Mount Sibayak Volcano, Easy Trail
15.09.2011 - 15.09.2011
Kopi, toast and a fried egg got me going this morning so I could begin my long walk to the top of Sibayak.
The first leg of the journey was a 2km walk, seemed like 3km, to the road where you turn left to start the ascent of Sibayak. There's supposed to be an entrance office there, but instead you find a little restaurant with minivan buses parked in front. I walked on by, because, of course, there's no signage that it's the "office" where you pay the 1500 Rupiah. As I passed by a young kid came running out yelling, "Mister! Mister! You have to sign in and pay". So I went back and went through the formalities. Then he asked me if I had a guide, and I said no why. it's an asphalt road. He just gave a"what ever" look, and I started up the hill again. It's really not a very interesting walk, just a road through the jungle. On your way up many motorbikes will pass you, honk, and suffocate you with their black puffing exhaust. It took me 45 minutes to walk from the "entrance" to where the road splits to Sibolangit.
At this point you veer to the right and continue up; your almost there. It took me another 30 minutes to get to the next junction, where the road to the right goes along the bottom of the mountain to the Hot Spring. You want to keep going straight and up.
It's about another 30 strenuous minutes up a steep serpentine road to where the terrain levels off, and the road comes to an end. I must have missed the entry point for the stairs, because again, there's never any signage; but I did find another way up which connects with the stairs. You'll see a huge square cement hole in the ground, and you might see some motorbikes or vehicles parked near it. To the far left I found, what looks like a crack in the wall, which kind of resembles stairs going up. I squeezed through here and climbed up 4 meters, then there was a path which intersects the stairs.
Then it was just a matter of following the tunnel through the jungle to the valley at the top.
Once I got to the top, it's like stepping into another world. One of the first things you notice is Sibayak's sister Mount Sinabung, which erupted last year. As you climb a little further, you see the path continues on through the valley up until the crater rim. On the top there is a plateau of sorts and lots of sulfur vents. You'll see them giving off steam up ahead in the distance on your left; these are called fumaroles.
The sulfur smell wasn't bad at all, it was bearable and after a while you don't even notice. You also get a grand view of all the neighboring villages from the top.
There were a few volcanologists taking some readings while I was up there, one of them spoke really good English, and gave me a little information about Sibayak.
Gunung (mountain) Sibayak is the smaller of the two volcanoes, and has a height of about 2,094 meters or 6,870 ft. It's classified as a "B" type volcano, which means it's non - active. There not 100% sure when the last eruption was, but he said that it has been dormant for the last 100 years.
On the weekends many local kids like to climb up to the top and camp out, drink, play guitar and sing. When you look into the crater you can see the remnants of past visitors.
I ended up staying on top for 2 hours eating my lunch and walking around. It's really nice up there, and the surrounding view is amazing. It was very cloudy on this day, but it was really cool to see them roll over the top of the volcano, just passing around you.