Mount Kerinci

Saturday morning two weeks ago I started hiking up the Kerinci volcano. I stayed in the Paiman homestay, which is directly situated on the main road from Kersik Tuo. I could rent there beside a mattress, a sleeping bag also a tent for my stay on the mountain. There was another group consisting of 4 domestic tourists from Jakarta with their 3 guides/porters started at the same time. They only had very small day backpacks, whereas the porters carry about 30 kg. I was at my own and could therefore also go my own speed. Due to the additional stuff and food for two days, I guess my backpack was also about 15 kg. The route itself is not technical difficult nor exposed at all. But I can easily imagine that it can become very slippery during rain. Furthermore there are sometimes different variants, and one can choose the way one prefers, because in the end all paths are going up. I took my time, I was not in a hurry and was just walking up a continuous pace. In the end I was in 5.5 hours at the camp 3, faster than I expected also because of the luggage. The campground is completely covered with waste and looks more like a landfill than a nice campsite in a national park. I pitched up the tent and discovered that it’s pretty huge and has space for 4 people. OK, no big deal, I just have a little bit more space…but, both zippers were broken. Hence, I can’t close the tent properly…not starting very well. Then I unpack the sleeping bag and saw two things: It’s only made for persons up to 185 cm and the comfort temperature is 15°C. As the camp is at 3,300 metres above sea level, the temperature differerence to sea level is, according to the standard atmosphere, 21.45°C…without wind chill effect. Hence, it can be expected that the temperature drop goes down to 5-7°C. All in all, the night might become a bit chilly. Then I started to look for some water, but unfortunately the creek was dried out because there was no rain since about one week. After searching around for about one hour I could find a small waterhole. Luckily I had my water filter with me, after used it the first time on my trip. The water tastes a bit sweet and like moss, but I think it was save to drink. I still had 1.5 litre of water after arrival at camp 3, but nevertheless during my search I was thinking of different options what to do, if I don’t have water. There was still 500 metres altitude to the top and then all the way down of about 2,400 metres altitude. So the 1.5 litres could be a bit short for all the way. But luckily I found water. When I returned from my water search there were 3 wild dogs chasing for my food around my tent. But I had put these on the old from from the hut, so they only could smell it, but not reach it. Nevertheless I was a bit afraid of them. Even if they were not (yet?) aggressive. I was more warned from Sumatra tigers, because these are endemic here. After early dinner and enjoy the sunset alone in camp 3, as the other group seem to camp elsewhere, I went into my tent. I put on 5 layers on my upper body, everything except my hard shell jacket, as well as 2 pairs of trousers, but only one pair of socks. As my feet get cold, even as I was inside my sleeping bag I could feel a steadily cold air stream, and even as I tried to temporarily fix the zipper with one of my carabiners, I finally put on my raining trousers. Just up to my knees in order to get my feet inside the pants, which was very effective. The whole night felt more like a bivouac than a proper sleeping, as one side of my body was always cold, maybe just due to some radiation. In the end it was the highest camp I’ve ever done, and it reminds me again, that outdoor activities with poor gear, can be a really bad idea. After having a small snack and getting off of most of my clothes, I finally started the summit attemp at 4 o’clock. Shortly after the camp the vegetation ceased. Now there’s no longer mud but a lot of loose stone on top of the rocks, which can be also somehow slippery. Even as I was going just a slow pace, as I didn’t want to start sweating, I already arrived after 90 minutes at the summit, about half an hour before sunrise. In the distance I could see lightnings and was a bit afraid they would come close, but eventually they stayed away. One strange thing occurred while I was on the summit, as I saw four different headlights on the ridge between camp 3 and the summit. I thought they were walking up. After it got lighter the headlights disappeared, and I thought the persons just turned them off, but in the end nobody else arrived on the summit, nor did I met anybody on the way back to my camp. I was pretty lucky as the cloud of dust and sulphur from the volcano was pushed to the east due to the west wind. If there’s another wind direction, it might be impossible to reach the summit, or the volcano might be active at all. Shortly after sunrise I went back to my camp. During that I broke off a loose large rock, because I thought it’s solid, luckily only my shin was scratched a bit, and the location was not exposed at all. During the descend I met the other group, which stayed during the night in camp 1 and another group just with two girls, which took care about their make up. Yes, that’s the most important thing you should care about, when you’re hiking a mountain. After I left the national park a local farmer gave me a ride on his scooter to Kersik Tuo.

Mount Kerinci
A farmer on the way to his field with the scooter
The leafs of the trees look like as they are exposed to a very humid weather
Due to a lot of tourists the paths are now serious eroded and deep muddy “valleys” were formed
That’s camp 3…no it’s not a landfill, but it could be easily accounted for
Luckily I found this small waterhole and could refill my bottle with the help of my water filter
Above the skies during…
…moon rise and…
…sunset…oh which cotton wool monster is coming here 😱
Lightnings from large CB’s…luckily in the distance
Sunrise on the peak
During the blue hour on the caldera
I was just alone on the peak at this lovely day
Lake Gunung Tujuh, which is said to be the highest lake in South-East-Asia during sunrise
The tea plantation is on the plain area, where other vegetables like potatoes are grown on more sloppy areas
Interesting that each farmer has to attend a German language class before he’s allowed to use this device 😅
GPX track

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