History of Mountaineering
Philippine Mountains
Environmental Awareness
Climb Ethics
Climb Organization
Climb Preparation
 ¤ Physical and Mental Preparation
 ¤ Gears and Equipment
 ¤ Meal Planning
 ¤ Backpack Loading
Climb Proper
 ¤ Trail Movement
 ¤ Camp Management
Other Mountaineering Knowledge and Skills
 ¤ Land Navigation
 ¤ Ropemanship
 ¤ Rock Climbing
 ¤ High Altitude Climbing
Prevention, First Aid and Emergency Care
 ¤ Sequence of actions for adult Basic Life Support
Group Scribe's Report Form
Gear and Equipment Checklist
Physical Fitness Assessment Form
Sample BMC Final Exam
Sample First Aid Final Exam

AMCI Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC) 2002

Climb Preparation

The "AMCI Way" of mountaineering takes on a wholistic approach to the sport, that is, by identifying, defining, and giving importance to every element that comprises mountain climbing.

Possessing the necessary skills and strength, knowing the route and intended campsites, knowing the weather, bringing appropriate supplies and gears, and having firm environmental ethics—an AMCI mountaineer is prepared to deal with any situation.

"Prepare for the worst. Hope for the best."


It is very important to get into shape so that your stay in the outdoors will be safe, agile, and enjoyable. By being physically prepared, we avoid harming ourselves with undue exertion. Further advantage of climbing with better physical ease is that there will be more time to appreciate the beauty of nature instead of being preoccupied with exhaustion for most of the trip.

STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE: these are the two components of a balanced body-conditioning program.

Strength is the physical power, as in lifting one’s self vertically. The most common strength training is lifting weights.

Endurance is the ability to perform physically for long periods of time without becoming exhausted. Also referred to as aerobic fitness, this is most important in backpacking. Running, stairs climbing, hiking, and cycling guarantee a high-sustained heart rate. These activities also train muscles that are taxed most heavily on the trail.


As muscles are contracted over and over again, some actual shortening of the muscles take place which can lead to tears and other injuries. During workouts, it is important for each trainee to do perform warm-up and cool-down exercises to prevent injuries.

Warm-up exercises prepare the body for action. Body temperature needs to be raised to make the muscles more pliable, release joint fluid, allow for a gradual rise in the blood pressure and heart rate, and quicken nerve transmission.

The right way to warm up is to do low intensity full body movement similar to your desired exercise (e.g. for running: walking or light jogging) for about 10 minutes. This increases your body temperature gradually and specifically "rehearses" the body for the more vigorous movement coming.

Cool-down exercises consisting of stretching and calisthenics should also be done at the end of the workout.

Static stretching (e.g. neck rolls, ankle circles) is best done immediately after exercise when body temperature is at its peak.


Carbohydrates, such as starches and sugars, are used primarily as fuels for energy. It is important that you load up on carbohydrates two or three days before a climb. This is what we call carbo-loading.

You must get adequate rest or sleep before a climb. A well-rested mind and body will keep you quick witted and on your toes


Skills and techniques in backpacking, trail movement, ropemanship, rappelling, map and compass works, basic first aid and life support, camp management, etc. are essentials in mountaineering.

Continue to learn new techniques or brush up on old ones by taking classes offered by hiking clubs, outdoor gear stores, and college recreation programs. Read about skills in magazines and books, and talk to others in the field. Above all, get out to the field and practice.




A good-quality three-season tent is recommended for Philippine mountains. The design may be tunnel, hybrid, or hub that requires only two or three poles and weighs from 3 to just over 7 pounds. Its canopy is good for fair weather while the rain fly and vestibule are suitable for rainy weather.

Four-season tents such as the four- or five-poled domed tents are sturdier and heavier and are designed primarily for winter.


Butane stove.

Butane stove is recommended for its low-fuss, low-maintenance feature. However, stoves using normal butane have poor heat output in cold weather. Butane stoves work only if their cartridges are warm enough.

