Mt Merapi, The Climb

On: Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The date was 14th July 2009 and we had made it up to the peak of Mt Merapi at 8:54am after a grueling 5 hour hike. This was unlike any other mountains and the view made it even more memorable. Plenty of photo opportunities and every angle has its own persona.

The trip from Yogyakarta to Selo wasn't the most pleasant. We made a brief stop at Kaliurang but were soon on the road again. The swerving roads gave the driver plenty of opportunities to hone his F1 skills but it was not to our amusement. We spent the night at a hut named "Bungalow Tersenyum" (Smiling Bungalow) and settle down early to prepare for the midnight hike. There wasn't much sleeping time but we were feeling fresh at 1am in the morning. Kido and Yoga, our friendly guides prepared warm milk and instant noodles for us. It sure kept us warm for a while as the chilly wind kept sweeping by.

Before long, we were transported to the starting point where the huge Selo signboard stands. The hike wasn't very eventful as we were trekking in near darkness. The trail was quite wide and there were not many obstacles. After passing the first and second checkpoints, were we scheduled to reach a flat plain where we could view the spectacular sun rise at dawn. The chilly 12° weather did not allow us to pause for too long and we moved on quickly to the next check point. This was the last point before we start the final summit to the peak of Merapi. We took a break here and noticed that there lay stood a memorial stone and sandals belonging to an unfortunate hiker.

The loose volcanic rock was the most challenging part of the hike to the summit. There were quite a number of groups making their way down as we ascend which made the task no less simpler. There were no clear paths, just zig-zagging across and finding the easiest path up. We arrived at a crater, this one had been inactive for quite some time. We can see scribbling of words from afar. Trudging further, we finally reached the summit where the once famous Puncak Garuda stood. Now there's only one side left after the recent eruption in 2006.

The chilly weather did not prevent us from spending some time up at the summit. Taking photos and having a break, we felt a sense of achievement after such a grueling hike. We were told by our guides that we can't stay too long. In a few hours time, the weather could change and the gushing wind could cover the entire area with volcanic smoke and we would lose visibility. After satisfying ourselves, we were on our way down and should I say, descending is more stressful than ascending. It was a long long way down and it wasn't until 4 hours later that we reached the starting point again at noon.

Our legs were trembling and we were partially covered with dust as we settled at a coffee stall to catch our breath. The isotonic drink temporarily re hydrated and recharged us while we made our way to lunch at the village.

All in all, it was a wonderful and unforgettable experience having climb Mt Merapi. Unlike any mountains that I had climbed before, it was challenging and yet achievable and more importantly hugely rewarding. Great!

- Everybody gearing up and excited. Group photo at the starting point -

- In high spirits after reaching checkpoint 2 -

- Sunrise at the horizon. Silhouette of a mountain appearing -

- 12.6°C, the temperature recorded by Yoga's watch -

- Mt Sumbing and Mt Sundoro visible from here -

- Sandals belonging to an unfortunate hiker -
- Sandals belonging to an unfortunate hiker -

- The luscious greenery of Mt Merbabu is also visible -

- Another hour to the peak. The view of Merapi's summit -

- Other hikers making their way down while we ascend -

- The dead crater with word scribblings -

- Success! Group photo at Merapi's peak -

- Photo with one of the remains of Puncak Garuda -

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1 comments on "Mt Merapi, The Climb"

kazuolim said...

Yes. It was a great trip. Now looking forward for next year Mt. Semeru Climb.