Kandungaw Peak: A Picture-Perfect PEAK That Challenges Those That Have A FEAR Of Heights


That idea of figuring what is above knows what is below and those that stays below does not know the feeling of traipsing the feet above is so rewarding. Some climbs and love the feeling of conquering the steep trail, some just enjoy viewing the photos of those that have experienced the mountain. People below appreciate what’s above, how much more when you see with your naked eyes what’s above?  There’s really something above that mountain seeker can’t elucidate and only the rewarding feeling that keeps them on top of the stack.

I was then one of those people who just appreciate the beauty above by seeing the photos of my friends whenever they arrived back after their challenging climb. I never understood why they keep going to the mountain and whenever I asked them, they couldn’t render me a satisfying explanation. Then, I try to enter into their world and after several tries, I now understand. There’s truly something above that even the best writers can’t completely express and illuminate.

 

Photo Credit: Arnold of Wandering Soul Scamper

I never have done trekking simultaneously before and to vanquish three peaks is something uncustomary. We were so elated to be able to see the sensational beauty of Casino Peak and have given me a chance to revisit Osmeña Peak for the 4th time. I didn’t even have guessed that I was able to overcome the 2 hour trek going to Casino Peak from the Mantalongon Market, and another more than an hour trek going to Osmeña Peak then another more than an hour trek from Osmeña Peak to Mantalongon Market. It was quite exhausting when you think about it, but I didn’t feel so tired that time because we actually just have fun and we have enjoyed it.

 

Kandungaw Peak or some spelled it as Candongao Peak is located in between the mountain range of Dalaguete, Cebu and Badian which some claimed it as part of Badian, Cebu, but this Peak have been maintained and manage by the Dalaguete Tourism Office. It is recognized to be the monolith peak in Maloray, Dalaguete, Cebu. It stands more than 900 MASL and recognized as the second highest Peak in Cebu, next to the well known and stunning Osmeña Peak. When you stand at the summit of Kandungaw Peak, you’ll be seeing the mountain that looks like being naturally sliced and drops down, which creates a beautiful cliff and a perfect spot for your death-defying poses. It also grants you a stunning vista of green jagged hills like the one in Osmeña Peak and Casino Peak.

Kandungaw Peak is actually from the root word “dungaw” which is a Cebuano term means “To look down”. According to our guide, Kandungaw Peak was used to be the hiding spot of the Cebuano’s during the Japanese regime in the Philippines. From the Peak, they’re attempting to look down if there are Japanese coming so they can hide. The hidden cave under the Peak is where they hide and also where they assemble. The cave was also the place where they can cook their food and they make sure that they only cook their food once a day because the smoke of the fire could be an idea to the Japanese people that someone is hiding in that place. They make sure that only when it’s nearly dark, that’s the time when they can cook. It was really quite interesting and I truly enjoy listening to our guide.

It was already late afternoon when we traveled to the Kandungaw Peak. After our late lunch at Mantalungon Market, we immediately ride a motorcycle going to Kandungaw Peak so we won’t be arriving at the Peak at night time. We were able to get to the jump off area before the dark fills the whole space, we had our quick registration and pay for the Tent space and of course our entrance fee. To render you a small idea, there was no entrance fee and tent space fee before. Climbing Kandungaw Peak has been just for free, but after it was known to the public, the Dalaguete Tourism Office took over the place and now every trekker should pay an entrance fee and other necessary fees.

The foremost challenge that welcome me during my climb to Kandungaw Peak from the jump off area is the man made concrete stairs, which is more than 200 plus stairs, I forgot the exact number of the stairs, but not more than 220 stairs. It wasn’t that much compared to the one I have tried in Linabo Peak, located in Dipolog City, Zamboanga Del Norte which is 3,003 concrete stairs. Just imagine how tiring it was. Anyhow, the 200 plus stairs is quite challenging as I was breathing laboriously during my climb. We truly tried to be in a hurry during our climb so we won’t end up reaching the Peak at night time. We just don’t like the idea of setting up our camping tent at night.

