Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Mt Raung via Sumber Wringin, Bondowoso, East Java
For more pictures please refer to my facebook album.
How do I describe Mt Raung? The trail wasn't that steep but it sure was long - through plantations, thick & overgrown bushes, rainforest, pine trees and grassland. We had to carry water for all the days spent on the trail and made our load very heavy.
The seven of us started from Surabaya with Augustinus providing us with the transport to Bondowoso about 5 hours away. Apart from Augustinus, the team includes Dwi Bahari and Riza from Jakarta, Mbak Endah and Erni from Kalimantan and Walter Rudy Wongkar (Woldy) from Jombang, East Java. The Mt Raung hiking post was in Sumber Wringin along the way to the famous Kawah Ijen. The post was quite big with rooms for rent (Rp100,000 per day) and clean and spacious bathrooms. Mbak Endang the caretaker provided us with a hot meal the moment we arrived. There we met our guide - Sugianto (Wanyo) and porters - Naruto, Hari and Aris.
A huge truck (Rp300,000 for return trip) took us to the starting point at Pondok Motor about 45 minutes away. From there we started to hike and because we started late, we had to hike in the dark. After slighltly more than an hour, we set camp on a flat land on the trail.
The next day, it was a long three hours hike to Pondok Sumur and then another hour to Pondok Tonyok where we took a longer break for lunch. About 2pm, we started the last leg of the hike through Pondok Mayyit, Pondok Demit and finally Pondok Angin. It took us a good 3 hours from Pondok Tonyok to Pondok Angin.
Pondok Angin was a small campsite in the grassland right after the pine tree forest. Here, the mighty wall of Mt Raung can be clearly seen. Mt Raung has a higher technical summit called Puncak Sejati which requires some rope skills, abseiling and longer days. We opted just to reach the crater ream. We were lucky because at Pondok Angin, the weather was clear and pleasant so different from the drizzle and thick fog during the hike.
We started the summit attack around 4.45 am. The hike to the summit wasn't especially steep but it sure was tricky, scary and sometimes confusing. At times we had to hike along very thin ridge just enough for one person and at other times, we had to slowly crawl our way along the small trail. Even the non-technical summit was eerie. The crater ream was practically walls jutting out and we had to balance ourselves when taking pictures. The crater itself was huge, deep and dangerous. The scenery really blow me away - picturesque with elements of risk.
The climbing down all the way to Pondok Motor wasn't as difficult and we reached it after 6 hours of hiking. Sugianto was definitely a very able guide cum porter cum photographer. Thank you guys.
To climb Mt Raung, Mt Merapi (East Java) or Kawah Ijen contact Sugianto at +6285258718838
Monday, May 18, 2009
Merapi & Merbabu
Sumbing in the background from Sindoro trail
Somar & Rofique at crater ream
I was accompanied by Somar and Rofique. After registering ourselves at Posko Sumbing in Desa Garung, Kabupaten Wonosobo, we started the hike at 10.45pm. Even at the beginning, the trail along the farm was exhausting. Not too mention slippery. There were thick clouds in the sky and the mist was enveloping us like a shadow of death. I'm being dramatic.
Really, it was a never-ending uphill climb nary a flat surface for us to rest. I was gasping for air like fish out of water. My sweat can fill a bucket easily. And it was a night climb on an altitude of more than 2000 meters! What was I thinking?
But I presevered and after 3 hours, managed to reach another 'Devil's Market' (Pestan), a flat piece of land suitable for camping. The chill was shocking , I was shivering. We hid under some rocks trying to avoid the wind and at the same time ate supper. After one hour rest, we started the hike again.
There was these huge rocks called "Batu Kotak" and "Pasar Wetu" and we had to make a long round trip tp get on the trail again. But my guides decided to take a short-cut which involved having your back against the rock, climbing down a sharp rock and jumping for dear life to get onto the trail that led to the summit. It was crazy but it was definitely adventurous. I will not, however, ever do that again!
Anyway, the trail to the summit was one long torturous stretch that made me rethink the reasons of my existence in this world and day dreaming of a warm blanket and a cup of hot coffee. Drama aside, I managed to pull my big butt up the steep, rocky trail and finally reaching the summit at 6 am. Not bad actually.
The thick fog meant, no sunrise picture, not much view but I was happy and felt very much contented. The wind actually pushed away the fog for a while allowing me to see the beautiful green meadow inside the crater. It was a good place to pitch a tent.
The hike down was slow but consistent. It was painfull, in a way, because I had to really focus on my steps and the trail. Not only was the trail steep, it was also slippery.
Thank you Rofique and Somar. You guys were the best.
Friday, May 15, 2009
I reached the city of Yogyakarta on 7 May 2009 and thankfully Augustinus, an Indonesian friend from Surabaya whom I met while climbing Mt Arjuna & Welirang in 2008, was there with a car to take me to Desa Kledung in Kabupaten Temanggung, Central Java. Also in the group - Pak Ilham, Maria and Lee Siu. If Augustinus had not been there, I would have to take a bus to Magelang and change bus to Desa Kledung. The car trip took approximately 3 hours including dinner at Temanggung.
Mas Ragil the caretaker for Mt Sindoro basecamp greeted us with warm tea and a quick briefing. He will be our guide accompanied by two porters - Rofique and Somar. They will also prepare my tent and food during our 2 days 1 night hike of Mt Sindoro.
We started hiking the next day with Pak Ilham driving us to the starting point at the end of the village farm. The farmers were planting tobacco in anticipation of the coming dry season. However, the sky was cloudy and rain was expected. I guess, the rain season was reluctant to make an exit.
