- Elevation: 1,982 m (6,503 ft)
- Prominence: 810 m
- Ribu category: Spesial
- Province: Sumatera Utara (North Sumatra)
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: none
This lovely mountain is located near Pangururan just to the west of Samosir island and Lake Toba. It is best known for the (very) hot springs that are located on its lower slopes and as the place where the first Batak man was supernaturally born. It is therefore regarded as a sacred hill by many Batak people and is frequently climbed whether for spiritual purposes or simply to enjoy the tremendous views from the summit.
The most popular starting point is Desa Sarimarrihit (1,080m) which is southwest of the peak and about 1hr 30min from Tuk Tuk or 30min from Pangururan. To get to Sarimarrihit from Pangururan, head along the main road waords Tele, through Desa Boho, before taking a right turn up to Sarimarrihit. The starting point is the crossroads with a sign pointing to Batu Sawan on the right. You are requested to register at the Pos by the crossroads before hiking but the Pos is not always open (see below).
Assuming you hike from Sarimarrihit, the trail is very clear and for the most part very wide. The most important thing to remember is to take a left turn when you reach a junction at 1,200m just before a wooden house on the Batu Sawan track. For fit hikers it should take no more than 3 hours to reach the summit and 2 hours to return. Be aware that the peak is deforested and therefore there is little shade to be found. The upside of this is excellent, panoramic views, as the trail winds its way round the peak offering vistas in many different directions.
Should you have difficulty registering at Sarimarrihit (such as starting at night for sunrise on the summit), it is possible to continue further along the same road, take a right turn until you reach a narrow farm trail just beyond the Geopark / Birthplace of the Batak King (‘Perkampungan Si Raja Batak’, 1,250m). You are now west of the peak itself. From here, armed with a GPS, you ought to be able to find your way to the top though the paths are narrow, muddy and slippery until you meet the main wide trail from Sarimarrihit and Batu Sawan.
Whilst the mountain has no obvious active crater as such, the hot springs on the north-eastern base of the mountain are evidence of considerable volcanic activity below. Indeed, halfway up the main trail you will be able to smell sulphur.
The higher slopes of the mountain are quite lush and the views of both near and distant ridges is very pleasant indeed. You will probably meet local campers either on the summit itself or down near a large pond below the summit or even on a lower ridge to the left of the main trail. In the dark it can be difficult finding the way up to the summit as near the top there are many little paths and they seem to circle the mountain rather than going directly toward the summit. A bit of trial and error and you should be there in time for sunrise.
The highest point is crowned with a large white monument including numerous dishes and places to presumably leave offerings. There are also 3 flag poles and numerous pine trees. The views down towards Pangururan and Lake Toba itself are very impressive, especially in the early morning light.
Recommended as a straightforward and rewarding hike – even to the inexperienced – in one of Indonesia’s most fantastic regions.
Bagging information by Dan Quinn (May 2017)
- Getting there: Best done either from Medan or Silangit via the Parapat – Tuk Tuk ferry. Medan to Parapat is about 4.5 hours whereas Silangit is only 2 hrs away. The starting point is a further 1.5 hours from Tuk Tuk. Ultimately the closest airport to the mountain is Silangit which is only 2 hours in total via the road to Pangururan west of Lake Toba (no need to use a ferry from that side), but most people base themselves in Tuk Tuk.
- Accommodation: Available in several places on Samosir island including Tuk Tuk and Pangururan.
- Guides and GPS Tracks: Want a PDF version for your phone? Looking for a guide? Need GPS tracks and waypoints? Pusuk Buhit information pack can be downloaded here.
- Permits: It depends which route you take. The popular starting of Desa Sarimarrihit has a Pos building where you are supposed to register. The fee is Rp2,000 per hiker, plus Rp20,000 for motorbike parking or Rp30,000 for car parking (2017). Unfortunately this Pos seems to be closed at night which makes a night ascent from there rather awkward.
- Water sources: A couple of ponds on the higher slopes of the mountain for use in an emergency but we recommend bringing enough bottled water.
- 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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