Climbing Gunung Kerinci on the island of Sumatra is one thing, but just getting there is another. The bus journey from Padang can be anything between six and nine hours, and crosses the spine of Sumatra. Be prepared for an arduous, but hilarious time! You usually arrive in the village of Kersik Tua after dark, but the dawn brings extensive views of well-manicured tea plantations and the peak it’self – cloud permitting. Rain and hailstorms are not uncommon here as you are already at 1500m.
Sitting in the Kerinci Selat National Park, the peak is approached down a long plantation road, before you break into dense jungle. Thankfully little logging is allowed here and much of the canopy is untouched. Gibbons can be seen swinging through the trees .
There are a number of campsites high on the peak, (remnants from Dutch colonisation), from where we set off in the dark for a sunrise summit. The vegetation soon ends with slopes of dusty pumice, before you reach the craters rim and hear the dull roar below. The air will be filled with the smell of sulphur and all of Central Sumatra will be laid before you.
Photo: Rob Woodall