Mayon Volcano

philippines

Mount Mayon is the pride of the Philippines. 

Mayon is an active stratovolcano and is renowned as the “perfect cone” because of its symmetric conical shape. The local folklore says it is named after a legendary heroine – Daragang Magayon – who committed suicide (in a very Romeo & Juliet plot twist) at the site where Mayon rose out of the ground.

Country
philippines
Height
2,463 m (8,081 ft)
Climbing Height
1,600 m (5,250 ft)
Rank
  • The Philippines' most conical volcano

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Natural Form and History

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - History

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Geological history

The Mayon volcano is the most active volcano in the Philippines. It rises high above the Albay Gulf to a height of 2462m with it’s classic, symmetrical profile. This perfect conical shape is the result of a structurally simple volcano where eruptions have occurred from a single central conduit. Over fifty eruptions have been recorded at Mayon's since 1616. Four in the last decade alone. These have typically included powerful explosive activity with pyroclastic flows, mudflows, and lava flows that descended to the lower flanks of the volcano. Eruptions in 2000, 2006, 2009, 2014, and 2018 forced thousands of people from nearby villages to evacuate. Its most destructive eruption was in 1814 when the town of Cagsawa was buried and approximately 1,200 people were killed.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Modern climbing history

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Current popularity as a climbing destination

The Mayon Volcano sits in a popular part of the Philippines to visit. There are many other activities around the mountain such as nature parks, ATV tours and the ruins of Cagsawa town. So there is a regular flow of local visitors tempted to climb the mountain too. It is popular because of the stunning beauty of the mountain itself and the unique scenery from its slopes.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Overview of the Trail

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Overall Assessment

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Summary of trail accessibility

Mount Mayon is a difficult climb. You will need to be prepared to camp on the mountain for between 1 and 3 nights. Going gets tough near the summit at around 2195m because the ascent turns to 40-degrees on loose volcanic cinder and lava sand.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Trail options

Number of options
2
Summary

❖ Go from the Legaspi market to Buyahan via bus (Jeepney, in the local vernacular) ❖ From Buyahan, its a 2.5 to 3 hours climb to Camp 1, which is at about 800m height. ❖ From Camp 1, it's another 4-hour climb to Camp 2 at 1800m where you spend the night. Camp 2 is special because of the lava paths that you will find here. Travellers can also see a magnificent view of the entire Legazpi City and the ocean from Camp 2. Climbing higher than camp 2 is not advisable for beginners. ❖ It takes 4 hours from Camp 2 to the summit. The last 250m will be a scramble through loose stones and steep rocks. Climbers are advised to be roped at this stage of the ascent. It will take a while longer to explore the crater, which might require another night on the mountain.

❖ The trail starts at the Mayon Skyline Hotel at 762m, which is also home to the Philippines Institute of Vulcanology & Seismology ❖ The trail passes through grasslands which transition into rocky slopes 1921 m - a great place to setup camp (near enough to the summit, and yet far enough from poisonous fumes which can sometimes can come down the slopes of the mountain given a sudden change in wind direction) ❖ The next stage will be scrambling over rocks and boulders. Climbers will reach a cliff system at 2195 m. From here to the summit it will be a difficult 40-degree ascent on loose volcanic cinder and lava sand. ❖ It is advisable for climbers to be roped up on the last part.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Most popular trail

The safest and easiest trail is the Buang Trail - the North-West Approach

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Standard itinerary

Number of days
2.5
Summary

The only way is up! So taking the Northwest route gets you as high as possible before legging it. It should only take you 2.5 days, but you could probably do it in less if you're really gunning it.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Day 1

Day 1
0600 – Final check of supplies and equipment, and breakfast
0700 – Depart from the Philippines Institute of Vulcanology & Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Station – ideally, you will have registered your ascent there – and head through tropical rainforests.
0900 – Reach fields of talahib grass, and keep pushing through.
1300 – Arrive at Buang Gully, and explore the surreal landscape.
1315 – Have lunch, and then proceed up the gulley.
1500 – Reach the transition line at around 1,920 m, pitch camp, taking the rest of the afternoon and evening resting for the final ascent

DAY 2
0600 – Breakfast.
0700 – Start scrambling up the rocks to reach cliffs girdling Mayon.
0900 – Scale cliff at around 2,210 m.
1000 – Reach the summit, and take in the scene.
1130 – Begin descent back to the camp.
1300 – Take lunch somewhere convenient.
1500 – Reach camp, rest and recoup

DAY 3
0600 – Breakfast.
0700 – Begin descent through Buang Gully, talahib grasses, and forests
1100 – Get back to the PHIVOLCS Station and report arrival.
1200 – Take lunch at resthouse before heading home

