The Most Epic Trek In Bali Is Now Unavailable
Hello and welcome to your latest edition of What Did Marc Make Cydny Do?!
In this edition, we re-visit that time Marc made Cydny climb a 10,000 ft volcano in Indonesia.
No seriously, I feel like you could answer that question a hundred different ways. I’ve made her participate in some stupid things.
Well, this one time in Bali, Indonesia I successfully convinced her we were going to hike a nearly 10,000 ft volcano, watch the sunrise, and come right back down. Easy! I am here to tell you today that the hike was not the easiest or the safest.
Maybe I was meant to be a salesman because I don’t know how I got her to do it. All the credit in the world goes to Cydny for completing that trek because it was long and extremely exposed.
If you’ve been watching the news you may have heard a couple month ago that a volcano in Indonesia was ready to blow. It didn’t, but it did rumble a whole lot. That was until the early hours of November 25th, 2017 of this past weekend, when ash and smoke began to spew out of Mt. Agung’s caldera. About 100,000 people have once again been evacuated and over 60,000 others stranded because almost 500 flights have been canceled. So yea, let’s talk about our hike up.
Cydny and I, along with a couple other friends, had the bright idea of ascending Mt. Agung over a couple beers. We researched a couple guides that would show us the way and came across the winner. At the top, this one particular guide promised us pancakes and hot tea.
Awesome, lock him in!
The hike begins at 2 am because it takes 4 hours to reach the summit just in time to catch the sunrise. Sounds rough but it’s even tougher when you have to leave at midnight because you are 2 hours away from where the hike begins.
So, of course, we crashed around 11 pm and took a quick little nap before embarking on the drive. Equipped with water, snacks, and Indonesian-strength Red Bulls, we said our obligatory prayers at a temple near the trailhead, turned on our headlamps and pointed upward.
Our guide couldn’t have been more motivating during our ascent. Nothing drains the body and mind more than trekking uphill via headlamp on only an hour of sleep. Needless to say our morale would get down at some points but quickly vanished whenever our guide, Gung Bawa, spoke. He told stories about his family, life, and motivation. A truly amazing human being.
What we thought would have been narrow, sidewinding trail the whole way up quickly turned to class-5 scrambling.
Did I mention it was pitch black outside?
Yea, that didn’t help for those that didn’t have any climbing experience but on the way down it proved to be the best way to ascend. Others who attempted the hike were tapping out every few hundred feet.
After 4 hours of continuous hiking and scrambling, we arrived at the summit. Gung Bawa quickly began preparing meals and hot tea for each of us. Banana and strawberry pancakes were a welcomed relief and really added to the amazing sunrise spectacle.
There were only a handful of other people at the summit along with a couple of monkeys. They must have smelled the deliciousness being cooked for us.
Given this current eruption, it’s crazy to think we were standing on top of the volcanic rim staring down into the once dormant caldera. The volcano last erupted in 1963 so we weren’t worried about a sudden explosion. Even in our exhausted state, we will never forget those views and feeling of standing on top of this sacred mountain…...all while crushing pancakes!
But what’s the saying? “Getting to the top is only half the battle.”
Yea, that couldn’t be more true.
On the way up adrenaline is working overtime with anticipation of the summit. On the descent, you just want to get to the effing car and a bed shortly thereafter. What was supposed to be a 2-3 hour descent easily ended up taking us 4 hours.
Our legs were trashed from the constant eccentric loading and we kept marveling about how exposed our route was. We passed some sections where we had to scramble on the ascent and quickly realized that we might not have made it if it wasn’t pitch black outside. We found out that we had been climbing slabby faces that dropped off a couple thousand feet and one mistake would have been the end of us.
None of the moves were technically difficult but the mind can play tricks on your body if you know there is no room for error.
Blissfully ignorant can be one way to describe it.
My years of rock climbing taught me to turn my brain off and concentrate on one move at a time while controlling your breathing. Only one other person in our party had a climbing background and we agreed that those moves would have felt infinitely harder if knew what was below us.
All the props in the world to Cydny and the other climbing novices in our group!
At one point during our descent, nature was calling and there was no avoiding it. Indonesian-strength Red Bull and pancakes meant that it was time to take of business…..on a volcano.
No problem, I will just find a secluded spot and release the demons. The sun was shining at my back, extremely peaceful I must say, then like a scene out of a movie I saw a shadow dart across my field of view. I turned my head around and from the ridge above me about 50 feet that damn monkey was stalking me. He showed his massive fangs and let out a loud hiss like I was not welcome.
Hint taken….I’m out!
After 4 hours we finally reached the temple from where we departed. Contrary to the beginning of our trek, the sun was shining and the mountain was in clear view. We were stoked, to say the least. It was easily the most rewarding hike we’ve ever accomplished. And the rumors are true. Getting to the top is only half the battle.
We hope that everyone on the island of Bali is out of harm's way, even the monkeys! Stay safe everyone and you all are in our thoughts!