“Gunung Bragging!” – The Hall of Fame List December 2010
Initially, 20 Ribus did not seem like a large number of peaks to have as a threshold for joining the Hall of Fame, but there appear to be surprisingly few people who have climbed 20 or more. There are a substantial number of people who have climbed between 12 and 18, Indonesians and expatriates alike, so hopefully people will be inspired to climb some new Ribus. Below is the first edition of the Hall of Fame (for end of 2010). The list will be updated at the end of every year. Please contact us if you wish to be listed. Please note that there are undoubtedly some people who have climbed more than 35 Ribus (current highest total) – both Indonesian and expatriate. However, whether they have reached the true summit of more than 35 is unknown. Some hikers have probably lost count of where they’ve been!
|Name||Nationality||Year of Birth||Number of Ribus||Number of Spesials|
|Ribus||Agung, Arjuno, Batukaru, Bukittunggul, Butak, Cikuray, Ciremai, Galunggung (Beuticanar), Gamalama, Ili Boleng, Ili Labalekang, Inerie, Karang, Kerinci, Kiematubu, Klabat, Lawu, Merbabu, Muria, Pangrango, Penanggungan, Poco Ngandonalu, Rajabasa, Rantemario, Salak, Sawal, Semeru, Sindoro, Singgalang, Slamet, Sumbing, Tambora, Tampomas, Tanggamus, Ungaran|
|Spesials||Batur, Bromo (Pananjakan), Dieng (Prau), Guntur (Masigit), Jantan, Malabar (Puncak Besar), Patuha, Tangkuban Parahu, Pulosari, Sangga Buana, Telomoyo|
|Notes||Favourite area at the moment is definitely Nusa Tenggara Timur for its many wonderful peaks with 360 degree summit views generally unobstructed by trees and also very low levels of local bureaucracy! Favourite hikes – Tambora (an obvious choice) and Butak (because of how surprisingly good the views are at dawn). Least favourites include Bukittunggul and Tanggamus – no views! Lots of near misses and failed attempts to reach the highest point!…. Rinjani summit closed to trekkers (08/2009), Marapi to puncak Merpati only (04/2010), unsure of Papandayan summit location (05/2010), seemingly no trail to highest point on Parang (05/2010), vegetation on Ijen-Merapi (07/2010) too dense, too scared to climb to highest point of Egon (08/2010), to Lamongan crater only on Lamongan (Tarub) (08/2010), no trail to highest peak of Salahutu (12/2010), turned back on Liman (12/2010) due to terrain, company and laziness. Aims for 2011 is to find the true summit of Papandayan and to reach a total of 50 Ribus – that’s only 15 more but they’re getting harder as there are less and less new Ribus reachable in a regular weekend from Jakarta.|
|Name||Nationality||Year of Birth||Number of Ribus||Number of Spesials|
|Ribus||Agung, Argopuro, Arjuno, Batukaru, Bukittunggul, Butak, Cikuray, Ciremai, Klabat, Lamongan (Tarub), Lawu, Liman, Merapi, Merbabu, Pangrango, Penanggungan, Rajabasa, Rinjani, Semeru, Sindoro, Slamet, Sumbing, Ungaran|
|Spesials||Anak Krakatau, Banda Api, Batur, Bromo (Pananjakan), Dieng (Prau), Guntur (Masigit), Halimun (North) Kelimutu, Kelud, Patuha, Tangkuban Parahu|
|Notes||Have also visited Papandayan crater, Egon crater rim (2009), Puncak Trikora area (2008), Lokon crater (2010) and Angkasan in the Leuser range (2010).|
|Name||Nationality||Year of Birth||Number of Ribus||Number of Spesials|
|Ribus||Agung, Argopuro, Arjuno, Binaiya, Cikuray, Ciremai, Dempo, Kerinci, Lawu, Merapi, Merbabu, Pangrango, Rajabasa, Raung, Rinjani, Salak, Semeru, Sindoro, Slamet, Sumbing, Talakmau, Tambora, Ungaran|
|Notes||Have also visited Marapi puncak Merpati and Bawakaraeng (South Sulawesi, 2010). Comments on his ascent to the true summit of Gunung Raung: “The true peak of Mount Raung is the special one, the trek is very challenging. An extra effort and well planning is needed to reach the highest point, and climbers will meet all the expected challenges at that mountain. I must say this is the hardest trail in Java.”|
Why Have a Hall of Fame?
