- Elevation: 1,992 m (6,535 ft)
- Prominence: 1,065 m
- Ribu category: Kurang Tinggi
- Province: Nusa Tenggara Timur
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: Poco Mblek, Poco Desu
Curunumbeng is one of the most mysterious and little-known mountain peaks in Flores. Even the name is largely unrecognized by locals and may actually refer to a lesser mountain top further west. The mountain is never climbed for pleasure’s sake, but there are hunters’ trails on the lower slopes and one track actually leads over the shoulder of the mountain range from Matavai to southern Lembor. As there are two or three peaks of a very similar elevation, it probably makes more sense to attempt to reach the true summit from the eastern side at Kampung Bumbek near Matavai. However, given that the trail Gunung Bagging used from this side in July 2013 reaches a dead end just a few hundred metres below the summit ridge would suggest that an attempt from the northwest at Rangga, climbing via the second-highest peak first before ascending again to the true Curunumbeng peak may be worth a go.
The top of Curunumbeng is actually quite close to the Trans-Flores road, but all of the hairpin bends in this area make it very difficult to work out where best to start, even with a GPS! The route towards the mountain from the east starts in Kampung Bumbek (900m) where you will be able to find a local villager to take you up the mountain, and leads through coffee plantation and then up a valley with a small stream in it. Apparently, some help was given to the villagers’ water supply and irrigation methods earlier in 2013 by a Dutch organization based in Ruteng. The trail is well-defined but muddy and steep and therefore very slippery indeed. Looking back, you will see the western end of the Mandasawu mountain range between two outlying peaks of the Curunumbeng range.
In less than an hour you will pass a minor junction. Down to the right are a couple of farm huts and it is via this route that villagers sometimes climb over the shoulder of the range and descend towards Lembor. This takes one full day if you set out early enough, but sometimes the locals camp one night on the mountain. Continuing straight ahead towards the top of Curunumbeng, the trail passes along a flat, overgrown ridge before leading into proper forest. The trail is pretty steep in parts but it leads directly towards the summit.
Unfortunately the trail simply peters out at a pile of wood cuttings (1,560m). It is possible to climb another hundred metres or so up steep, pathless forest terrain to a cluster of large rocks (1,685m). It should have taken you about 2 and a half hours to reach this point. From the rocks, you can look back down towards the village and also up at the very wild, dense forest near the summit. Villagers have never heard of Curunumbeng, and call this mountain Poco Mblek. To complicate matters still further, the Bakosurtanal map lists the peak as ‘Poco Desu’ with a height of 1,992m.
From here, the terrain is so steep and overgrown you would need at least one night of cutting a trail to the top to get up there and no villagers from Bumbek have ever been up there. When they do climb, it is to collect wood, or go hunting wild pigs. It appears there are very few – if any – deer (‘rusa’) living up here. Apparently there is a junglefowl population living on the slopes of the mountain but we never saw any nests on our trip.
To descend the same way shouldn’t take more than 2 hours.
For those considering trying to reach the summit from a different route, the most obvious would appear to be from Rangga (about 900m) which is on the northwest side of the mountain range, closer to Lembor. However, as noted above, the first peak you would reach from the Rangga side would only be the second highest. Whether there is a trail to the top of it remains to be seen, but the chances of a trail leading down a couple of hundred metres to the col between the two before then leading up to the true highest peak is pretty unlikely.
Bagging information by Dan Quinn (August 2013)
- Getting there: Curunumbeng is about 1 and a half hours from Ruteng or 2 and a half from Labuanbajo. There is an airport in Ruteng but the local flights are only a couple of times per week. Labuanbajo has plenty of flights, mainly to Denpasar.
- Accommodation: There are several hotels in Ruteng. Unfortunately none of them are good quality or good value. The only exception is not a hotel as such but the Wisma Santa Maria Catholic Convent House. This is usually booked up so make sure you reserve a room well in advance. If staying in the popular Labuanbajo, there are plenty to suit all budgets but be aware it is quite a distance to the mountain.
- Permits: Not required but take a copy of your passport photo page just incase.
- Water sources: Take sufficient supplies with you, although the trail crosses a stream several times near the beginning on the Matavai route (last at around 1,200m).
- Travel insurance: We recommend World Nomads insurance, which is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities including mountain hiking.
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