While we were trekking going to Kandungaw Peak and keeping our eyes to the visible and sharp edge of its Peak. We really have fun talking to our guide as he is really bubbly and full of enthusiasm. He told us about how Kandungaw Peak got its name and he’s trying to entertain us with all his funny jokes and tales. Since it was late in the afternoon during our ascent, there were a lot of day trekkers visiting the Peak who went down and some told us that the Peak is still far while pointing their fingers to the sharp edges of the peak. They were straining to convey how tiring it is to reach the Peak, but we were just smiling while thinking that this is something that we are really looking for. The challenging trek is what pulls in our fervor for something adventurous. Truly, the trail going to the Peak was not that challenging, it will only take about 30 minutes to 1 hour of trek to reach the Peak depending on the pacing.

While listening to the fun tales of our guide, we didn’t know that we nearly reach the Peak. He told us that there’s a Cave under the Peak, which is named after the Peak, they called it Kandungaw Cave. We supposed to visit it on the following day, but since some told us that the cave wasn’t really that great and going inside is muddy. Hence, we resolved not to visit it. Seeing the rock wall that looks like an entrance going to the Peak means that we almost reach the Peak. Locals call it as “Gawang-gawang”, a Cebuano term which signifies the “entrance”  or the “gate”. It was really interesting and I find it beautiful cause you really get to enter into it before you can finally see the jaw-dropping beauty of Kandungaw Peak. We finally have reached the Peak, but we didn’t depart to the Monolith Peak yet cause our priority that time is to look for a camping site and set up our tent since it’s almost dark.

The scene before we enter the stone gate of Kandungaw Peak. They call it as “Gawang-Gawang”


We finally found a good camping site which was really so small. It has three camping sites, and every site can only accommodate 2-3 tents. So I suggest, if you’re planning to camp here, you’ll better go here before 4 PM or earlier so you won’t run out of space. We were just so lucky during our visit because it was only our group who have stayed overnight. Actually, there’s a good camping site before, but now the camping site has been occupied by crops hence, camping there is no longer allowed. Thus, after laying up our camping tent, and make certain that we all have a good space, we then had our dinner. After our dinner, we also had games and experiencing some good time. Around 10:00 PM, I decided to go in my tent and sleep while some of my friends were still trying to capture the stunning stars which in the morning they have shown me the beautiful photos they have taken.

Camping Site


We really had a good sleep because of the good weather, good thing it didn’t rain the whole night and it wasn’t that windy. We actually woke up early in the morning to see the sunrise, but because of the heavy fogs, we didn’t able to see the sunrise. We then cook our breakfast and eat. One of Dalaguete Tourism office personnel arrived and further explain that where we stand was actually called as “Sunset Peak” since it offers the best view of the sunset. From where we stand, he also told us that there’s also a Peak called “Lovers Peak” and pointed his finger to the Peak. We actually wanted to go near and climb to its Peak, only we didn’t able to make it.

Morning scene while preparing our breakfast

Our kind of breakfast


Right after our breakfast, the clouds starting to fill the whole mountain and we all like dancing with joy cause everyone was like shouting and claim that it’s a sea of clouds, but frankly it was a sea of fogs. We truly have enjoyed and so elated. Shortly enough, we fix all our stuff before we could finally visit the Monolith Peak. The sunlight is starting to show and slowly getting hotter.

Photo Credit: Arnold of Wandering Soul Scamper


We then departed to the Kandungaw Peak and finally we were able to see the panoramic view from atop. The sturdy narrow stone that stands perfectly is truly awe-inspiring. That moment, I can truly feel that I have then visited and completely experience Kandungaw Peak. Standing on its summit is something I can’t elucidate. I actually look down and the height makes me really scared, but not looking down from the precipitous edge of Kandungaw Peak won’t make your Kandungaw Peak experience complete. At the summit, the view was really beautiful and I can’t stop adoring its innate beauty by saying wow. The Peak wasn’t that crowded, we truly have owned it for a while and we were able to take a lot photos.

