Seven Peaks – Seven Islands part V – Sumatra

Gunung-Kerinci

Here’s the fifth miniblog about my Seven peaks – Seven Islands challenge…

Climbing Gunung Kerinci is one thing, but just getting there is another.  The bus journey from Padang can be anything between six and nine hours, and crosses the spine of Sumatra.  Be prepared for an arduous, but hilarious time!  You usually arrive in the village of Kersik Tua after dark, but the dawn brings extensive views of well manicured tea plantations and the peak itself – cloud permitting.  Rain and hailstorms are not uncommon here as you are already at 1500m.

Kerinci is an active volcano and the first time I tried to climb it, there was an eruption of volcanic ash and carbon monoxide gas.  It’s always best to enquire about the peaks activity before you go.

Sitting in the Kerinci Seblat National Park, the peak is approached down a long plantation road, before you break into dense jungle.  Thankfully little logging is allowed here and much of the canopy is untouched.  Gibbons can be seen swinging through the trees and I would advise taking a local guide to enhance your experience, as many are local naturalists.

There are a number of campsites high on the peak, (remnants from Dutch colonisation), from where you can set off in the dark for a sunrise summit.  The vegetation soon ends with slopes of dusty pumice, before you reach the craters rim and hear the dull roar below.  The air will be filled with the smell of sulphur and all of Central Sumatra will be laid before you.

You can also explore more of the park, or visit Bukittinggi and Lake Maninjau to relax after the climb.

Click here to read my full expedition report…

Want to try the challenge yourself..?  Click here to find out more…

Next time I’ll be heading South East to the Indonesian Island of Iran Jaya…

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