The Camping Gaz Bleuet 206, the most common butane stove model, uses cartridges containing a mixture of butane and propane. The combined fuel works much better than normal butane in severe cold.

MSR and other manufacturers offer stoves that burn isobutane. These stoves also work better in the cold than normal butane.

High altitude, with its lower pressure, further increases the output of butane stoves and its variants compared to their performance at sea level.

White-gas stoves.

The main advantage of white-gas stoves is high heat output in all conditions. White gas, or naphtha, also costs lower than butane cartridges.

The disadvantages of white-gas stoves are the inconvenience of lighting them, the racket they produce when they’re burning, and the greater amount of maintenance they require. Spillage of volatile fuel occurs likely.

Cooking Utensils.

For big groups, one may carry a large lightweight aluminum pot (e.g. old rice-cooker pot) for large amounts of cooking.

Easy-cooking and easy-cleaning can be done by using Teflon pots and pans.

Small aluminum or stainless steel pots and pans are versatile, hardier cooking utensils.

First Aid Kit.

Basic supplies should include the following:

  • analgesic tablets
  • anti-diarrheal tablets
  • water-cleaning tablets
  • wound antiseptic
  • bandages and adhesive plasters

You may include other first-aid treatments depending on your anticipations towards your group and the mountain you are going to climb.

Repair Kit.

Pole patch, ripstop tape, stove parts, adhesives, sewing kit, etc.

Utility Rope.

The rope may be hauser or kermantle type between 8 to 12 meters long and about 8 mm in diameter.


The trowel should be light, collapsible, and sturdy.


Any bolo of good sharpness is enough for ordinary mountaineering purpose.

Map and Compass.

A topographic map (scale of 1:25,0000 or 1:50,0000) of the relevant area can be purchased at the NAMRIA office in Fort Bonifacio or in Binondo.

For mountaineering, the suggested compass is the baseplate compass which is more convenient to use with a map.


The altimeter translates atmospheric pressure into altitude readings. It can also be used for weather forecasting.



The insulating property of clothing comes primarily from trapped air. Several thin layers of clothing are warmer than one thick layer because they trap air in between the layers, as well as within the layers themselves.

Layering gives you the flexibility to fine-tune the amount of clothing you’re wearing to match your heat output and the current temperature exactly.

We must keep ourselves warm, dry, and comfortable in any weather condition.

In every climb, regardless of season or terrain, you must bring the following items as your CORE CLOTHING:

  1. Base Layer (clothing next to skin)
    • synthetic, mid-weight, long underwear (top and bottom)
    • synthetic or wool gloves
  2. Insulation Layer (minimizes conductive heat loss)
    • fleece jacket / wool sweater
    • fleece pants
  3. Shell Layer (shield from rain and wind)
    • poncho or waterproof/windproof/breathable suit

In our mountains, this layering is especially applicable at high-altitude campsites when night falls and the temperature drastically drops due to strong winds and heavy mist or rain.

The wisdom of synthetics:

  1. they retain their resiliency and insulating capacity when wet
  2. they draw moisture away from skin
  3. they absorb very little water and dry fast
  4. they are more abrasion-resistant than natural fibers, so they last longer

The folly of cotton:

  1. loses resiliency and springiness when it gets wet
  2. when wet, it loses air pockets that provide insulation and conducts much heat from your body when clung against the skin
  3. water evaporates directly off your skin, increasing frigidity


For midsummer hikes, you may wear the following:

  1. short-sleeved t-shirt (Cotton provides cool comfort. When already soaked, alternate it with a synthetic shirt while you let it dry or when the weather gets cold and wet)
  2. lightweight, long-sleeved shirt for sun protection
  3. hiking shorts and/or pants


For cold-weather trekking, wear synthetic clothes. When the weather gets wet and cold, you may wear a raincoat or poncho to provide you insulation, especially during rest stops. However, your body temperature increases as your body activity heightens until insulation is no longer necessary. In this case, we must "peel down" or decrease our clothing layers to adjust to our body temperature and that of the surrounding. This way we avoid exhaustion due to too much heat produced by our body.