Photo Credit: Arnold of Wandering Soul Scamper

After we truly have enjoyed the Peak, we went down from the Kandungaw Peak and at the shoulder of Kandungaw Peak, there’s a cliff that will certainly challenge you. After my friends tried to reach the cliff and made their death-defying pose. I also give it a try, but my knees were shaking and I feel like I’m going to fall from the cliff. It’s like the way I started dragging myself in the deep river when I was a kid. Trying to vanquish the battle between proving myself that I can and the fear of I might be swept by a sturdy stream of the river. I was evading the thought that maybe I can’t make it. My friends were in their greatest state of being fearful that I might touch the edge of the cliff, but fail. I was straining to prove myself that I’m not afraid as well. This wasn’t a big thing for some, but in my deepest thought,  I have done something incredible. It is knowing that trepidation will take place, but I have dominated its power to control me.

Photo Credit: Arnold of Wandering Soul Scamper

My knees were still shaking as we descend, but I was smiling and so elated that I made the challenge. I was able to conquer my fear of heights. Truly my Kandungaw Peak trekking experience have taught me a great deal of lessons in life. Sometimes, when life throws us a big stone, we scarcely have to master the right way of catching it so, we won’t get hurt. It’s also like how we face our greatest fears in life, we don’t need to be brave enough to conquer it, we only have to master the process of producing the courage to overcome whatever our fears in life. Shortly enough, we then have reached the jump off area and we had a rest before we ride a motorcycle going back to Mantalongon Market and go back to Cebu City.

Note:

The whole trip was part of our pre-climb for our coming major climb. What we did was we trek from the Mantalongon Market going to Casino Peak like around 2 hours. From Casino Peak, we trek going to Osmeña Peak like more than an hour and from Osmeña Peak we again trek going to Mantalongon Market for more than an hour. Kandungaw Peak is a bit far and we don’t hold enough time, so we ended up riding a motorcycle going to the drop off area, then we trek like around an hour going to the Peak.

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HOW TO GET TO KANDUNGAW PEAK OR CANDONGAO PEAK

Take a bus at the South Bus Terminal bound for Oslob or Bato. Ask the driver to drop you off at Dalaguete junction. Travel time is about 3 hours, (The fare is not more than PHP 150 with Aircon Bus).  The crossing is populated with bakeries and motorcycles (habal-habal). From there, ride a motorcycle (habal-habal). Usually the fare going directly the jump off area is PHP 150 per person. The travel time is around 45 minutes to 1 hour. From the jump off area after the registration, you’ll need to take a guide going to the Peak, which is a mandatory from the Dalaguete Tourism Office, even if you have already been to the Peak.

Note: 

There’s also a trail from Sohoton, Badian going to Kandungaw Peak, which I haven’t tried it yet. Maybe soon on my next visit, we might meet each other, so don’t forget to smile and say hi.  

 

TRAVEL TIPS 

  • Drinking water is not readily available. Hence, I advise you to bring adequate drinking water.
  • I suggest you bring your umbrella or apply your sunscreen on your skin for the clinging heat of the sun could be really that bad.
  • Expect heavy fogs anytime, especially during the rainy season for the month of June to December.
  • If you’re planning to camp here, I would suggest that you should go here as early as 4:00 PM or earlier than that cause the camping  site has a small space.
  • Going back directly to the Dalaguete National Highway will cost PHP 150.00 per person. Hence, I suggest that you only take the motorcycle going to the
  • Mantalongon Market for only PHP 50.00 then from the Market, take another Motorcycle going to Dalaguete National Highway for only PHP 50.00. In this way, you’ll save PHP 50.00.
  • Please, be always kind to nature, don’t break its innate beauty.
    We can’t predict the weather, so you better bring your dry bag to put all your gadgets and camera when it rains.
  • If you wish to have your snacks or meal at the summit, please take responsibility of your garbage, make sure to bring them all with you and don’t leave your garbage there.
  • Please remember to leave no trace behind. Take full care of our mother nature. Just enjoy and be responsible enough.

