Mount Agung or Gunung Agung (3142 m) is a stratovolcano in Bali, Indonesia and the highest point on the island. It dominates the surrounding area and influences the climate of the island. The clouds come from the west and Agung takes their water so that the west is lush and green while the east dry and barren.
For the Balinese Mount Agung is a spiritual and holy place. For me it is a perfect opportunity to spend my Christmas Eve hiking.
After climbing the balinese volcano Mount Batur during the night from 23. to 24. of December, I return to my hostel in Ubud tired. Arriving there I meet a girl from Austria and a guy from Japan. They talk me into climbing Mount Agung the night from 24. To 25. together.
Why not? I mean who needs sleep? It’s just an ascent of 1500 m up to around 3000 m… I force myself to sleep at least 2-3 hours and buy water, cookies and Pringles for the nightly hike.
While you can hike Mount Agung on your own, it is more convenient to hire a guide. Otherwise you have to manage the transport, deal with the guides waiting for climbers there and find your way in the complete dark through the jungle. The most popular time to start this hike is around midnight, so that you arrive at the summit just in time for the sunrise and to avoid the heat and humidity during the day. The girl from Austria spent some days in Ubud and had some friends who offered us a good price. Usually I am not a big fan of guided stuff, but looking forward to have some nice company up the mountain I was willing to go for it.
Guided tours start early (around midnight), and you have plenty of time to make it to the summit for the sunrise (~ 5 hours). This means you stop for short brakes every now and then. During the brakes it can get really cold. So we were shivering and lying on the ground trying to make ourselfs less vulnerable to the wind every 30 minutes. Bringing my Arcteryx Nuclei Puffy was a good choice.
The ascent itself is steep and more demanding than I expected it to be. At some point you have to use your hands to climb up rockfaces. But due to the slow speed (when you choose to hire a guide) almost everybody with an average fitness level can make it. However being afraid of heights is not ideal (you won’t see anything as long as it’s dark, but the descent is more challenging).
Reaching the summit, we had to wait again. The day we climbed Mount Agung was a cloudy day and it wasn’t the brightest and most gloriuous sunrises of all time, but the atmosphere up there was still very nice. After spending some time up there and taking some pictures the more challenging part of the hike was yet to begin.
The descent is steep and slippery. You have to choose your steps very carefully. It almost takes as much time as the ascent… Sine it’s light during the way down you can enjoy distant views from Bali (when the weather permits it).
What better way to spend Christmas Eve?!