Mt. Agung: the highest peak of Bali

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Mt Agung, Bali

Agung, we met again! I did not think I will climb it again. Last year’s climb was amazing, an unforgettable experience, but it also was the toughest and physically most exhausting thing I have ever done! This time, when I came back to Bali and saw the peak of Mount Agung appearing above the clouds, I knew I want to climb it again. This time I wanted to get to the highest point of Bali, 3142m above the see level with 360 degrees panoramic view of the island. 19 hours at the volcano, 30 hours without sleep, amazing sunrise at the highest point of Bali, cold wind and a steep way down. Yes, I climbed Mount Agung for the second time and I loved it.

There are 2 major tracks for climbing Mt. Agung: shorter path with 5-6 hour climb to the peak of 3000m, and the longer path that starts from Besakih Temple and takes at least 7-8 hours (if you are very fit and do not take long breaks). Most of the people climb longer path with the tent and sleeping bags, so to take a break and rest somewhere on the way. We climbed without any gear, trying to sleep under the starry sky. Check out my post from last year about my climb to 3000m point.

The guide:
We started our hike from the highest temple of the Besakih complex (here is the location 08°21′50.6″S 115°27′41.83″E). We were at the temple at 5pm, and it took us almost two hours to haggle the price and get the permit to climb. So yes, we got stopped by the guides and they did not want to let us go without paying. I heard a lot about not listening to them and still climbing without paying, and coming back to flat tires. So we decided not to risk it. The guide told us the price of 600.000 (40€) per person. To make the long story short, we collected all the small money we had with us and told him that, it was everything we got. At the end we paid around 100.000 (~7€x) per person.

The hike:
At 7pm we finally started our way towards the highest Bali peak! We were walking slow, but at a comfortable pace, stopping to rest a lot and took 2 longer breaks (trying to sleep, but it was too cold without sleeping gear). The hike itself was harder than the one I took last year: it was steep and the ground was slippery. It was a quiet night without the wind, just lightning and thunder somewhere far away. We walked and walked, but there seemed to be no end to the jungle. Somewhere around 3-4pm we took our second longer break and then the fun part of the climb had began. It was very steep cliffs with almost 45 degrees angle, climbing rolling down stones and frozen lava which formed long holes. Something happened to me again (same as last year), and I started to crawl up like a spider or a monkey, overtaking my team, locals and their guides. I was climbing with both my hands and feet and resting from time to time to enjoy the quietness of the mountain and night view of Bali. The only sound I could hear was the wind and whispers of other people who were climbing up. I reached the top exactly at the right moment, when the sky started to lighten up and change its colours. Guys, it was the best sunrise I have ever seen! Yes, it was deadly windy, so windy that my teeth started to chatter. But those colours at the background, at the highest peak of Agung mountain…it was amazing! We stayed for around 1,5 hour at the top, walked to the highest summit with crater view, taking pictures, enjoying the panoramic scenery.

The way down:
At around 7:30am we started our way down. And I must admit, it was a long, exhausting way down. Slippery, very steep, my Sketchers sneakers could not hold the step and I kept on sliding down almost falling on my butt. At some point I gave up and continued to slide down with my knees bent (fun way to go down!). We stopped on the way to have breakfast, and it was the most fantastic breakfast view: sitting at the 4th highest volcano in Indonesia and looking down at Bali and beautiful Batur volcano. First 2 hours we walked down those frozen lava stones, then came the jungle with steep and slippery ground. And our what seemed to be an endless walk continued. First we were chatting with each other, joking around, but the last 1,5 hours we were just waking, trying not to collapse or fall down on the slippery ground. None of us asked how long it was till the end. We were on our last energy resources, hungry, sore, tired…everything was hurting, sudden aches and pains here and there. But what can you do? There is only one way – just keep on walking and hoping for the end. It was 2pm when we finally reached the car park. So it took us 7,5 hours to get down with a few shorter stops in between.

Agung, I love you!
Overall, it was another incredible experience. Climbing mountains is like meditation for me: you are present at the moment, concentrating only on your steps and nothing else. When the real tiredness kicks in, mind switches off and there are no more thoughts. No more thoughts about the end of the trail, food or to do lists for the next day. You just keep moving your feet, keep walking, mind is clear. It was most probably, physically, the toughest thing I have ever done (yes, last year after climbing Agung I said the same). But, I know I will climb again, maybe not Agung, but a different mountain/volcano. There is just something so incredible in it.

Mt. Agung, at night_2

Mt. Agung, at night_1

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Mt. Agung, crater

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