The trail was along bushes, pine forest and grassland. We started at 10.30am and I reached Pos 3 around 1 noon. Pos 3 was a big flat campsite. At 3 pm I started my hike to Batu Tatah, a small campsite about an hour to the summit. I reached the campsite at 4pm. Along the way, the bush and pine trees gave way to steep grassland. It also began to drizzle and I was shivering while waiting for the porters to arrive so the tent could be set up.
The drizzle continued but not too long. Soon, the sky began to clear . It was a full moon night. Splendid.
We woke up at 4.15 am for the summit attack. Only Ragil, Augustinus and I made the climb. Maria and Lee Siu were too tired while the porters had to stay back to prepare our breakfast. The 1 hour climb was not that difficult and it was not that cold either. I reached the summit at 5.45 am.
It was truly a blessed sight. The clear blue sky, the majestic Sumbing looming in front of us, the superbly green grassland, the awesome sunrise. I had seen all these before and yet I still feel excited and humbled at the beauty of the landscape.
We circled the crater ream. At the other side, surprisingly, was a flat plateau or 'alun-alun'. From here I could see the Dieng Plateau - a majestic beauty as far as the eyes can see. On 1 Suro (according to Javanese calendar), thousands of people will be flocking here to perform 'rituals' - most probably a leftover culture from animistic-Hinduism culture. Another vast flatland just after the alun-alun was called 'Pasar Setan' or Devil's Market where occasionally the empty field will be filled with chattering noise from the 'unseen' .
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Sunset at Laban Rata
Malaysian and Argentinian flag at Kinabalu summit
Thursday, April 23, 2009
1. Mt Datuk (Rembau, Negri Sembilan)
2. Mt Pulog & Mt Santo Thomas (Phillipines)
3. Mt Kinabalu (Sabah)
Here is my plan for the rest of the year. Nothing confirmed though.
10. Mt Gamalama (Ternate) - most probably cancelled if it is deemed 'unsafe'
11. Mt Klabat (North Sulawesi)
12.Mt Kerinci (Jambi)
13. Mt Lompobatang (South Sulawesi)
14. Mt Bawakareng (South Sulawesi)
The tickets to Indonesia are confirmed. The climbing, however, depends on arrangement on the ground since I'm going on my own to most of these mountains. Wish me luck.
8. Ledang (Johor)
9. Datuk (Negri Sembilan)
10. Trusmadi (Sabah) : Twice
11. Jerai (Kedah)
12. Angsi (Negri Sembilan)
13. Bubu (Perak)
14. Tebu (Terengganu)
15. Benom (Pahang)
16. Belumut (Johor)
17. Nuang (Selangor)
18. Bintang (Kedah)
1. Bintang Utara (Kedah)
2. Kinabalu (Sabah)
3. Gerah (Perak)
4. Bieh (Perak)
5. Mulu (Sarawak)
6. Sinabung (North Sumatera - Indonesia)
7. Kalapathar (Nepal)
8. Everest Base Camp ( Nepal)
9. Sibayak (North Sumatera - Indonesia)
10.Murud ( Sarawak)
11. Rinjani (Lombok - Indonesia)
1. Murud ( Sarawak)
2. Merapi ( West Sumatera - Indonesia)
3. Sibayak ( North Sumatera - Indonesia)
4. Sinabung ( North Sumatera - Indonesia)
5. Singgalang ( West Sumatera - Indonesia)
6. Tambora (Sumbawa - Indonesia)
7. Gede ( West Java - Indonesia)
8. Kinabalu ( Sabah)
9. Semeru (East Java - Indonesia)
10.Batur (Bali - Indonesia)
11. Agung ( Bali - Indonesia)
If you notice, there is a two year gap from Feb 2006 to May 2008 where I did not climb any mountain in Peninsular Malaysia. It was my 'sulking' period.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
From Baguio, the bus (P72) took 3 hours to reach Ambangeg (Am-bang-nge). I registered with Mt Pulog National Park and had to pay a registration fee of P780 and watch a 15 minutes orientation video. After the registration, climbers could hike the 10km uphill trail (3-4 hours) to the Ranger Station or hire a motorcycle to take you up in 40 minutes. I chose the later (P300 return).
The ranger greeted me and offered a room for P20. After making arrangement with a guide (P500) to start the hike at 2am, I proceeded to make myself comfortable, doing a short tour of the village and the farm. I saw a few jeepneys and found out that they were hired from Baguio by a group of climbers who were already in Camp 2. The Ranger Station had a ‘comfort room” and cooking area and they obliged me with a flask of hot water when I asked for it.
The hike to the summit wasn’t especially difficult. It was actually a gradual climb to the summit through mossy forest and grassland. At the beginning it was very warm (with my layers of clothing) but later it began to get very cold especially when the thick fog came in. We reached Camp 2 after 2 hours and after a 30 minutes rest, we started our climb again. Camp 2 was already inside the grassland area and the trail was narrow and muddy. The climb to the summit took 1.5 hours.
Reaching the summit was an anti-climax. The fog was thick and wet. Strangely, the summit had a cluster of dwarf bamboos with maze like openings that allow hikers to hide from the cold wind. I sat there waiting for the sun to rise and hopefully for a warmer weather. No such luck.
After snapping a few photographs, I started my hike back to the Ranger Station at 7am and reached there at 9.05am. My motorcycle driver came at around 10am to take me down to Ambangeg because the bus from Kebayan towards Baguio will arrive around 1pm. I did not want to miss that bus.
The next day I hired a taxi to take me to Mt Santo Thomas (2220m). It was a nice way to have a good view of Baguio and the surrounding mountains.