 

NOTE: 

This is part of our 2 days and 1 night trip, visiting the 3 Peaks in Dalaguete, Cebu. The Casino Peak, Osmeña Peak and Kandungaw Peak.

 

POSSIBLE TRAVEL EXPENSES 

  • Fare from Cebu to Dalaguete – Php 120.00
  • Fare from Highway Dalaguete to Mantalongon Market – Php 50.00
  • Mantalongon Market to the jump off area of Kandungaw Peak – Php 50.00
  • Kandungaw Peak Entrance Fee – Php 30.00
  • Kandungaw Peak Camping Tent Space fee – Php 50.00
  • Kandungaw Peak to Mantalungon Market – Php 50.00
  • Mantalongon Market to Dalaguete National Highway – Php 50.00
  • Dalaguete to Cebu City – Php 120.00
  • Food and water for 2 days and 1 night – Php 450.00

TOTAL EXPENSES – Php 970.00

 

SAMPLE ITINERARY FOR THE WHOLE TRIP

DAY 1 

  • 03:00 AM – Meet up at the South Bus Terminal
  • 03:30 AM – Depart for Dalaguete
  • 06:30 AM – ETA Dalaguete
  • 06:40 AM – Breakfast
  • 08:00 AM – Depart for Mantalungon Market
  • 08:30 AM – ETA Mantalongon Market
  • 08:40 AM – Buying some food
  • 09:00 AM – Hike going to Casino Peak
  • 11:00 AM – ETA Casino Peak
  • 11:10 AM – Enjoying the Peak (Picture taking)
  • 12:30 PM – Hike going to Osmeña Peak
  • 02:00 PM – ETA Osmeña Peak
  • 02:10 PM – Rest (Picture taking)
  • 03:00 PM – Hike going to Mantalungon Market
  • 04:00 PM – ETA Mantalungon Market
  • 04:10 PM – Having our Late Lunch
  • 04:30 PM – Depart for Kandungaw Peak Jump off area
  • 05:00 PM – ETA Kandungaw Peak jump off area (Registration and paying of fees)
  • 05:10 PM – Hike going to Kandungaw Peak
  • 06:00 PM – ETA – Kandungaw Peak
  • 06:10 PM – Setting up the camping tent.
  • 07:30 PM – Dinner
  • 08:30 PM – Social (Camping game)
  • 10:00 PM – Star Gazing
  • 11:00 PM – Rest time

DAY 2 

  • 07:00 AM – Wake Up Call
  • 07:30 AM – Prepare for breakfast
  • 08:30 AM – Breakfast
  • 09:30 AM – Cleaning the Camping site
  • 10:30 AM – Exploring Kandungaw Peak (Picture Taking)
  • 12:00 PM – Hike going to the jump off area
  • 12:40 PM – ETA Kandungaw Peak Jump Off area (Rest & snack time)
  • 01:00 PM – Depart for Sergio’s Farm and Maloray Rice Terraces
  • 01:10 PM – ETA Maloray Rice Terraces
  • 01:30 PM – Depart for Mantalungon Market
  • 02:00 PM – ETA Mantalungon Market (Late Lunch and rest)
  • 02:30 PM Depart for Dalaguete National Highway
  • 03:00 PM ETA Dalaguete National Highway
  • 03:30 PM – Depart for Cebu City
  • 06:30 PM – ETA Cebu City
  • 07:30 PM – Home sweet home.

SPECIAL THANKS 

I would like to thank Master Arnold of Wandering Soul Scamper for the invitation and for planning the whole trip. To John Jay of Wandering Feet PH, James of ASANASADSIJAMES, Sean of His Hidden Letters, Vanessa and RJ. Thank you so much guys for the fun filled adventure that I have experienced together with you all. See you all on our next adventure again!

