Ascent to Gunung Marapi-SE top on 2007-07-12

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Adam Helman
Date:Thursday, July 12, 2007
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Point Reached:Gunung Marapi - SE top
    Elevation:9087 ft / 2769 m
    Remaining Elevation:398 ft / 122 m (8% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

Gunung Marapi Sumatera, 2770m, P2116m

Map: None known

Stats: 1468m, ?5km each way.

Time: 12 July 2007.

Accommodation: We stayed at Bukittinggi (Kartini Hotel, v pleasant; staff have tolerable English) which is 15 miuns drive away. Summitpost indicates there is accommodation in Kota Baru which is where the climb starts.

Red tape: No permit needed.

Guide: We used a lad called Andra, apparently based in Kota Baru. We'd stopped to recce the trailhead the previous day, and were immediately met by a couple of Indonesians on motorbikes, and in a few minutes a price was agreed (about $30) for the next day.

Water: available en oute at 7900ft, signposted, 25m L of the trail. A guide checked it and found water, but the 3 ltr we'd each taken up was sufficient.

Difficulties: getting to the SUMMIT apparently involves serious bushwhacking and some steep-looking ground. For the "tourist summit": typical Indo volcano ascent with some slippery mud
and a fair few scrambles assisted by tree roots; one section of easy rock scrambling.

Start: Kota Baru, c. 10km S of Bukittinggi. Look for a transmitter mast just E of the road summit. just N of road summit is a turning E: summitpost suggests it's called Jalan Tantawi but the only sign we found says "Lokasi Sekolah Darurat". Take this road E: after 50m turn R (SE) onto a potholed tarmac road negotiable by motorbike / high clearance vehicle. We had a motorbike lift to the microwave station about 3km along this road.

Route: As described above, find the turning off "Jalan Tantawi" and follow it SE (ignore any turnings) to reach the microwave transmitter station. Just befiore the microwave gate, a road/track leads L and snakes its way up thru farmland then becomes a naoow trail thru forest, which crosses a bamboo footbridge then soon ends at some hardstandings/building remains. A path continues beyond (initially sharp L up a steep bank). There are a few apparent path forks lower down: I suspect if you kept to the most well-trodden trail you would find your way: we had a guide. Eventually the forest is left behind and the route continues, vague at first but marked as always by litter, then a good zigzag path on firm rock. A rocky rise is reached: the route crosses a sandy area then reaches the crater rim and continues L along this then round to the "tourist summit". We tried to reach the tru summit by heading anticlockwise aroujd the forested rim but this led into dense bracken and mimosa which defeated us after 100m or so. A clockwise approach could be more successful - good luck if you try it.

Summit: our guide took us to what is evidently the "tourist summit": a neat cone of consolidated mud at the SE "corner" of the crater. It is fairly obvious to the eye that the forested "NE corner" of the old rim is higher - by some 100m as the GPS confirmed. As already discovered (Gunung Raung), the Indonesian definition of "the top" is somewhat flexible. the crater itself is an impressive affair with at least 3 active crater holes emitting sulfurous gas, one of which is too deep to properly see the bottom of.

Trig point: None found.

Notes/report: We hired a guide as described above. In fact the guy on the motorbike took us tio juts beyond the microwave station, where our mountain guide was waiting. The walk was straightforward as far as the "tourist summit". Our guide was somewhat bemued by our insistece on going to an apparently higher point. He said there was no path - he was right. We "summited" at 09:15: fine view which included the cone of Gunung Kerinci some 180km away. By the time we left, clouds had rolled in. The descent was straightforward. just below the microwave station is a shack where tea & coffee was offered; shortly afterwards we commandeered a motorbike to return us to Kota Baru; A passing opelet (minibus) charged about $0.30 to Bukittinggi then ataxi took us back to our hotel.

Weather: Dry cool initially thanks to 5 a.m. start. Clear at summit (09:15) but in cloud by 10:40. Our descent was also dry. The following day (seen from Singgalang ascent) Merapi's summit appeared to be in cloud all day.

NB: name is Marapi, as distinct from Merapi which is on Java: see
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4817 ft / 1468 m
    Extra Gain:33 ft / 10 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route:from NW: Kota Baru
    Trailhead:Kota Baru: microwave station  4336 ft / 1321 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 3?
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes

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