Climbing Mt. Apo

Photos by Robert Gardner

The "Grandfather" of Philippine peaks is the apt name of  Mt. Apo which anchors the southern end of a mountain range that bisects Mindanao, the Philippines' southernmost island. Soaring to 2,954 meters (9,691 feet), the highest point in the Philippines, it is the centerpoint of the Mt. Apo National Park straddling the provinces of Davao del Sur and North Cotabato. 

At 72,800 hectares, the park is one of the largest in the country and is home to the endangered Philippine Eagle. 

I returned to the Philippines in November 1996 with the goal of climbing Apo. I had visited several years earlier but it had been a dozen years since I attempted any major climbs. As a forty-something desk jockey, I knew it would be a challenge and it was. 

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