In the mountains, your accessories often mean the difference between comfort and misery. More importantly, they sometimes represent the narrow margin between safety and injury.

T-shirts. Look for synthetic, loose-fitting, short-sleeved shirts for maximum ventilation.

Undies. Wear synthetics—polypropylene or polyester. To minimize friction and chafing, wear snug-fitting briefs with flat, inconspicuous seams.

Bras. Wear synthetic sport tops. Watch out for seams and clips on adjustable straps because these will chafe when caught under a packframe or shoulder straps. Avoid cotton bras.

Caps and Hats.

Broad brimmed hats or caps with tails or wrap-around capes that shield your ears and neck protect you from glare and UV exposure.

Sunglasses. Cheap shades will do you more harm than good. Your shades should be able to block 97 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.

Bandannas. Most of the time, the only swatch of cotton in your pack should be a bandanna, which is useful from cleaning shades to drying dishes to providing a stream-soaked cooling headwrap on a hot day.

Gaiters. Pebbles, burrs, thorns, mud, ticks, and rainwater are few of the hazards that can batter and bedevil your feet and shins on a typical trail day. To ward off these annoyances, invest in a tough pair of ankle-high, or better yet, calf-high gaiters.

Sandals. Sandals lets your feet breathe from the confines of your trekking shoes. You may wear this at the campsite or as an emergency footwear when your trekking shoes gives in during a climb.

Balaclavas. Much of your body heat escapes through your head. A balaclava protects not only your head but also your cheeks, chin, and neck. This form-fitting hood serves smartly as an all season base-layer.

Gloves. Warm and nimble fingers are critical in performing personal or camp tasks. Gloves offer dexterity and excellent insulation for three-season use.

Sleeping Bag. This should be light and compact and packed inside a waterproof container.

Toiletries. Toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash, soap, toilet paper, and other personal effects should be kept in a waterproof container.

Flashlight and Extra Batteries. Headlamps are preferred over ordinary handheld flashlights. Extra batteries are absolute necessities especially during multi-day climbs.

Mess Kit. The kit should include a plate, spoon, fork, and cup. A medium-sized, flat, partitioned, plastic container with a lid is ideal. Pack lunches can be easily stored in such containers.

Whistle. A good and reliable whistle for signaling purpose is essential.

Earth Pad.

The earth pad can be used as a sleeping mat. It should be large enough to cover the whole upper body as shield from the cold ground.

It can also be used as a windbreaker during cooking.

An earth pad can be used as a lining for your backpack. It protects your gears and equipment especially when it is loaded to and offloaded from vehicles.

Sewing Kit. The kit should contain threads, needles (of different sizes and uses) and safety pins. For emergency repairs of trekking shoes, use dental floss since it is stronger than ordinary threads.

Plastic Bags and Rubber Bands.

Bring different sizes of plastic bags for storing and waterproofing various gears and for collecting trash. Include a large durable plastic bag for covering the pack at the campsite, or for sheltering the body during bivouacs.

Rubber bands are used to seal plastic bags, to keep jackets and other stuffs in a tight bundle.

Small Notebook and Pen. These items are for documenting the climb.

Identification Card. Always bring at least one ID.


  • All group members must participate in planning the menu for the climb.
  • Consider the following in planning the menu
    • spoilage rate of food
    • availability of water
    • cooking/preparation time
    • weight and bulk
    • preferences/food restrictions of each group member
  • Follow your menu.
  • Plan carefully the quantity of food to avoid excess and unnecessary load during a climb
  • Always bring personal emergency foods.

Overnight Climbs. Weight nor bulk is not much of a concern. Since you’d probably eat breakfast before you start and dinner after you get out of the mountains, you need to plan only four meals. The eyeball method of assessing quantities will work just fine for a two-day climb.

Multi-Day Climbs. Pay attention to the quantity of foods to bring. The eyeball method leads to considerable errors. The eyeball-method leads to considerable errors in estimating quantity.


