// Gamalama

Facts

Elevation: 1,715 m (5,627 ft) Prominence: 1,715 m
Ribu category: Google MarkerKurang Tinggi Province: Maluku Utara (North Moluccas)
Google Earth: kml Other names:
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Eruptions: 1510, 1538, 1561, 1605, 1635, 1643, 1648, 1653, 1659, 1676, 1686-87, 1737, 1739, 1763, 1770-75, 1811-12, 1814, 1831, 1833, 1835, 1838-47, 1849-50, 1862, 1864, 1868-69, 1871, 1895-98, 1907, 1911, 1918, 1923, 1932-33, 1938, 1962-63, 1980, 1983, 1988, 1990, 1993-94, 1996, 2003, 2007-08, 2011-12

Photos

GamalamaNext »
A great view of Gamalama from Ternate airport (Daniel Quinn, February 2010)A great view of Gamalama from Ternate airport (Daniel Quinn, February 2010)
A great view of Gamalama from Ternate airport (Daniel Quinn, February 2010)
Gamalama and Ternate island from Tidore (Andy Dean, May 2011)Gamalama and Ternate island from Tidore (Andy Dean, May 2011)
Gamalama and Ternate island from Tidore (Andy Dean, May 2011)
Trees and ocean from Gamalama (Andy Dean, May 2011)Trees and ocean from Gamalama (Andy Dean, May 2011)
Trees and ocean from Gamalama (Andy Dean, May 2011)
Gamalama crater (Andy Dean, May 2011)Gamalama crater (Andy Dean, May 2011)
Gamalama crater (Andy Dean, May 2011)

English

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Bagging It!

This volcano is the highest peak of Ternate island – indeed it comprises the whole island itself. Ternate was a very important place during the spice trades and the activity of this volcano was recorded by early explorers. It remains very active, most recently erupting in 2003, and Ternate residents often have to evacuate to neighbouring Tidore island. This is a legendary volcano and almost every house on the island was destroyed in the huge eruption of 1840.

A road leads up the lower slopes of the volcano from Tidore town. There are several plantation tracks from Marikurubu and, slightly further up the road, Air Tege Tege, which meet up higher up the volcano. Finding a guide should prove no problem whatsoever – the going rate for non-Indonesians is Rp 300,000 and is ‘compulsory’. Hikes do not get much more fragrant than this – cinnamon, cloves, durian and nutmeg cover the hillside. It takes just over 4 hours to climb to the rocky summit and just over 3 hours to descend. Not surprisingly, it is sometimes closed due to volcanic activity and it would be very unwise to ignore local warnings.

The villages of Marikurubu and Air Tege Tege lie roughly 400 metres above sea level so for the first hour or two it is very hot and exhausting climbing steeply through the forest. The best thing to do is to start as early as you can. At weekends, the hike is very popular with local teenagers who sometimes camp just below the summit.

After just under 3 hours of steep jungle trails there is a red and white danger sign. A little further on, the path flattens out and leads round to the left and through large reeds. The trail then descends slightly before ascending again to the edge of the vegetation and onto a steep section of sharp black volcanic rocks. Rubber gloves would be useful here to avoid cutting your hands.

You reach a false summit marked with numerous cairns and remains of campfires before dropping down again and then heading back up for the final 30 minute ascent to the actual summit and edge of the crater, currently marked by further cairns and a small green flag. The rocks here are hot and sulphur gas blows across the peak every two minutes or so. In good conditions the views are fantastic – the perfect cone of Kiematubu on Tidore, Halmahera island and numerous other small islands nearby. It takes approximately 3 hours to decend back to Marikurubu/Air Tege Tege but be careful to stay on the correct path or else you could easily end up further north at the village of Moya.

One of the finest views of the volcano itself is actually from near the airport where you are able to see the profile of the peak. There are several other Gamalama-related places worth a visit if you have time. Tolire Besar is a large crater lake on the northern side of the volcano – easily accessible by the road round the island. It was created in the 1770s during a huge eruption. If you are lucky you may be able to spot crocodiles lurking there. Batu Angus (burnt rock) is to be found at the north east of the island and is a huge area covered in large black rocks hurled out of the volcano in the massive 1712 eruption. Finally, near the starting point for the hike at Air Tege Tege is the oldest cengkeh (clove) tree on the island, Afo 2, said to be well over 300 years old.

Bagging information by Daniel Quinn

Practicalities

Getting there There are plenty of flights to Ternate island from Jakarta (usually via Manado and/or Makassar).
Accommodation Ternate town offers a reasonable selection.
Permits None required but take a photocopy of your passport photo page just incase.
Water sources Unknown – take sufficient supplies with you.
Recommended Hotel:
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm): ternate

Location

Links and References

Wikipedia English
Wikipedia Indonesia

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Trip Reports and Comments

6 entries for “Gamalama”

  1. avatar

    Ternate and Tidore were the original and only source of cloves, bringing the Portuguese and Spanish and later the Dutch and English to these islands. The history of these islands and European powers’ attempts to exercise influence over the spice trade is recorded in “Turbuoent Times Past in Ternate and Tidore, Willard A. Hanna and Des Alwi, 1990, Yayasan Warisan dan Budaya, Banda Naira.

    Visitors to Ternate should try to obtain as copy of this book locally if it is still in print.

