Today’s hike is intimidating because we don’t know for sure if we will reach the actual high point. We know that there are people who have been there, and we even have some ideas about where to look for the trailhead; we’ve also seen videos of people on the trail, but we haven’t found a single local person who would be willing to accompany us and show us the way. We have even considered buying our own machetes and making the trail. The point is that the vast majority of hikers climb to the top of Puncak Merpati and also take a look around the crater. The path to this place is well marked and not difficult. However, the real summit, Puncak Garuda, is another two kilometers away. and is completely covered with impenetrable jungle. We did, however, find the trail, albeit overgrown and slow-moving, and it was thanks to that trail that we were able to reach the true summit.
At the bottom, where there are many restaurants, some guy talking about registration asked us to pay something. We gave him 50 000 rupees (3 euros), and he stated that now there are no more obstacles to climb. There are well-marked paths to the crater ridge, and walking along the ridge is easy and quite clear. Although a glance at the satellite photos shows a complex system of 5–6 craters (maybe more). Even in the fog, it was interesting to explore the landscape and observe the smoke coming from the fumaroles.
What was very important for today’s hike was that we found the arrow pointing to the trailhead quite quickly, almost on the first try. If we had tried to go without the trail, I think we would have given up after a few hundred meters at most. The trail is overgrown and not often walked, but it is still a trail. We often had to crawl on all fours, climb over logs, and move through dense bushes.
We took nearly two hours to get through the jungle… At first, we visited the possible highest point, but we realized that the actual highest point of the mountain is 100 meters to the southeast. At the top, there is a carved-out platform with a sign indicating that it is Puncak Garuda. Also, looking at the surrounding slopes, there doesn’t appear to be any higher ground. coincides with the contours of the topo lines on the map.
We returned to the rocky ridge of the crater a little faster. Apparently, we are gaining experience in bushwhacking. We walked around the crater from the opposite side as we had in the morning, stopped at Puncak Merpati, and were soon back on the marked trail back to the car.
In my mind, this ultra-peak is a cool achievement. Because the true summit is difficult to reach, many hikers skip it. Secondly, we had a good time and saw a lot of interesting views of the craters. Tomorrow, we fly to Madan and then boat to Siau Island. If the volcano’s gods are kind, we will climb Gunung Karangetang.