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51 thoughts on “Kandungaw Peak: A Picture-Perfect PEAK That Challenges Those That Have A FEAR Of Heights

  1. That must be the smallest camping site I have ever seen in my life! It almost feels that 4 tents are already too much for it. I would love to do this hike up to the point where you climb to the peak. I love hiking but I am terrified of heights and my knees would probably melt just by looking at that peak. The views from up there are gorgeous though!

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  2. It is long since I have gone on a trek like this. The idea of preparing food at the destination is so thrilling. I may end up trekking just for that 😛 Of course the views are an added attraction. Thanks for the detailed break up in terms of timings, really helps to plan out.

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  3. Whoa! You rather need a real nerve to be standing there! I totally know the exuberance you feel! To be standing at a peak, I really feel so so bad that I don’t have wings to fly!!! The camping site is indeed small!

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  4. Oh gosh! I am afraid to look down from great heights! But looking at your photos makes me want to conquer my fears. You are indeed inspiring, You do not just tell a story or share your amazing journeys, you make us all crave to satisfy the “wanderlust” spirit inside us – me in particular! Thanks for always taking us to the peak!

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  5. In my younger days, I love climbing heights. I feel so superior or mighty when I conquer heights. But now I already a senior citizen, 65 years old, I won’t dare to climb any heights anymore. – Gil Camporazo

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  6. I have no phobia of heights, but one look at this peak has made me doubt… I find the camping place really cluttered up and it’s great you guys didn’t have to face any rain, and the difficulty would’ve been undefinable… Great pics btw 🙂

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  7. I love hiking, especially to high altitude, mainly due to the fact that I am completely afraid of height. Going up would be fine, but when you get to the top and your heart starts racing, your hand starts sweating and your knee becomes jelly, I love that rush. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to see that view from atop that cliff. It’s gorgeous! There seems to be so many hiking/backwood camping opportunities in the Philippines that I cannot wait to go next year! You’ve just made me even more excited 🙂

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  8. Whoa. I don’t think I can make it to the peak. The cliff has a beautiful view but then it’s so scary especially when looking down. Good thing it didn’t rain a lot because it will be more difficult to hike then.

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  9. Looks like great practice as a pre-climb. And the top just looks sooo serene. I could imagine myself, just letting the time slip by as I sit there and look out into the view.

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  10. I honestly didn’t get that opening statement. Anyhow it looks like a beautiful mountain to climb and you can even camp, so cool! Just looking at the photos it really seemed like you guys had fun. And wow the Kadungaw Peak looks amazing. I’d probably take lots of photos too when I go there.

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  11. This is a breathtaking adventure. However, I have a fear of heights so it would take me a lot of courage to decide to even take a picture in the places you took your excellent photos. What is more, these stairs would definitely kill me, my legs just started to hurt. Nevertheless, I would undoubtedly recommend this trip to all the nature lovers.

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  12. The Kandungaw peak looks quite challenging and it must have been an exciting climb up. I loved the fact that you guys pitched tents and camped in this lovely place. Waking up in the morning in the midst of nature mus have been a great experience. The pictures are really stunning and capture the ethereal beauty of the place in full bloom.

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  13. wow.. those stiff assaults reminds me of the one in Mt Batulao… i think i am one of those people you can consider having that fear of heights…but as what the title suggests, this mountain could be a game changer for us.. Your post made it sound so manageable yet the pictures tells another story haha
    thanks for sharing us this great adventure Lai.. as usual.. amazing photos and amazing content! Cheers!

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  14. OMG!! The views from top are breathtaking and the sea of clouds or fog is making that place look heavenly. I completely enjoyed reading your post and the pictures are awesome. I too wanna go for a trek to some serene cold place now

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  15. This is exactly the place for me. I have a big fear of heights. So much so that I can’t step on the side of a high rise building, even if there is a secure railing. And I really want to overcome this fear.