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Climbing Difficulty

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Terrain

Number of distinct sections
3
Summary

The route takes you through 3 distinct section to the summit - forests, grasses, rocky gulleys - all of which have their own unique environments to enjoy.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Forests
From the road onwards, there is at least a couple of kilometres of hiking through forests, still with steep slopes, before the trees thin out.
Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Talahib Grasses
These leaning grasses, which sit about waist height, can be sharp to the touch, but oh-so-pretty in a gusty breeze.
Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Rocky gulleys
Mud, dust, and lavabeds are aplenty on this, the Philippines' most active, volcano. Your shoes will get dirty, and so will your hands as you find yourself increasingly propping yourself up with them as you near the summit. The final stretch gets to a 40-degree bank, and will test your already weary legs. Getting down has its own fun.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Weather

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Overview of climate

The climate of Mayon is generally tropical and rainy and rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year. Heavy rains, floods and landslides are relatively common during the winter month so it is recommended to not climb during these times. The temperate on Mayon depends on the time of year with lows of about 9°C and highs of around 20°C. Strong winds are common at higher altitudes and at the peaks, especially when storms roll in from the Pacific.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Best time to climb

The best time is during the dry season from March untill May.

The Rainy season, the wettest part of the year from November to January, is much more dangerous because of heavy rains and potential flash floods.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Common weather challenges
  • Rain: It can rain almost daily, even during the summer months. Slippery trails and stones are aplenty on the mountain after rainfall.
  • Wind: Wind-speeds become stronger at the higher altitudes.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Safety tips

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Climbing safety

Climbers also need to be careful of poisonous fumes emitted by the volcano at the summit.

The steep upper reaches of the mountain present a falling hazard. Take your time, consider tethering each other together, and wear the right footwear for the job.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Personal safety

Not applicable

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Safety for women travelers

There are no special challenges for women travellers on Mayon.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Recommended equipment

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Footwear
  • Reliable hiking boots
Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Clothing
  • Raincoat and/or Windbreaker
  • Waterproof trousers (to stay extra dry in the wet season)
  • Thermals (if its chilly)
Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Bags
  • Waterproof backpack
  • Camera bag (optional)
Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Weather protection
  • Rain coat
  • A sun hat
  • A warm layer (for higher altitudes)
  • Sun glasses
Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Climbing support
  • Hiking poles (optional)
Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Navigation tools
  • Headlamp / flashlight for when you’re camping out
Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Medical equipment
  • Basic first-aid kit (for longer hikes)
Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Food
  • Water
  • Energy drinks
  • Lunches & dinners
  • Dry food items (chocolates bars, energy bars, etc.)
Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Hygene sanitation
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Tissues
  • Tooth brush and tooth paste (for overnight stays)
  • Plastic bags to store garbage (please don’t litter)
Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Connectivity
  • Mobile phone
  • Portable charger
Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Documents
  • Identification
  • Permit (if required – please check at the Department of Tourism)

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Support facilities

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Resting stops and facilities

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Rest stops

There are no designated rest-stops on the Northwest approach, but there are level places where you can rest and camp

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Base camp

The edge of the grassy area, before it heads into the rocky gulleys, is the best place to make camp – close enough to summit in the morning, but far enough in case there is a change in wind that could bring nasty gasses down from the caldera.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Guides and porters

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Do you need a guide?

Climbing the mountain requires explicit permission from the local authorities who may require you to hire a guide.

Note: The mountain may even be closed off due to volcanic activity, and skipping these formalities may mean you miss some important safety information.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - How to find a guide?

Inquire at the Department of Tourism, or find one of the many service providers online.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Tips while working with guides

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Porters

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Do you need a porter?

If you’re not up for carrying all your equipment, you may wish to hire a porter.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - How to find a porter?

Porters can be arranged upon request through your guide, or your tour provider.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Tips while working with porters

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Food & water

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - At the start of the hike

Grab some food on the way in, or at the Mayon Skyline hotel.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - During the hike, along the trail

There will not be opportunities to buy food on the hike. You should being all that you need with you.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - During the hike, at base camp

Not available.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Network connectivity

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Phone and data (3G) connectivity

You should have opportunities to get mobile reception on certain parts of the hike.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Accessibility

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Getting there

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Nearest airport
Legazpi City Domestic Airport
Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - From the airport to the starting point

Legazpi City Airport is right at the foot of the Mayon Volcano, but on the Southeastern side. Although a Jeepney (local bus) will get you most of the way to the starting point of either trail, a taxi will take you exactly to where you need to get to.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Climbing permits

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Is a permit needed?
Yes. Whether or not a specific permit is needed, it is necessary to check in with the local authorities to get the latest about the volcanic activity and risks before climbing.
Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - How to get a permit?

Check in with the local Department of Tourism.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Special Tips

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - For amateur climbers

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - For advanced climbers

Although this climb isn’t going to present technical challenges, you can always try to do it faster than everyone else. Hardened vertical athletes could consider a 1 day ascent and return.

Climbing Mayon Volcano Philippines - Other Mountains in philippines

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