Although looking at lists of mountains like the Ribus is always secondary to the actual experience of being out there in the mountains – enjoying the fresh air, the scenery and the exercise – there is an undoubted pleasure in keeping track of the peaks you’ve visited. Unlike in several other countries where mountain climbing is equally – or more – popular, there has not to our knowledge been any attempt to create a record of people’s hiking achievements in Indonesia. The Ribus are based on objective criteria (i.e 1,000 metre prominence) and so we hope to utilise this to keep a record of people’s hiking achievements – if they want to be included.
Given the immensity of the challenge of climbing all the Ribus (and the fact that nobody knew where they all were until now) it is pretty much impossible that anyone will have climbed all 222 of them! Indeed, we think that at present no single person has reached the top of more than about 50 Ribus, although it is probable that at least 100 peaks on the list are relatively accessible and have been climbed on at least several occasions. Perhaps 50 Ribus or more are visited by hikers on at least a weekly basis during the dry season.
Hall of Fame Criteria
If you have climbed 20 or more Ribus (excluding Spesial peaks) you can join the Gunung Bagging Hall of Fame. If you would like to be added, please contact us with a list of your bagged Ribus and Spesials, and including any “significant attempts” when you came close but failed to reach the absolute summit for some reason.
There can be many reasons for failing to reach the summit:
- Volcanic activity (or the weather) can make it too dangerous to reach the highest point. The trek to Merapi (Central Java) is an example of a relatively straightforward hike to the summit area of a volcano, but not to the summit itself (which was completely altered, in 2006 and most recently in the 2010 eruption). Hikers who visited the highest point prior to 2006 (Garuda’s Wing) can reasonably claim to have reached the summit if they managed to get their head above the highest point of the huge piece of rock. Between 2006 and 2010 however, the highest point was part of a new lava dome which was simply too dangerous and utterly irresponsible to visit. Note: nobody has been to the top since the 2010 eruptions but apparently the summit area is vastly different once again – possibly with a new 400m wide crater and may well now be baggable!
- Technical climbing skills are required. Gunung Raung (East Java), Puncak Trikora (Papua) and Egon (East Nusa Tenggara) require climbing ropes and/or intermediate rock-climbing skills in order to reach the highest point.
- Dense vegetation / jungle / no trail. Some peaks are covered in dense vegetation. Occasionally, finding a route to the top can be very difficult, if not impossible. Trails become overgrown quickly and if tops are not visited for a number of years the vegetation can become so dense that there is no visible trail and/or the vegetation is just too dense to walk through. Papandayan and Galunggung (Beuticanar), both in West Java, are notable examples of overgrown trails. Marapi in West Sumatra is not baggable by any conventional route, although a handful of hikers have apparently opened up a new trail which does reach the summit from a totally new direction. We hope this site will help encourage new hiking routes and the regeneration of old, forgotten trails.
- Mystifying legal reasons. There are a number of peaks in Java (and elsewhere) officially closed to the general public. This a fairly recent problem – peaks which were often climbed in the past have been closed by Forestry or National Park authorities, mainly because they do not have sufficient resources to maintain a network of trails in the short-term even though in the long-term the amount of tourism revenue would probably be high if people knew of their existence. Annoyingly, waivers stating you are entirely responsible for your safety and behaviour (which you would be normally, anyway) are rarely granted except to scientists conducting research. It’s a lose-lose situation but in general Indonesian hikers don’t seem to mind and the media have bigger fish to fry. You can either enter the lengthy and expensive process of negotiation with authorities or just get on with it and try to climb them anyway.
- Not knowing where the summit actually is. A less common and more humorous reason for not reaching the highest point will be simply that you didn’t know where the very top was, perhaps due to excessive vegetation or a very flat mountain top with several peaks of seemingly similar elevation. Even a guide might not actually know where the true summit is and they can even get you lost. Liman, Pesawaran (Ratai), Palung (Ponti) and Rajabasa fall into this category but we have tried to provide information on this site which specifies the likely highest point.
Of course, reaching the highest point is not the most important part of going for a hike and considering the dangers you may face it is occasionally unwise to attempt at all. However, we want to keep this list as stringent and professional as other mountain lists worldwide. For Gunung Bagging purposes, (and despite probable accusations of pedantry!) this means that if you haven’t reached the highest point then you can’t claim to have ‘bagged’ it. However, be sure to mention such attempts in your email to us so that other hikers know what to expect on tricky or particularly active peaks.
