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The Highest in Bali, Mount Agung 3.142m – the climbing story

August 28, 2011

Well, just thinking of reposting this story, which I created about a year ago, just wanted to give some edits and trying my best to put them in good English. I am not a good English writer though’…

 Mountain Climbing for some people, especially for people who called themselves “Nature Lovers” or “Adventure-er” ,”Mountaineering” or whatever it is, has been always a “fun” thing to do. It’s what people say a “challenge”…

Well of course, there are many types of climbing. There are Rock Climbing, Ice climbing, Canyoning, etc , which some of them need a special technique and well-preparation before doing it.

Especially for this climbing story of myself and three other friend, I would just call it a “mount climbing” or for myself  I called it a “reckless climbing” –sorry if this is an inappropriate word to express that we were actually not really in a well-prepared condition to climb, at that time

We climbed on the 5th of April 2009, it was Sunday and the idea to do a climbing came to us just a few days before the day – the idea came to us, once we knew that there was “a friend of a friend” –how you call that?- who had climbed the mount before, and the good thing was he is a Balinese as well, and he knows well about the area –

I could have been saying “wow this is gonna’ be an impossible, if we are going without local people, we do not know the route and not to mention we are going to climb up the highest mountain in this Island 3.142 m above the sea level –

 Jim and Mat are from Sumatra, 1700 miles away from this Island, and me myself is from South Sulawesi, 500 miles away from this Island-

Long story short, it’s 2pm on the April 4th, my 2 litters “Norwand” back-pack already full and tight, with 5 bottles (plastic) of 1500 ml mineral water, a thick jacket, a full-of-pocket trouser, and of course some instant foods for dinner, a camera –a must bring thing to capture good views – , a scraft , a skull-cap, a mini-stove to cook dinner , climbing shoes –

 I had been told before that the temperature on the summit can be less than 10 degree, so my anticipation was to bring the thickest jacket I have.

There are two routes to reach the summit –actually there are 3, but the other one is not common -. First, via Besakih Temple  and second, via Pura Pasar Agung .

Here are a few explanations about the 3 routes.

Climbing routes

From Besakih (west). This is a demanding climb starting close to Besakih temple. The ascent will take about 6 to 7 hours and ends at the very highest point of the mountain. The final hour or so is exceptionally demanding often requiring ascent on all fours. A sensible start time is about 11PM, so that you arrive at the top before dawn and wait for the sunrise.

From Pura Pasar Agung (south). A three to four hour climb in which time you ascend about 2,000 metres. Not so stiff as the Besakih route. The route ends about 100 metres below the actual summit, but the views are still excellent in all directions, as well as down into the actual crater. A sensible start time would be about 2:30 AM, again with aim of reaching the peak just before dawn. I and friends took this route, and in fact we were about a hundred metres below the actual summit.

From Duku Bujangga Sakti (north). A seldom used route but one which is most appropriate for less experienced trekkers and the slightly less physically fit. The ascent starts at 300 metres and involves an overnight camp at 1,700 meters, before the final ascent in the pre-dawn hours the following day. This route also allows you to walk around the rim of the crater to the absolute summit of the mountain.

I made my own map, so you guys can -at least- having a slight view of what I am talking about.

After all has been packed, we then left Sanur “Abian Prasta” our starting point and heading towards North-East of Bali. We previously planned to climb via Besakih Temple but we were forbidden to climb without a guide and they suggested us to use guide at IDR 300,000, – what?no way!!!– we were on a very low-budget, I could not remember my money in pocket was less than Rp. 100,000,-  – turned back and left the place with huge disappointment.

But as I said, it is always an advantageous to go with a local, my friend Gilang found the plan B- going via Pura pasar Agung. He claim himself “NatureLover”,he is Balinese and we counted  much on him as our leader….

 Leaving Besakih, rode to the East to Tukad Panglan, Pura Pasar Agung (see map) and we got there about 6 or 7pm, I could not remember. There is a large parking lot there at the temple. It is closer to the top and took about only 4 hours to climb (normally) compare to Besakih which needs at least 7-8 hours climbing.

6pm at the Temple, before climbing!

Long story short, we entered the dark forest at about 7.30pm after praying at the Temple.

– Praying at the temple, is a must- to-do before descending the mount, for your info Mt.Agung is considered holy by Hindu people  where the kingdom of gods (Bali protectors) settled, so we must show respect – it is also forbidden to hike when it is full-moon – Also do not ever bring any food contains beef –

With each of us, using a head-lamp, we begun to step our feet on rocky, slippery and grassy path leading to the top of the mount where the excitement is waitingJ. We took an un-countable stops and rest along the way of course, not only because the path is taugh, but the bag was heavy!

On the height of about 1,000 m we begun to see an absolutely stunning view, but it was only over-seeing the town with millions of lamps.

Half way, it was 10.30pm, we need to cook dinner, and we need to find a flat-surface to settle a tent but what a bad luck!  There was no flat-surface, only rocks around! But because we were starved, cooking food was the top priority.

Our plan: it’s 11pm, to sleep and wake up at 3am to continue to the summit which now only take 4 hours ,and catch sunrise in the morning at 6 or 7 am. And………………………..

 -NOBODY WOKE-UP until 7am-

In fact, I already yelled 3 or more times, everybody slept like having drunk an alcoholic drink last night. So planning was kind of ruined but the main aim was to reach the summit and get down before 12pm.

In the end, we made it to the summit at 10am and returned at 11.30am

Here are the photos :

A lot of stops and rest !!.


7am on the 5th April, breakfast!

Cold morninggg !!

Continue to the summit !!

Almost get to the topp! keep movin”!!

Matius, on a great background!

At the topp!!

Mount Agung The great crater ! 200 m wide and about 8 – 20 m deep ! last eruption 1963 killed approx 1500 people!

Rock on the cloud! flyinggggg !!!

a MAPALA “national” flag

me and the “red-white” flag ….I on the sky.!

“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.”    — Greg Child.

“Climbing is as close as we can come to flying.”    — Margaret Young, aviator and alpinist.



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