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Ascent of Mount Lamlam on 2019-01-05

Climber: Eric Gilbertson

Date:Saturday, January 5, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Lamlam
    Location:Guam
    Elevation:1332 ft / 405 m

Ascent Trip Report

January 5, 2019

We flew out of Pohnpei, Micronesia at 3:30pm starting the long journey back to the US after climbing a bunch of highpoints in the Pacific. It just so happened that the quickest flight back to Seattle for me involved a 13 hour night layover in Guam. I was prioritizing country highpoints on this trip, but had to take advantage of the opportunity to go tag the Guam highpoint as well.

We landed at 6pm in Guam and my next flight didn’t leave until 7am the next morning. So we picked up a rental car, dropped off some gear at a hotel, and started driving to Mt Lamlam. (Usually we like to stealth camp, but figured for the last night of the trip before a long-haul flight back to the US it would be nice to the other passengers if we could take showers beforehand.)

It was only a 30 minute drive to the trailhead taking the main road counter clockwise around the island. The sun had long since set, but we figured it wouldn’t be to hard to hike Lamlam in the dark. We had just completed a difficult night jungle bushwhack in the rain to hit the highpoint of the Federated States of Micronesia the previous night and that morning, and Lamlam had a trail most of the way so should be much easier.

We crossed the road from the parking lot and quickly hiked up the muddy but wide trail through the grass up to a large plateau. I think the trail is actually an old overgrown road. Our uncle actually worked in Guam in the 1970s and remembered driving up that road, though it’s not recognizable anymore. At the crest of the plateau the main trail turned right and the route to Lamlam turned left.

The smaller trail passed through tall grass, and we had to often avoid large cane toads in front of us. Many side trails, possibly deer paths, branched off but Matthew expertly led the way on the main path, making good use of a GPS track that Nate B had just uploaded on Peakbagger a few weeks earlier.

We eventually scrambled up a short section and arrived at a big concrete structure with an American flag waving on top. Luckily we had done our homework and knew this was the false summit, though I think most hikers may consider it far enough to hike. It was impossible to tell in the dark, but a point about 300 yards farther along the ridge is supposedly the true highpoint of Guam.

From the concrete structure we scrambled down some rocks then started bushwhacking along the ridge. The terrain was mostly pretty open compared to our jungle bushwhack that morning, and we occasionally saw flagging on trees and an open route. However, the going was slow because the rocks were very sharp with gaps in between that made it easy to trip. The rocks reminded me a lot of the tsingy in Madagascar, which are very sharp rocks that are difficult to cross.

We passed up and over several local maxima and finally reached the end of the GPS track at a maximum point that appeared to be the final one on the ridge. It was approximately 1 hour up to the summit from the trailhead. We took a few pictures there, then carefully retraced our route, this time bypassing the false summit.

We made it back to the car for a 1hr 45 min round trip, then drove back to the hotel and went to sleep. I caught my flight back to the US the next morning, while Matthew spent the rest of the day in Guam hiking and snorkeling before flying back to the US in the evening.

Link to full trip report and pictures.
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