|Elevation:||1,340 m (4,396 ft)||Prominence:||1,340 m|
|Ribu category:||Kurang Tinggi||Province:||Sulawesi Utara (North Sulawesi)|
|Google Earth:||kml||Other names:|
|Eruptions:||1646, 1711, 1812, 1856, 1875, 1883, 1885, 1892-93, 1913, 1921-22, 1930-31, 1966, 1968, 1992, 2004|
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Mount Awu is a volcano which dominates the northern part of Great Sangihe island and seems to have incredibly active phases followed by several years of only minimal activity. The last major eruption was in 2004 when a new lava dome emerged and it looks rather similar to Kelud in East Java. The volcano is usually safe to climb and the hike to and from the crater rim can easily be accomplished in one day.
The usual trailhead at Kampung Angges is just 10 kilometres or so from the main town of Tahuna and at less than 100 metres above sea level. After reaching the end of the road (140m), the pleasant trail leads up through coconut , via several huts suitable for taking a rest, and several areas with Pos signs. A particularly nice hut is at 400m just after a steep section of trail. A little further along you will notice what appears to be a volcanology sensor (580m). Pos 6 is at 643m and is reached in about 2 hours in total from the start. It is clear that the volcano is climbed fairly often by local hiking enthusiasts but there is very little litter despite people camping here. There are a few leeches but they seem to be a lazy variety that can be pulled off incredibly easily. Not much further on from Pos 6 the forest clears and there are great views back down to Tahuna bay and the southern side of the island. The trail follows a ridge with medium height vegetation – and one large rock you need to climb over (710m) – and the views remain generally good from this point on.
A few sections of the trail require minor scrambling and one part especially is simply a steep – potentially slippery – rockface next to a water pool. Beyond the little rockface is Pos 8 (990m). After this the trail gets steeper and the views more panoramic (including the airport to the east) as you weave your way up to the crater rim (1,250m). In good weather the rim is a wonderful place to sit and admire the lava dome and steep cliff walls. Unfortunately the highest point of the rim is on the other side (perhaps 1.5km away) and is not easily accessible from this approach. Heading anticlockwise you would soon find yourself on steep cliff-faces and heading clockwise could well land you in dangerous terrain. It is alleged that hikers have managed to climb round once or twice, but you would really need to camp up here for a night in order to have a proper attempt at it.
According to our guide, a trail leads straight up to the highest peak from Desa Kendahe, but very little seems to be known about this approach at present and it is definitely not the preferred route – perhaps because the best views are to be found on the Angges side.
It should have taken you about 4 hours to reach the rim and it is recommended to allow 2.5 – 3.5 for the descent. There are plenty of angkots/bemos available down at the main road in Angges which will take you back into Tahuna town.
Bagging information provided by Dan Quinn (March 2013)