By Ludy Andria
Volcanoes, in Indonesian word gunung api (fire mountain), are main part of the Indonesia Archipelago. Mainly, they stretch from northern tip of Sumatera, swing southward along Java and continue further east to the Moluccas. Some other volcanoes are scattered on the northern Celebes Island. After compiling some data on the internet (mostly from Wikipedia), we found 145 volcanoes that had been named, excluding the submarine volcanoes.
According to geologists, these volcanoes are formed due to continental plate collisions where melted rocks push upward to earth surface. According to legends, gods brought peaks from Himalaya to nail the islands so they are not floating around….;-) Whatever the cause, we love to climb them.
In western Indonesia, the volcanoes are highs, and in the eastern region, they tend to be small. Based on their heights, CopiPanas classified these volcanoes into 4 categories: High (> 3000 M), Intermediate (2000 – 3000 M), Small (1000 – 2000 M) and Baby Volcanoes (<1000 M). We have climbed the highest volcano, Kerinci which stand 3805 M, but ironically we haven’t measured the smallest one, Mount Riang Kotang in Flores which only 200 M high.
Until recently, CopiPanas as a team have climbed 14 volcanoes, some even climbed more than once. In total, we have measured a vertical gain of about 36,000 M….. That’s 4 times the height of Everest!
The High Volcanoes (> 3000 M)
We almost climbed all the volcanoes in this category, 11 out of 16 peaks. The most recent one is Rinjani when we climbed this on August 2008 for the second time by different team members. Maybe we shouldn’t claim Dempo, since only one of our fearless member, solo climbed this mountain.
Climbing Semeru in 2003 can be said the starting point for CopiPanas. Having an exciting adventure when climbing this most active volcano, hiking mountain become an addict for us. And we start using CopiPanas as our hiking group name.
Mount Agung in Bali is probably the next peak we like to climb on this category. Surrounded by beautiful places, it should be an interesting journey. This trip can be combined with hiking to Batur crater lake.
The Intermediate Volcanoes (2000 – 3000 M)
There are 42 volcanoes fall within this category, and the furious Merapi in Central Java being the highest one. Merapi is still spitting molten lava, and we’ve seen them when climbing Mount Merbabu. So far, we only climbed 2 peaks, Gede (3 times) and Cikuray, but we have the longest wish list, including the famous Tambora in Sumbawa Island.
Some of these volcano craters are near the road access, including Ijen, Dieng, Toba, Patuha, Talaga Bodas, and Tangkuban Perahu, so climbing their peaks should not be difficult.
Toba in North Sumatra has been classified as a supervolcano, along with Yellowstone Caldera in Wyoming, US, and Lake Taupo in New Zealand. Lake Toba measured 100 km in length and 30 km in width, make this the largest volcanic lake in the world. Visiting Lake Toba is best during August, when annual Toba Festival takes place.
The Small Volcanoes (1000 – 2000 M)
Shame!…. Among them, the colourful crater lakes of Mount Kelimutu in Flores is high on our future trip list.
The Baby Volcanoes (< 1000 M)
There are about 27 baby volcanoes, and mostly located in eastern Indonesia region. There is only one volcano that we like to climb in this category, it is the infamous Krakatau. By its violent explosions and aftermath, this baby exceeds the popularity of Indonesia itself.