Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Treks Up The Volcanoes

Halfway up Mount Batur. Sky's getting light. Needed to hurry.

The only thing about these treks up high points on Mount Agung and Mount Batur- they totally disrupted my sleep cycle. To see the sunrise, we gotta get up there by 5.45am. Which meant transport picked us at 11pm for Mount Agung, and 2am for Mount Batur.

We took the easier route up the 3031m Mount Agung via Pasar Agung. Took 3.5 hours. For the 1717m Mount Batur, we were the earliest and took two hours. We seemed to have taken a local route where there weren't more than 50 people on it. Not sure, but there seems to be all sorts of local disputes, rights and money over guides and hikers visiting these public volcanoes. I don't want to know. The hotel arranged our hikes and we were fine with our drivers and guides. Although they didn't explain shit to us initially. Like meet, and just follow them to walk. Unless you speak bahasa, then you'll get more information out of them. Read those forums before you sign up for these hikes.

Now these hikes require climbing boots, gloves and poles. Use a head lamp instead of carrying a torch. (Guides mostly provide torches and not head lamps.) You need both hands. So pack those gloves. The last hour on Mount Batur was nothing more than a rock scramble on all fours. Same goes for Mount Agung where your trepidation lasts two hours. Once out of the treeline, the trails are simply loose mud, stones and dust.

Give up on walking down. Not possible. Good luck sliding down during the descent. Dunno if this sunrise thing is overhyped. It was beautiful, for sure. I just haven't decided if it's worth the effort. Oof. Anyway. And we walked and clambered in the dark mostly. Luckily for the full moon on those two nights. That provided some light. Thank fark we climbed in the dark and could only see five steps at a time. If I could see more, I'd have completely bailed out of climbing. Wtf. Also, pee in the side bushes before you get out of treeline and before sunrise hor. Hahahaha.

Ominous clouds that brought a shower and luckily nothing heavier. On both treks.

Hikers need to be fairly experienced and fit. We climbed at an incline of almost 70 degrees for three to five hours. There's no safety equipment provided unless we bring our own. You know I have acrophobia. During final ascent on both volcanoes, I refused to balance on two legs and literally went on fours. I'm stronger scampering on four limbs and defintely felt way more secure. Same thing for descent. I rather slide and swing around steep bends than walk upright precariously. Either side is a ravine where a fall would end with a broken branch pierced through a body part. Tip your guides generously. They are experienced and perhaps you might get one who's super helpful.

Went up both volcanoes on overcast mornings. Cloudy. Windy. Still beautiful though. After the treeline, I think it was like 12 or 15°C. Was busy perspiring. Didn't even feel cold till we got nearer to the top. A light windbreaker sufficed. Grateful for a rain-free climb and view, considering that this is rainy season and there were thunderstorms and crazy lightning before we were picked up for both climbs.

Glad to have gotten up the volcanoes before the next eruption.

Never happier seeing easy slopes.

No comments: