The rockies is one of the highlight of the Mount Maculot climb. It’s a steep ascent but it gives you a magnificent view of Tall. Brave it a little further, you get an even better view at the summit. It also gives you an adventurous traverse with technical descents and steep ravines.
Mount Maculot is about 930 MASL. It’s a short climb but it’s known for its steepness with a total elevation climb of 650 meters. The plan was only to visit the Rockies but of course, a climb won’t be complete without a visit at the summit.
The Route and Elevation
It’s about a 2 kilometer straight climb equivalent to 400 meters worth of elevation going to the Rockies. It goes on a moderate climb for the next 1 kilometer before switching to a steep climb worth 250 meters of elevation for the last 500 meters to the summit. The trail goes on a technical descent for the next 1.5 kilometers in the traverse stretch heading to the grotto and the exit covering about 650 meters of elevation.
Trekking Mount Maculot
We started early for the climb at 6:00 am. The climb is a direct assault. It’s a short climb but it’s a steep one. There’s about 400 meters of elevation heading to the Rockies and another 250 meters heading to the summit. I made a mental note on the elevation of the Rockies at 700 MASL and the summit at 950 meters. It’s a beginner friendly climb with several rest stops along the way.
We had two guides for the trek with one in the lead pack and the other one on the tail end. I joined the lead pack since in treks like this, it’s the last ones who gets the shortest rest on recovery breaks. The first 800 meters was a moderate ascent on paved grounds so it was a chill walking pace at this point. We had to wait for the rest before entering the trail area.
Entering The Trail Area
Once it hits the trail area, it immediately goes on a climb. It’s a bit technical with steep single tracks with large stones, tree trunks, twigs and bushes adding to the obstacles.It’s not easy bit there are rest areas after every 50 or 100 meters of the climb. You can push yourself on the climb since you can recover on the rest stops.
Climb for 50 or 100 meters and then rest at the stops. Easy right? Well, yes but you also have to be reactive on the varying terrain. The guide told us that we are halfway into the climb after a kilometer. We were about 450 MASL and still need to ascent another 250 meters to reach the Rockies.
Halfway Point to the Rockies
There were rappel parts too. There’s about 20% – 30% incline for every 100 meters of distance. It was a bit of a challenge but it became manageable because in was cut into segments.
The view of Taal lake makes climbing worth each and every difficult step. It’s a really thick forest so you’d barely feel the heat. When we hit the camp site, we had our lunch. The plan was only to go to the Rockies. I started surveying who wants to do the summit after doing the Rockies. We deferred the decision until after the Rockies.
To The Rockies
We were at the campsite at about 1.8 kilometers. The road to the Rockies had a steep descent with rope supports. We climbed through large boulders of rocks. The climb through the boulders of rocks was challenging as you had to find areas where you can hang on. You should also be conscious on your surroundings as you might hit your head on some of the boulders. It’s a little bit of strategy here as you try to find ways to do the climb.
It was an amazing view at the top of the Rockies. It had the lush green forest and it had Taal Volcano and its lake. There was a queue on some cliffs at both side of the areas since it was a picture taking site. After a while, it was a turn and even if it scares me, I’m still game to site by the edge of the cliff.
It was a beautiful vantage point of the view yet it felt scary as one misstep could mean you falling down a cliff. It felt awkward at the start but once I was seated at the throne, I felt at peace with nature. It’s not everyday that you get humbled by the sheer beauty of nature. This is a different perspective of Taal Volcano from the common Tagaytay view.
The other side of the Rockies had the thick rich forest reserve of Batangas. This was a much bigger rock formation and coming from a scary sit by the cliff, we were braver at this point. The formation was uneven but I was able to brave standing by the rock and just be a tiny speckle of the awesome view.
Off To The Summit
We now had to decide on whether to go for the summit. 9 of us ended up going to the summit while 5 went back. We were there so we might as well go to the summit. One guide went with them and one guide went with us.
The climb to the summit started with a moderate climb at the first kilometer of the climb with a single track dirt roads on a mossy forest trail. The last 500 meters became challenging with the trail getting steeper and more technical. It also rained for a while. We were moving faster and had fewer rest stops compared to the first climb to the Rockies. It took us less than an hour to reach the summit.
The summit even had a better view of Taal Volcano, Taal Lake and the surrounding forest. It always worth it reaching the summit. It’s a milestone and it’s a high when it comes to climbing. That’s the adventure in it as you get to experience the climb as a whole.
To Go Back or to Take the Traverse Route
The choice was go back to the same route or take a traverse that would be an unpredictable route for us. Eventually, the adventurous side in us prevailed and we took the traverse. The traverse is just 1.5 kilometers on really challenging trails while going back would be 3.5 kilometers on easier trails.
I joined the first group on the first descent and I immediately figured out that this would be a difficult trail. We started with a very steep and slippery descent. We grabbed on to stones, trunks and steps just to have additional balance on the descent. We waited for the rest at the rappel part. The rappel part was steeper and had us navigating through the rope on a very long descent.
After the long rappel, we shifted to technical forest trails that was a challenging to navigate. It continued on the steep descent on varying surfaces and uneven terrains. We were on another rappel part and this time it was on a deep ravine.
The Toughest Part of the Trail
It was a tough one as it was a deep ravine with a rope. It was like rappelling through a wall without a harness. We had to really hang on to the rope, find some uneven rocks for added balance on the next step and don’t panic. I stopped in the middle of the climb to hand the guide my phone so he can take the photo above. Crazy, Right? This was the toughest part of the climb. There were a lot of monkeys on the trees after the descent. We were watching the monkeys plays.while we were waiting for the rest on the rappel.
It was still technical surfaces after the rappel but glad the hardest one was over. After a while, we finally saw sunshine as we excited to the Grotto. After the Grotto, it was just going through steps and a short trail portion before the trail exit point. It’s also used as stations of the cross so you can actually count down the steps after you reach each station. That was a complete adventure from technical trails to steep ravines and cliffs and changing weather conditions. We took the harder way but it made the adventure much sweeter.