Ascent of Batur on 1993-02-02

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Sean
Irish tourist.
Date:Tuesday, February 2, 1993
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Taxicab
    Elevation:1716 m / 5633 ft

Ascent Trip Report

This is a resume of a shortened 16 day trip to the Islands of Indonesia.

Auburn Industrial Services of Ontario landed a Furnace Demolition contract for Inco International in Soroako, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Soroako is located on the south shore of Lake Matano, which is at the north-end of Gulf Boni above the East Peninsula. I was hired as their project manager.
Two team leaders and I left Canada on December 13, 1992 and completed the work on January 26, 1993. Rose flew down on January 23. The plan was to tour for 2 months, visiting as many-as-possible the different Indonesian Islands. Soroako is located on the south shore of Lake Matano, which is at the north-end 0f Gulf Boni above the East Peninsula.

We left Soroako on January 27 and after a short period decided to come home ...... the heavy rains from the monsoon was an experience we didn't like, deep water was everywhere including our hotel. We got back home on February 11, 1993. I would look back at this decision with great regret. What follows is a resume of our trip/climbing.

JANUARY 27, 28, 29 (3 nights in Rantepao, Toraja, at North end of West Peninsula)
We took a bus to Rantepao, Toraja, located west of Soroako at the top end of the West Peninsula. The road climbs over a mountain range, a steady climb with hair pin/scarry curves, once on top the road drops to the Toraja Valley with its beautiful terraced rice fields.
The people of Toraja have adopted Christianity through the work of Dutch missionaries, retaining some of their traditional beliefs/customs, in particular the amazing/grandioso funeral ceremonies ..... they celebrate the dead with lavish parties, the dead are buried in rock faces/large trees ..... an amazing/educational place to visit.
MOUNT BATUMONGA (1992-01-29)..... After getting an early morning hair cut by an old barber, sitting in the middle of the street, I took a taxi to the near-by village of Lempo, where I started my long/winding road walk up to the shoulder of Mount Batumonga. I walked passed stunning/spectacular terraced rice fields with a superb view of Rantepao down in the valley, traditional roofed homes and beautiful bamboo trees along the road. Low clouds not far above my head. The work years involved in sculpturing these irrigated terraces is simply amazing.
On the descend I was able to hop on the back of a truck, together with 4 locals, for a ride back to my hotel.

JANUARY 30, 31 (Ujung Pandang, Sulawesi/Kuta, Bali)
We continued/bussed southbound to Ujung Pandang, the capital of Southern Sulawesi at the bottom of the West Peninsula ..... a chaotic city with cripples and beggars outside department stores, becak drivers catering to the foreigners, and not far away are nice hotels, immaculate super-markets and some tree lined boulevards.
The bus ride down has vistas of mountains, limestone cliffs, and a superb coast, the roads are full of people, animals, bikes, trucks and becaks, the bus driver leaning on his horn every 10 seconds. You are glued to the road for the whole day for this unbelievable scene.
The next day we took an evening flight to the Island of Bali, ending up in a nice hotel in Kuta, south Bali (a hotel rep approached us at the airport).

FEBRUARY 1, 2, 3 (Bali)
We left Kuta by bus in the early morning, stopping/shopping numerous times on our way to Penelokan, where we chose a hotel located on the south rim (elev 4300') of the Mount Batur Crater .... with a spectacular view of the crate floor with its lake (elev 3300') and Mount Batur in the distance. The hotel area is full of commercial/market activity with pushy vendors selling their wares.
MOUNT BATUR (1993-02-02). I ran into Sean, an Irish Chap, with same plans, together we hired a taxi to the TH at the Hot Springs small community near the lake. This is the shortest and most direct route,
We ascended the mostly cinder trail directly to the summit, fairly steep near the top. This is an active volcano last erupting in 1963. Wisps of steam coming from numerous fissures in the rock and stretches of warm crusted ground on the trail. Locals selling drinks on the way.
When I got back to the hotel, 2 young women brought 2 buckets of hot water for my shower, prepared to act as the faucet. Unfortunately Rose would have no part of it ??? Beautiful dinner overlooking the crater lake.
The next morning after visiting the Besakih Temple on the side of Gunung Agung we bussed the super crater rim road north to Penulisan, then continued/dropped to sea level, ending up in a hotel at Lovina Beach, Singaraja (north shore of Bali).
Walked the beach for over an hour before going to a beach side restaurant for dinner.