Known Difficult Peaks
Many of the Ribus and Spesials are very hard to conquer! This is due to a number of reasons. The highest point may be in dense vegetation with no path whatsoever, part of an active lava dome, on a knife-edged crater rim or ridge, in a tribal conflict area or require moderate rock climbing skills or a hike of two weeks or more! Here is an initial list of some of the trickier summits that we know about so far – please see individual mountain pages for more details. N.B. Most peaks in Kalimantan and Papua are likely to be very difficult. We hope to make updates as and when we have new information. We also hope to conduct expeditions to these summits if/when it is safe to do so.
- Papandayan (Malang) – The summit is in dense vegetation and there would appear to be no trail there at present.
- Galunggung (Beuticanar) – The summit is rarely-visited and so the trail is vague and overgrown. In June 2010, Gunung Bagging conducted an expedition along with Napak Rimba hiking club from Tasikmalaya to re-open the trail. It is currently marked from Telaga Bodas with yellow and blue string but is likely to become overgrown again soon.
- Parang – The summit is in dense vegetation.
- Kelud – The summit rocks require rock climbing skills – ropes are probably needed.
- Liman – this remote mountain is difficult to reach given the terrain (rarely-used) and lack of local knowledge about what is a very complex range of peaks.
- Lamongan (Tarub) – The summit is rarely visited and overgrown. In October 2008, local hiking enthusiast Pak Iwan Erfanto led what was one of only a handful of recent expeditions to the summit of Tarub from Klakah via Lamongan, taking 4 days there and back. Gunung Bagging went to Tarub in January 2011 from Ranu Gedang.
- Merapi – this highly active volcano is too dangerous to climb at present – the highest point until November 2010 was part of a lava dome which emerged in 2006. Prior to 2006 it was possible to reach the highest point, a huge rock slab called Puncak Garuda. After the lava dome emerged Puncak Garuda was no longer the highest point. In May 2010, what remained of Puncak Garuda collapsed completely. The lava dome remained the highest point of the mountain until October/November 2010 when devastating, huge eruptions changed the shape of the volcano. It could well be that the highest point will be accessible next year once the activity has returned to a lower level.
- Ijen (Merapi) – Whilst Ijen crater is very popular with visitors, the top of the massif, Gunung Merapi, is hardly ever visited. It is a great place – there are several sandy craters to explore. The highest point is covered in dense vegetation. Java Lava either reached the summit or got very close indeed in 2006 but since then all attempts have been thwarted by the density of the vegetation.
- Baluran – This mountain peak is very rarely visited and there is only a vague trail through the dense forest. You need to contact National Park staff well in advance to try to arrange local help.
- Sumbing – The highest point of the crater rim is mildly difficult to reach. Confident scramblers should have no difficulty.
- Raung – The highest point of the crater rim is difficult to reach. It requires a very long hike in and ropes for rock climbing.
- Karangetang – The volcano is incredibly active and dangerous.
- Marapi – The summit is in dense vegetation. It is not accessible from the usual route to the crater from Kotobaru. The common approach goes to Puncak Merapi only. A rarely used approach from Kacawali in the north – first opened by a hiking group from Padang University – is the only route to the true summit which is crowned with a triangulation pillar.
- Tujuh – The climb to the summit is very steep and has apparently only been climbed once or twice.
- Seulawah Agam – trekking agencies currently unwilling to hike there due to Aceh militant groups training in the area.
- Salahutu – Although local hikers climb to a lesser nearby top, the highest peak of the range is rarely visited and if there is a trail it is likely to be very vague.
Nusa Tenggara Timur:
- Egon – The highest point of the crater rim is difficult to reach. It requires good scrambling skills over very exposed and slippery terrain. Rob Woodall made a complete circuit of the rim in August 2010 and Wolfgang Piecha reached the summit on a Java Lava trip in April 2009.
- Lewotobi – Apparently you are not allowed to climb to the very top due to poisionous gases.
- Daik – At present, nobody has reached the top of the mountain. Apparently it is a very difficult rock climb.
- Puncak Trikora – Ropes are needed for a rock climb at the very top.
- Arfak (Umsini) – There is a current conflict between two neighbouring tribes which makes access to the peak rather difficult.
- Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid) – Indonesia’s highest mountain is very expensive – especially for foreigners – and rock climbing skills are needed.