagabusay Col (appears as a prominent depression in the ridgeline) is a dominant peak, much unlike as its lowly profile when viewed from a nearer perspective in Ubak Valley. March 24, 2001: An SB party took a compass reading in an observation point in Ubak to determine the location of Sicaba-Diotay Peak in corellation to a reeading taken on the very summit of Sicaba-Diotay (climbed through the West Ridge on September 15, 2000); this observation proved that the pinnacle east of the true Mt. Silay is Sicaba-Diotay, not Silay as theorized by the SB during the Fourth and Fifth Attempt.
                                                       "A North Ridge Attempt"
North Ridge (June 5-7, 2003)
Singarong Backpackers : Joseph Victor Magdato, Glenn Sorbito  and Aaron Cristal
Nonguided Exploratory Climb

           The 7-man party arrived in Brgy Gawahon on at 9:30 a.m. on June 5, 2003 and headed north for Sicaba-Tuo Camp where it arrived at 3:00 a.m. Here in a base camp about 2,000 ft below the summit, the summit team composed of Joseph, Glenn and Aaron commenced the final assult through the North Ridge at 8:30 a.m. The team discovered a "mangunguway" trail over the west of the Ridge that eased its progress but Aaron, complaining of stomachache, slowed down the ascent. After 2 hours, the team could hardly managed to get to the 1144-meter pinnacle on the ridge and it decided to call off the day climb. The team arrived back to camp at 11:30 a.m.
             Meanwhile, the guests - Tristan Opinion, Trivon Opinion, Erick Gaylon and Gilmar Almirante - who were not included in the summit team arrived at 12:00 noon of the second day on their nonguided trek to Sicaba-Wala River over the other side of the ridge.
              This attempt is a miserable failure.

                       "The North Ridge: Second Successful Ascent of Mt Silay"
North Ridge (April 8-10, 2004)
Singarong Backpackers : Dennis Ella, Joseph Victor Magdato, Glenn Sorbito, Tristan Opinion, Trivon Opinion and Frederick Gaylon; Freelancers - Anthony Leonidas, Jeffrey Torres and Kenneth Gaylon
Nonguided Exploratory Climb

           By far the largest NEC team ever assembled by the Singarong Backpackers, the 8-man team was led by Dennis Ella with the assistance of senior members such as Joseph (Navigator) and Glenn Sorbito (Base Camp Manager and Sweeper). In a bid to pursue the unfinished climb of the 2003 team on the route, the North Ridge, the team set up base in Sicaba-Tuo Camp (elevation 300 feet ASL), about 5 hours of hike from Brgy Gawahon, on the first day.
             As the team confronted the remaining 4,700-foot vertical distance and 2-km horizontal distance on the second day, April 9, 2004, it immediately hurdled  the scrambling slope of the 1144-meter peak on the North Ridge. In more than 2 hours, the team topped the 1144-meter, leaving earlier the greater part of the load. Tracking the spine of the North Ridge with a decaying trail was an easier task. Tackling the sheer summit wall later was another matter. Past the last vestiges of a trail, the team arrived at the dry source of Sicaba-Tuo (separating Dinamlagan Pk from Silay Pk) at lunchtime.
             Tired and weary, Kenneth Gaylon, a lumbering behemoth at 230 lbs, opted to stay in the lunch site while the rest pushed on to the summit after luncbreak. Finally, after much confusion the team recognized the Silay summit a few minutes before 2:00 p.m.
              Descent to Sicaba-Tuo Camp was made in only two hours. Return to Brgy Gawahon was accomplished in 4 hours.
               This is the First Mountaineering Ascent of the North Ridge.
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