FEBRUARY 4 (Lovina Beach, Bali/Proboliggo, Java)
We bussed to Gilimanuk (at the west end of Bali) and took the 30 minute Ferry ride to Ketapang, Java (1 hour behind) where we went to the tourist office for bus tickets to Probolinggo, Java (found out later that we got taken at a government office ????? ..... something that happened throughout this trip, everywhere we went).
The bus ride up the coast was on very clean roads, everything tidy with lush farms. Things changed quickly with a huge rain storm and strong winds, in no time we were surrounded by flooding. Had to wait in the terminal for a long time.
We decided to stay locally instead of moving up to Mount Bromo per original plan. I picked up a local newspaper and learned that flooding existed throughout the Island. Not good news for us as we didn't feel safe in this environment.

FEBRUARY 5, 6 (Mount Bromo)
We bussed the spectacular road up to Cemara Lawang, located on the northeast rim of Mount Bromo, we again were able to find a hotel right on the rim (elev 7600') with a spectacular view of the crater.
The beautiful/incredible terraced lush vegetable fields that we saw on the way up are similar or perhaps more spectacular than the terraced rice fields fo Toraja. First time we saw cabbage fields. The sculptured hills dotted with hard working people with huge hoes.
MOUNT BROMO - CRATER RIM SUMMIT (1993-02-05).... A road leaves the crater rim and drops to the interior of the crater floor (elev 7000') on the way to the summit. The sky was heavily overcast and didn't look good.
I opted to take a horse to the summit with the owner walking beside the horse. I felt sorry for the small horse so I got off and walked beside the owner. He kept telling me, "Don't worry, horse strong".
At the bottom on the mountain I climbed alone while the horse stayed back.
Heavy rains with a light wind started at dinner time and lasted into the night.
GUNUNG PENAJAKAN (attempt, 1993-02-06)...The next morning with overcast skies Rose and I walked the rim road generally northbound towards Penajakan. As we climbed and neared the highground the road was extremely steep and washed away my a mud slide, the mountain here is a vertical wall. Rose stayed back while I scrambled up the washed out section, workers working on the repairs had bare feet. The mountain doesn't have a rock base, its a result of volcanic activity.
With the rains it was very slippery and too dangerous to proceed so I decided to turn back.
On the way back we ran into my horse and his owner, the horse had a huge load of grass.
Once again heavy rains at dinner time.

FEBRUARY 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 (Kuta, Bali/Home)
We decided to end our trip so we flew back to Denpasar, Bali,after being delayed by rain for most on the afternoon, then took a taxi to same hotel in Kuta where we stayed for the next 4 nights. We spent the next 2 days doing what normal tourists do, shopping, buying gifts, swimming in the ocean, sunning, gazing at a lot of topless women (Rose would actually point them out to me), getting a massage by 2 women on the beach and making flight arrangements for our return trip.
At the airport's Garuda VIP lounge we ran into my 2 team leaders on their way home (the office had told me that they would be home last week), They were both decked out in gold and appeared to be feeling no pain.
Our Garuda flight left Denpasar, Bali, at 16hoo hours, February 10, local time ..... we flew Denpasar - Biak, Bali/crossed date line on way to Honolulu/Los Angeles/Toronto/Montreal ..... arriving Montreal at 8h30 hours local time with snow on the ground and the temp at minus 17 celcius. Linda, Celine and their kids there to pick us up.

As I said at the outset, it was a mistake to cut our trip short.

BUT IT'S OH SO MUCH NICER TO COME HOME." ......... Frank Sinatra

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:406 m / 1333 ft
    Distance:6.4 km / 4 mi
    Route:from Penelokan on southside crater rim
    Trailhead:Penelokan on south Rim  1310 m / 4300 ft
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Raining, Pleasant, Breezy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:1 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 15 Minutes

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