    Posted by Nicholas Hughes | March 10, 2010, 14:46
  2. avatar

    Dan – an irrelevant but interesting fact for Muslims who may wish to pray in the ancient mosque of the Sultan of Ternate … Those who wish to enter the mosque are obliged to wear celana (trousers) rather thann sarong, as is customary for Friday prayers throughout Indonesia. The reason, as explained by the ulama, is that fishermen wear sarongs at sea and would return to the mosque for prayers in unclear garments. As the wearing of celena in mosques is quite unusual, the tradition may also have its origins in early Portugues-Spanish influence. Further research required!

    Posted by Nicholas Hughes | March 10, 2010, 15:12
  3. avatar

    Java Lava climbed Gama Lama September 09 2011.Would expect a little more time 4.5hrs up, 3.5 dowm for most climbers.On descent as trail re-enters clove/nutmeg forest, esy to get on the wrong ridge and have to backtrack, so useful to have guide/use GPS at this point

    Posted by Philip | September 14, 2011, 09:38
  4. Posted by chris | September 17, 2012, 18:07
  5. avatar

    Despite newsworthy eruptions in December 2011 and September 2012, Gamalama was open as usual for summit hiking in December 2012. With guide Basri (HP:085696422533) we started from the village of Moya (altitude 341m). Moya is up a separate road from Marukurubu, but still only about a 20 minute ojek ride from Kota Ternate. The hike is slightly longer but the gradient is gentler.

    After registering with the local village chief and donating a pack of cigarettes, we set out on a steep but manageable plantation and forest path. At a clearing at 1360m, marked during our visit by a pile of campers’ trash waiting to be burned, the trail from Moya joins up with the trail from Marukurubu. About 10 minutes further up the trail passes an illegible warning sign and enters an area of reeds, as described in Dan’s report. However, the “sharp black volcanic rocks” Dan describes must have either moved or disintegrated during a recent eruption. The false summit is now easily reached at the top of a sandy ridge (alt. 1601m); unless you’re planning to geothermally heat your camp dishwashing water, you can leave your rubber gloves at home!

    The final cone presents a dilemma. An ascent straight up the east side looks dauntingly steep. An easier approach is to move around to the south and walk up along the crater rim, but you might have more sulfurous gas blowing over you than you feel comfortable with. But there’s less gas as you move higher up the rim toward the summit, which stood at 1736m altitude on our GPS- perhaps it has grown!

    According to Basri, the crater has altered substantially, with a large gash in the southwest corner, and new areas of gas emissions around the crater floor.

    Views were good toward Halmahera, but not toward Tidore. We descended via the direct and steep route to Marukurubu. An advantage of this route is that if you missed the Tidore view from the summit, you get a second chance to see it through the trees, with Moti and Makian lined up behind.

    Ascent time was 4h30m and descent 4h.

    Posted by John Hargreaves | January 5, 2013, 15:08
  6. avatar

    I climbed Gamalama last Thursday morning with fantastic views from the top over the “four mountains” with blue sky and some light layers of morning mist over the seas.
    I found it an absolutly amazing view over a stunning archipelago, one of the best I´ve seen and can only highly recommend it.
    As I used this fine informative site to find inspiration and information beforehand, I would like to update a few infos I would have liked to have.
    I stayed at Nusantara Hotel, good place though over my usual pricerange. Cheaper accomodation seemed hard to find in Kota Ternate, but on our drive down from Marikurubu we passed a homestay that should be cheaper and is in a nicer, more quiet location.
    Basri´s phonenumber in John´s post is not active anymore, but staff at the hotel managed to put me in contact with him.
    As Basri was busy with work the day I intendet to climb, he put me in contact with a friend named Idod who also climbed Gamalama several times and went with me the next morning.
    He picked me up at 5:30 at my hotel and we were walking from Marikurubu village shortly after.The first half hour we used a torch before there was enough “daylight”.
    About half way up we had fantastic views of Tidore in the early morning light.
    As I was concerned about potential clouds rolling in, I raced ahead and reached the caldera behind the high grass after 2 hrs. The views were absolutly amazing.
    From there, after a short descend, we started the final ascend at the less steep looking left side of the cone.
    I found ascending the ravines where the water has washed out the loose soil easier and more stable to get up on. It is a good idea to stay close together as it is steep enough for some rockfall if you break out some of the bigger rocks you want to hold onto.
    Gamalama was definetly active, smoking and smelling, but didn´t seem dangerous.
    Total climbing time was about 2,5 hrs but I was completly sweaty wet and do climb quite a lot of mountains regulary.
    Try to be up there as early as possible to avoid clouds and enjoy the morning light.
    We stayed for about 1,5 hrs and took a lot of pictures.
    To contact the guides, Basri (HP 082395443843 or 085757447488, mail bastonthebumi@yahoo.com ) and Idod (HP 085340762013, mail Idodmaudjud@gmail.com )it is a good idea to give a few days notice as the both study and work.
    I climbed with Idod, a very nice and knowlegeable guy who speaks very good english.
    They also have climbed most, if not all the other volcanoes in the region, including Halmahera should you be interested. I will definetly return with some more time.
    If “gunungbagging” moderators are interested in some more pictures for the gallrey, let me know.

    Posted by Stefan Reians | February 9, 2014, 16:12

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