If you’ve been climbing for years, been with a lot of groups or you’ve experienced being on the trail for days you probably went through some of the gross experiences mountain climbing can offer. So let’s cringe and reflect, victim and accused.
¤ Human Bomb (poop/tae/human excrement/feces etc)
This is totally disgusting, unethical, unhygienic, irresponsible, insensitive and all the bad adjectives in the english dictionary. Mapapamura ka to high heavens sa sobrang bwisit, asar, badtrip because your day was just ruined by a huge yellow or brownish poop lying there on your path or on your shoes because some ugly faced climber pooed in a plastic bag (which he forgot to tie) and made a rocket bomb out of it. Eeeeeeew!
But your level of anger does not compare to the above if you find the bomb just beside your tent in the morning. You are just a little thankful your tent is all zipped-up or you could have breathed all it’s glorious smell throughout the night. Or maybe not, that is why you’ve slept dreamlessly. This incident always happens at Mount Pulag which has strict rules but is lax on crowd control.
When a camp is packed and you can’t identify the perpetrator, this usually happens. But hey climber, you’ve been taught to dig up your own hole for your poop, that is elementary and even a cat can do that, why can’t you. The effect of your thing left unattended can result to wildlife eating it and getting poisoned or a plant sprouting from it and changing the natural make-up of a mountain or tilt the balance of its ecosystem. It’s on the Leave No Trace policy.
Next time you climb, pack your poo-poo kit and even if you go jelly on the knees about multo, you have to go dig up your own hole or go to the make-shift toilet even if its in the middle of the night.
Your acts, really, are a reflection of who you are as a person. To paraphrase:
If you are strong enough to climb a mountain, you are strong enough to dig a hole for your poop.
For more reads about how and when to properly dispose off your human waste, go to Trail Space.
¤ Make-shift Toilet
Make-shift, enclosed by a tarp or blue sack with open top, four poles to hold it in place. In the middle of the ground is a dugout.
But here is the gist, some climbers could not even properly shoot their dung on the hole and it lies besides it in all its glory. Or you find used wet wipes/tissues lying all around it or maybe used tampons or napkins on crevices. Ano ba naman yan girl, pack up your own waste naman.
The grimness of the scene and the foul odor which still permeates even if your nose is already tightly in between your thumb and forefinger will make you nauseaous and you back out like someone from a thriller movie facing an attacker. The emergency feeling of ‘napoo-poo na ako’ just got doused by ice water and you decide to just hold it in even you have goosebumps all over.
Covered or uncovered, toilets up in the mountains are uncomfortable but pooping in a make-shift one is quite an experience if its clean and you smell no foul odor. You look up and see the full moon with just the right feathery clouds and you think whimsically ‘life is really simple, why do we make it so complicated with complicated relationships’.
THAT natural painting?! It’s emo time.
¤ Sticky Sweat and Various Body Odor
After 6 to 8 hours of trekking thru lush fauna, boulders or open space, the sweat glands which had overworked can now rest. You lean on a tree and close your eyes but voila! you cringe inwardly becasue instead of solitude and fresh air, you smell your body odor. So you look around and making sure no one is looking at you, you peek inside your base layer and argggggh, your nose is assailed by foul body odor. Your brain goes into denial ‘it’s not me really, it’s someone else’. Unlucky you are if you have stronger body odor and the ad that says ‘it won’t let you down’ is totally an epic fail on you.
You imagine your second day and the third and you want to faint but you take a little consolation because everyone smells the same as you and you imitate how satan laughs.
Then if you are a girl, you grin like a lunatic because the handsome guy you just met smells waaaaay fouler than you. And if you are a guy, ung sampung paligong lamang nung gwapong kasama mo sa grupo, apat na lang ang natitira.
¤ No Bath
So congatulations! it’s your second day on the trail BUT you haven’t passed a single creek or river or waterfalls. You’ve walked miles and miles on a dirt trail with the sun shining brightly on your head, dust clings to every pores on your skin which was left uncovered. A sweat had made a straight line on your face and you watch, in slow motion, as it drops and got absorbed by the earth.
And you are dying to reach camp, but when you’ve pitched the tent and felt the cozyness of it, you are just too tired, limbs wanting to just lie there for hours unmoving. But the urgency to clean yourself is getting louder by the minute so you do your clean-up routine but you still don’t really feel clean as the sticky feeling of sweat lingers. All you want is a river or just a creek or just a clean pool of rain water.
You drown those sticky yucky feelings with laughter at socials dahil almost magkakapareho na kayo ng amoy. Then you tell yourself, its part of it and that is why you are different than the others.
It differentiates you from other wo/men because you know something they don’t, you experienced something they didn’t, you see beautiful sunrise, fauna’s, sunsets, sea of clouds on the trails or at the summit and they just see those on your photos.
You get ahead of yourself and think ‘If the Philippines will be at war with China and everyone has to flee to the mountains, I’ll be one of the survivors until the allied forces brings in the tomahawks’.
And you drift off to dreamland dreaming of taking a bath.
For all it’s gory, grimness or foulness, we still climb because it’s what we have become and still will be in the future. We cling to our confucious-like reasons and we climb even more. Dream about it each day, save every penny to fund it.
But climbs will be more pleasant and memorable without the grimness of irresponsibility, a breach on our conscience and mountaineering ethics and basic human etiquette.
Those exist to differentiate us in the food chain.
If you got more gross experiences along the trails during your climbs, the comment box awaits your stories. For some of the confucious-like reasons why people climb, read it here.