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Ascent of Mount Ngerchelchauus on 2019-01-02

Climber: Eric Gilbertson

Date:Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Ngerchelchauus
    Location:Palau
    Elevation:794 ft / 242 m

Ascent Trip Report

Jan 1 I slept in then flew out of Davao, Philippines in the evening to manila. I then took an overnight flight to Koror, Palau, arriving at 230am.

Jan 2 After picking up a rental car at Alamo I drove right on the ring road for about an hour. The road was in excellent condition. The only report I’d found of someone climbing the Palau highpoint was from 20 years ago and they needed all day on rough 4wd roads to get to the highpoint. Luckily that is no longer the case. I couldn’t find any good stealth campsites until I reached the turnoff road to mt ngerchelchuus.

There was a car parked halfway on the road and a big sign for mt ngerchelchuus conservation are. I drove past, a hundred feet up the gravel road until I was out of sight of the main road. By 4am I laid down in the back of the car and went to sleep.

I was awoken at 830am by the sun heating up the car. It wasn’t really enough sleep, and I tried to put a shirt over my face, but couldn’t get back to sleep. A car drove by me up the road to the highpoint but soon turned back around. They didn’t seem to care that I was sleeping there. Soon a group of 5 guys started mowing the lawn on the side of the road and I decided to officially wake up. I drove up the road a few hundred feet to a sign that said “no take/no unauthorized entry” and noticed the road quality deteriorated

significantly after that as it dropped down a steep loose slope. That was as far as a 2wd vehicle could make it. I could have walked from there but Matthew was flying in that evening and I decided to wait so we could make the climb together.


I drove back to the main road then continued counter clockwise down to koror. Interestingly most of the island appears to be thinly settled and densely forested with almost all of the population living in koror. In town I stopped at the visitors center and eventually arranged a tour to the famous jellyfish lake the next morning. For the rest if the afternoon I did a driving tour of the island. I saw the new capitol building in melekeok state, and it looks very similar to the us capitol building. I then drove to an old Japanese lighthouse on the north tip of the island with great panoramic views, and later found a beach in the West side to watch sunset.

At 9pm I picked Matthew up at the airport and drove again back up to the turnoff for Mt Ngerchelchuus. We parked the car at the no entry sign and continued on foot in the dark. Shortly after the sign the road became overgrown and deeply washed out. Only 4wd high clearance vehicles could make it. But it was no problem hiking. We ascended the steep muddy road and after a mile reached the summit. We were at first startled by a metal banging noise but it turned out to be a door flapping in the wind. There were multiple radio towers and small buildings on top but no people there.

A 6ft tall red and white wooden pole marked the highpoint and that’s where we took our pictures. In the distance we could see the brightly lit capitol building. I bet the view would have been great in the daylight. We soon headed back to the car. Matthew slept in the tent and I slept in the car. Unfortunately it rained all night and Matthew got soaked.

Jan 3 In the morning we drove to koror then took a boat out to the rock islands and swam in the jellyfish lake. It’s pretty amazing that there are thousands of harmless jellyfish in the small saltwater lake. There are supposedly also crocodiles but we didn’t see any. We slept in a hotel in koror that evening then flew out at 145am for our next destination, the highpoint of the federated states of Micronesia.

Link to full trip report and pictures.
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