Gunung Agung

Rising high above the warm waters of North-Eastern Bali stands the mighty volcano Gunung Agung. At 3300m it is high enough to trap clouds and create weather patterns, the ‘mother mountain’ is a sacred mountain to the Balinese and one heck of a climb to the top.

We began at midnight. It was an interesting experience to hike with no idea where we were going or where we have come from. The only thing we knew, we were going up, high up.

Quickly the clouds moved in, and bodies were shrouded in white mist. Half way up, the toll started to weigh heavily on some of our group and when it became apparent that we wouldn’t see a sunrise, three of them huddled together on the mountainside to wait out our return. Over the next three hours they would shiver together as they tried to catch some sleep and survive in the wet windy conditions.

The steady trudge turned into a fourth class scramble and soon we were scampering over wet volcanic rock. It was classic misty conditions, an adventure it was turning into.. The three that continued, Charlotte from Belgium, Rob Niven from Canada and myself were having a dandy time. Charlotte was like a cat on her way up the mountain and Rob and I scampered up like the mountain goats we are trained to be.

Some people thrive on these conditions, perhaps it is because it makes a good story afterwards but it makes me feel alive. We arrived on the top and were greeted with cold, wet, mountain weather and 20 feet of visibility. Some would consider the five hour hike a waste of time without the sunrise but I will always disagree. Despite the fact that we couldn’t see anything from the top, the crater, the sunrise or even Bali, it was still wonderful. As usual, the descent was even more difficult but thankfully we managed to get down the slippery slopes in the tropical rain without mishaps. Would I do it again? Tomorrow.

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