To Be the Highest in Sumatra
Kerinci stands 3804 M above sea level. It’s higher than the famous Semeru in Java and the scenic Rinjani in Lombok, which we have measured them in 2003 and 2005, respectively. In fact, Kerinci is the highest volcano in Indonesia.
By CopiPanas Team
July 2006 – This mountain located in Kerinci-Seblat National Park, northern Jambi Province. This area is rather isolated in the Barisan Mountain highland. After one and a half hour in flight to Padang, we continued about 7 hours drive to reach Kersik Tuo village. There is only one route to the top of Kerinci and this is where to start. This lovely village and many other small villages in this area are situated within the vast tea plantation, which reported to be the largest in Southeast Asia.
It is surprising that in this remote area, almost everyone is Javanese, and they are speaking proper Javanese dialect. Later, we found that these villagers are the third generation of tea plantation labors which were brought here during the Dutch colony in early 1900s. The native Kerinci people themselves are still living nomadic in the forest.
Other natural highlights in this National Park include beautiful Lake Gunung Tujuh and Lake Kerinci, Gao Sakti hot spring, and amazing 50 m high Telun Berasap waterfall. Later after returned from climbing Kerinci, we visited these fascinating places.
The journey to the top of Kerinci started early in the morning from Paiman homestay. After having nasi goreng with delicious tempe, we were transported to the mountain entrance.
The first stage of climbing is an easy hike through the thick forest. Different from our experience hiking mountains in Java, we saw more wild life in action here. The sound of gibbons was dominating the forest music. We could see them high on the tree canopy, swinging from branch to branch. The sound of birds was always heard on the background. Such a lively forest that probably have extinct in many places. Walking is very pleasant with normal pace. And by noon, we reached the Shelter-1 for a lunch break.
The second stage of climbing is tougher. The trail is sometime very steep that force us to crawl, holding roots or braches… just like the gibbons. And the climb got even harder when the rain start pouring and make the trail slippery. Lucky for us, the rain stop when we reached Shelter-2 where we set our tents to sleep that night. At this 3000 M altitude, the temperature drop really fast as the sun set. That night was probably the coldest temperature we’ve ever experienced when climbing mountain. Our tent and sleeping bag were just hopeless…. Brrrr!…
The third stage, the peak attack, is the most challenging in every mountain climbing. It is started with wake up very early in the morning, about 3 a.m, and Phil is very good as our wake up alarm. Sometimes we hoped that he overslept, so we can sleep ‘till morning. Crawling out from our warm sleeping bag to the freezing morning, and wear our wet cold boots is really a challenge.
After having quick breakfast, we resume hiking. The trail is nothing but 60 degree slope of sharp rocks and loose sands all the way to the top, 800 M vertical to go. Everyone is taking careful step. We did slow pace hiking to keep our body warm and avoid long stops which otherwise will freezes us.
Above the tree line, the view below Kerinci is stunning. This is our reward. Silhouette of Danau Gunung Tujuh is fantastic with reddish color of the sky behind. We were standing above the clouds, feeling high, but at the same time recognized that we are only a very small part of the nature. Around 7 a.m., one by one we step our feet on top of Kerinci, and claimed that we are…. The highest men in Sumatra!
CopiPanas – Volcanolovers in Indonesia
Yuvid Rastianto, Redo Waworuntu, Ludy Andria, Siswo Yulianto, Diah Anggraini, Agust Triantono and Phil Salvador