  • ½ to ¾ kilo of rice is enough for 6 persons per meal. The amount of rice to bring is approximately:

[ 1/2 to ¾ K rice x (# of group members/6) x # of meals to be prepared ] + 1

  • Assign only one person to buy the rice. This way, we avoid mixing different varieties of rice.
  • Package rice by ½ K portions so that it can be distributed among the members of the group.


The amount of fuel you need depends on the efficiency of your stove, the kind of food you are cooking, the wind speed, the altitude and the temperature. Most stove manuals give running time on a tankfull of fuel. Add up to the amount of cooking time you anticipate, taking into account that food easily takes 20% longer to cook over 10,000 feet than it does at sea level, then give yourself 25% safety margin. Don’t forget to add in the time it takes water to come to a boil as well as the actual cooking time.

Bring plenty of fuel on your first few trips with a new stove and log the amount you actually burn. You’ll soon know how much you need.


Lunch has to be low-fuss and yet filling. The best strategy is to think of lunch as a process, not an occasion. View it as a series of snacks and mini-meals spanning the period between breakfast and dinner, not as a single big meal at midday.

This way, you have also satisfied your backpacking body’s need to snack every hour or hour-and-a-half preferably in carbohydrates.

Furthermore, laborious cooking will not hamper trail movement and view appreciation.

However, if you want to have a single lunch occasion, cook your lunch together with breakfast. You may then have your pack lunch along the trail.


(ask Jedas)


(ask Jedas re practical menu)



The key to enjoying backpacking is to pare down load as much as possible. Aim for no more than 40% of your body weight; less is always better. Get in the habit of weighing gear on a bathroom scale and knowing approximately how much all your gadgets and gizmos weigh. Learn to leave behind all unnecessary gizmos.

Your gear should be lightweight, yet durable and effective. This will save you weight and space and provide you maximum comfort during a climb.


General guidelines:

  1. Always pack the items you are least likely to need during the day at the bottom, then continue to stow items in ascending order of daytime utility.
  2. For walking on decent trails, dense and heavy gears, such as tent or water bottles, should be put high in your pack and as close to your spine as possible. This allows you a more comfortable, upright posture, because the weight is balanced over your hips. Women, who naturally have lower center gravity, may want to experiment with packing heavy items more toward the middle of the back.
  3. For off-trail scrambling, you still want the heaviest item close to your spine but the weight will be a little lower to make you less top-heavy.
  4. All items should be stowed inside stuff sacks or plastic bags to prevent them form being soaked when unpacking during heavy rains.
  5. The following items should always be at your fingertips, in side pockets or a small accessory pouch that attaches to your hipbelt or shoulder strap: sunscreen, sunglasses, munchies, map and compass, and water.
  6. Your first aid kit should also be relatively easy to get to in an emergency. A widget bag should include a headlamp, repair kit, notepad, pen, all your personal hygiene stuff, and any other odd or loose items. Keep these in the top pocket of your pack where it is easy to reach.
  7. Kitchen bag: Includes pots, stove, and lighter. pack your stove in a protective cassette or sack.
  8. Clothing bag. Roll clothes into tight tubes.
  9. Food bag. Pack a couple of extra plastic or zip-lock bags for garbage and leftovers.
  10. Toilet paper. Store in a zip-lock bag along with a plastic trowel in an outside pocket so you can grab them when the urge hits.
  11. Stove fuel: Store in two zip-lock bags away from food, clothing, and anything else you’d hate to have soaked in gas.
  12. Sleeping bag: Wrap your bag in a heavy-duty plastic garbage bag.
  13. Raingear. Tuck under the top lid for easy access.


  1. Loosen all compression straps before you start loading. Pack stuff sacks tightly, making two or three side by side columns against the frame to keep the profile thin and close to your back. When finished packing, pull down hard on all the straps for a compact load.
  2. Only totally leakproof water bottles are allowed inside your pack. Bike bottles are out.
  3. Avoid hanging small items off your pack, especially when bushwhacking.

PROPER LIFTING: (paste illustration ?)

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