Having met a French Canadian/Swiss couple staying at our bungalows also wanting to do the trek up Gunung Batur, a total price of 400,000IDR (around £30) was hastily agreed with our landlady to organise a guide who would pick the three of us and take us to the summit at sunrise. Chloe, for some unknown reason, decided it would be better to not get up at 4am to climb a 1700m volcano. The smile should have given it away…
First came the trek through the village of Toya Bungkah for 15 minutes, then trek through the thick woods for another half hour to get above the clouds, then the light grass for 15 minutes, then the pumice/volcanic solidified lava for the last hour and a bit to reach the rim of the volcano. All this on what must have been 1:4 gradient at the very least. There were a few stops along the way due to temporary exhaustion… The downward journey was a bit easier once getting under the clouds but still took around an hour and a half with a couple more stops.
After such exertion, I had to sit down for some breakfast – a boiled egg cooked in the steam of one of the hot vents. It took about 15 minutes to cook it it to perfection and it may have been the most welcome boiled egg in history.
In true Project Management style, my lessons learnt are as follows.
- When agreeing to share a trek with other people, just do a quick check to see if they are around the same level. For example, trekking with someone who was the first woman to climb a number of mountains in Switzerland can be fairly challenging.
- Check both guidebooks. According to the guidebook I didn’t read, it is possible to get to the summit by doing a half hour easier walk from a car park instead of over 2 hours trekking on 1:4 gradients.
- For all the aching muscles, it was so worth it. Amazing views, friendly and very encouraging/patient company. A sense of total achievement on many different occasions.