Stairway To The Clouds
Among hundreds of active volcanoes in Indonesia, Mount Gede is probably the most crowded mountain to be climbed. Easy access, close proximity to big cities and its natural wonders make this mountain famous for hiking spot. Dominated by dense rainforest, this area is also known for bird watching. “This is the habitat for over 200 species of birds, which is more than 50% of bird live in Java Island”, said Eng Yanto the Park Ranger. Mount Gede, and its sister Mount Pangrango, is protected in the Gede Pangrango National Park that covers an area of 1.000 Ha. Both mountains are about 3000 M high above sea level.
By CopiPanas Team
That morning, Saturday May 28, Gede and Pangrango are clearly seen from Puncak Highway. Their peaks look high and the slope showing a pathway for one who likes to touch the clouds. Different from Pangrango, Gede has huge crater rim. It must have been a massive eruption when this crater was formed. In fact, 21 eruptions are recorded in history, with eruption in 1840 being the largest one.
This time, CopiPanas team hiked Mount Gede with main goal to be on top when the sun rises. All necessary preparations were taken, and booking for hiking permit was done in advance. During this climb, we were escorted by 4 NP guides, 2 Park Rangers, a doctor, and 4 porters. It was a quite big group we had, a total of 45 people.
We took a route from Cibodas and returned through Mount Putri trail. After brief introduction about this NP, the team started to walk around 11 a.m. The trail has gentle slope and 1.5 hour later we arrived in Telaga Biru, a small lake with calm deep blue water. We took a break here to enjoy the scenery and to catch our breath.
From this location, the trail got steeper and we had to take more short breaks. At one point, the trail was going through a hot spring. We had to take careful step since the trail is wet and slippery. It is about 50 m long of rocky track with steaming water run over it. The water is not boiling but hot enough to burn hands or foot if we fall into it.
We camped that night in Kandang Badak (2400 M), the last team member arrived around 5 p.m. We set our tent and cooked our dinner. Somehow, almost all of us were having problem with gas in our stomach. Probably, because we ate too much cabbage and broccoli.
The team was ready for peak attack at 2 a.m. All camping equipment had been packed after we were woken up at midnight. As usual when climbing a mountain, the trail to the top is the hardest part. In 2.5 hour we reach the rim of Mount Gede crater. Beautiful view of sparkling city light can be seen down below. The wind is quite strong and we hide in the bushes a little longer, waiting for a perfect time for sunrise.
Around 5.30 p.m. the horizon turned red and then getting brighter. It was the most spectacular scenery we had on this trip. We saw an almost complete spectrum of dark blue graded to orange color with silhouette of thundering clouds in far distance. Streaks of refracted sun light through the clouds made the scene just perfect. We spent about 2 hour on this top, having breakfast and enjoy the surrounding view.
We started to walk down through the Mount Putri trail and made a stop in Surya Kencana square. This square is a large open area with plenty of blooming Edelweiss (Anaphalis javanica). This is a favorite place for hiker to camp, because of its beautiful landscape and close to spring water. We did a bit of sunbathing in this prairie of Edelweiss, before heading back down the mountain.
Mount Gede is not a difficult mountain to climb, but it is not easy either. Good physical preparation and good team work make us enable to reach the peak on schedule and return to Jakarta safely. Moreover, this event has built stronger friendship among us who works on various departments. We were thankful that the weather was clear through out our journey.
Mount Gede Team: Redo Waworuntu, Budiyono, Ibnu Triyanto, Yuvid Rastianto, Suwandi Gunawan, Bambang Istadi, Dedy rachman, Maria Meirita, Siswo Yulianto, Stephanie Hitijahubessy, Tony Simamora, Ahmad najib, Boy Wibowo Pangarso, Ari Saptono, Alex Simon, Heru Putranto, Ahmad Yarli, Madtadi, Jerry Hadi, Rahadian Adhyaksawan, Sri Purwati, Asep Muhammad, Bachtiar, Hardi Setiawan, Agung Sucipto, Amir Murtono and Ludy Andria.