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  16. Such a beauty. The peak is so beautiful, I doubt if I could have a photo of myself there. I have fear of the heights. I used to climb with my boys too. But when our baby arrived last 2015, Im left at home most of the time.

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  17. Such a spectacular view of the peak! The first picture looked very terrifying. One of the most important things in an adventure is to have a company that know how to entertain. Just like your guide. It’s nice that he’s equipped with a lot of stories and joke for his clients to listen to. Being entertained would lead you to forget the tiring paths you need to go through in order to go to the destination.

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  18. That first photo is superb! I don’t know how you nailed it but really, that’s something I cannot do. Haha! I love how you wrote this post, very personal yet informative. I hope I can visit Kandungaw Peak soon. That view of the mountains is really awesome 🙂

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  19. Hell yes! I am up for this one. Such a green trek up and with amazing views. No doubt on that one. Candongao Peak does seem scary with the pics you have shared but I suppose it has a broad enough base – or does it not?

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  20. Wow, going up so high on such steep slopes is really quite a challenge! Congratulations for being able to reach the summit! It really must be quite an exhilarating experience, conquering the trail and then being rewarded with that gorgeous vista at the top. Priceless. 🙂

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  21. Hiking is one of those things that just makes life better. The air, the effort and then waking up in an isolated beautiful place to have breakfast over the valleys. There is nothing like it.

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  22. Sea of fogs! That’s quite funny for me but cute! haha I like the view from above. It’s so peaceful and green! It’s been a while since I trek and why I didn’t go here when I went to Cebu? hmm.. maybe next time!xx

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  23. Awesome challenge! I am amazed with your 1st photo of this sharing here. I live the photo so much & wish I have the courage to post for the same in the future when I traveling there. I scared of height. Sigh…very beautiful scenery up at peak. Must visit! Cheers, SiennyLovesDrawing

    Like

  24. Wow, such an amazing race. I’ve been to Cebu but haven’t heard about this trail. I am challenge to do something like this soon.

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  25. Maganda ung lugar grabe! isa lang ang napansin kong kakaiba, ung pwesto ng tents nyo parang alanganin? hahaha saka parang mabato? dba masakit sa likod un?

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  26. Wow wow wow!!! Okay, let me begin by commenting on how lovely the photos are! Breath-taking, lush with different shades of green, and very serene. You’re so lucky to have been able to visit such an amazing place. Dungaw also means the same I think in Bicolano, hehe, so it’s a very apt name for it. I don’t fear heights, but then again, I’ve never been placed in a situation like this, where there are no fences or safety nets to catch your fall. You’re also always very detailed with your posts, really lessening a traveler’s anxiety in terms of what to expect and how much they might be spending. Thank you!

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  27. That looks so scary!!!! Want to try it out, but knowing me, my knees would probably be knocking while I’m posing there hahaha

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  28. Trekking seems like a great activity to do with friends because it can also be a bonding experience. The view of the peaceful nature around while walking seems worth it.

    ❀ Grace ❀

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  29. That peak looks totally scary! But I don’t mind. I haven’t climbed mountains in awhile and this post makes me want to plan a weekend hike with my friends. Looks like you really had a good time and I seldom see people hike mountains that aren’t that famous so it’s nice to know you’re exploring unexplored places.

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  30. Truly love the photo on the peak. I doubt if I could have the same photo should I climb. Looking down makes me want to vomit. I often dreamt of falling from the stairs when I was young and that didnt help me master my fear of the heights.

    Used to climb as well with my boys. Kinda confident because husband is just around to give help. But with two babies now, I hope to.find time again.

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  31. Definitely takes a lot of courage to do that. So far I was always afraid to climb such peaks however one day I will manage, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. However I’m sure that one day Ill find enough courage to give it a go!I bet that the relief you feel after you manage to do it makes it all worth it!

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