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Ascent of Gunung Kerinci on 2007-07-10

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Adam Helman
Bob Packard
Date:Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Gunung Kerinci
    Location:Indonesia
    Elevation:3805 m / 12484 ft

Ascent Trip Report

Gunung Kerinci, 3805m, P3805m


Map: None known


Stats: 2080mH, 12km (t.b.c)


Time: 9-10 July 2007, ascent 6:10, descent 4:30 to lowest shelter; 6h to trailhead. These times included a lot of birding / resting /waiting time: I would expect 5h ascent and 3:30 descent at my normal pace. Although potentially do-able in a day, The summit is typically in cloud after 9 a.m., and heavy rain often falls from about 1 p.m., hence a 2-day climb is recommended to get the best out of the mountain.


Accommodation: We first went to Subandi's Homestay near the tiger statue junction. They were full and we were taken to Penginapan Homestay approx 200m N of the junction. Adequate accommodation (lockable room, shared toilet facilities); excellent meals, some English spoken by staff.


Red tape: a Permit is required to climb, obtainable at the homestay. Passport photocopy needs to be provided.

Guide: you could probably follow the route without a guide - wehther this would be allowed I don't know. We hired a guide + 2 porters which cost about $100 between 3 of us.


Water: there is a water source at the 3060m camp, although it is not reliable. We ofund water there on the way up (there had been 7 hours heavy rain the previous day), but on the way down I could find no water there. Thus it is safest to take all necessary waetr u with you, unless there is reliable info on the water situation. There is supposedly also water below the 3300m camp (see summitpost.com)


Difficulties: routefinding is pretty straightforward: a few minor trail junctions low down but main trail is pretty obvious. A couple of compass bearings in poor visibility are useful in descent. Higher up the trail involves several sections of scrambling using trees and roots for holds, justifying YDS 3 in our view. The trail also functions as a drainage channel during the frequent downpours, making for unpleasant hiking (see Petter Bjorstad's report)


Start: from trailhead c. 5km W of Kersik Tua. At brow of hill, look for surfaced road, with tiger statue on W side of road at junction. From here, rough metalled road leads W thru tea plantations and fields to end at a dilapidated sign. Trail starts here.


Route: You will probably have a guide, but here are my notes. The trail is a continuation of the surfaced farm road, passing through fierlds of peppers, potatoes etc. Soon passes through a shelter/gateway which presumably used to serve as a checkpoint. At a couple of forks, always choose the uphill option. Soon pass between stone gateposts into the rainforest. Then keep to main trail (a few minor branches - the main route is pretty obvious; a basic bearing up the ridge may help resolve any doubts). Soon pass a collapsd shelter; the Pos 2 at 2200m, then a un-named collapsed shelter, then "Shelter II" at 3060m. At this point a branch path leads L a few m to a large flat area where there is a framework which guides/porters apparently make use of. At the far side a small path continues a few m to a steeam bed. We found cleanish water here on the way up, but none the next day on the descent. This is probably the best campsite, unless the weather is settled.

The main trail continues above, mostly in a deep trench with a fair bit of scrambling. the forest reduces to scrub and the trail emerges on to a narrow open ridge marked by concrete posts. At the point of emergence there is a flat area where we camped: very scenic but we found it exposed during a windy night.

Above here the ascent is pretty obvious, keeping mostly to well-worn gullies, marked by yellow paint and/or coloured string tied to rocks. The ridge opens out into a slope (acsnd at 318deg), then narrows again: the route continues due N to the summit via a flat cairned area and final steep slope.


Summit: fairly narrow ridge marked by 2 rock outcops with a cairn between them. NE side falls sheer to the large crater, which emits sulfurous gas almost constantly.


Trig point: none found.


Notes/report: we flew into Padang on 6 July from Jakarta, after our Gunung Slamet climb. Arriving at abouit midday, we hired a vehicle and driver to take us to Kersik Tua. We split the drive into two 3+ hour chunks (staying overnight at Hilmaya Homestay, Alahanpanjang), although it could probabably have been fitted into the afternoon. On arrival we found My Subandi who seems to be the best local contact for hiking (also for birding - his homestay was full of birders). He settled us in to Penginapan Homestay (there are several homestays serving hikers and birders and other Kerinci visitors). We arranged for a guide a 2 porters, and met our guide that afternoon, and planned to climb the next day (8th) although in the event we had another day off in between. I managed a couple of birding sessions in the forest; i.e. the first part of the trail, seeing more than 30 species of bird, including Blue-tailed Trogon which is one of the sought-after Sumatra endemics. Kerinci's lower slopes are clearly more visited by birders than hikers.

We were taken to the start by a fleet of motorcycles! and started hiking at 07:55. There were a few spots of rain on the way up but it remained largely dry. I spent a fair bit of tiome birding. Reaching the high camp site (3300m) at 13:10 I decided to press on to the summit, arriving at 14:00, in drizzly windy weather. Getting back to the 3300m camp at 14:40, the tents had been pitched by Adam and Bob, and we spent a long but fairly comfortable night despite the exposed position. We set off next morning at sunrise: after taking a few photos I started climbing at 06:25, reaching the summit at 07:30. The weather was clear, with good vierws, although the crater itself was misty with no clear view into it. After some group photos (with Bob, Adam and our guide), I headed down at 08:00, spet 45 mins at camp, then headed straight dwon, with frequent birding stops, arriving at the lowest ruined shelter at 12:36, leaving about 10 mins walk to trailhead. A couple of farmer workers' motorcycles were used to ferry us back to ouir homestay for a rest and another excellent meal. We then travelled north with a view to climbing the Ultra, Gunung Merapi Sumatera.


Weather: warm on the climb, chilly and windy overnight, cold on the summit. There were a few spots of rain on the way up (intermittent rain from 15:00), and again on the way down.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2081 m / 6828 ft
    Extra Gain:3 m / 10 ft
    Distance:19.3 km / 12 mi
    Route:Standard route from SE
    Trailhead:W of Kersik Tua  1730 m / 5676 ft
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Guide, Porters
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:6 Hours 10 Minutes



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