There are numerous 3,000m peaks in the region with the vast majority of them residing in Indonesia. That’s why it’s my chosen destination to accomplish NDP. The good thing about these hikes/climbs is that it takes only about 1 week from start to finish. And for “finish” how could I not throw in some R&R to do a little shopping and sampling of local delicacies?
As for the the climb itself, practically all the mountains can be done alpine style or micro expedition style. By alpine style, I mean having a good supper at about 10.30pm and heading off from base camp before midnight. How early to start would depend on how long it takes to climb to the top. With a high level of fitness and lots of endurance, most people can reach the summits of 3,000m peaks in the region within 8 hours.
You would take pictures and videos of the beautiful sunrise and quickly descend. The advantage of this ultralight and minimalist style of ascent is obvious. You save one day from your trip and apart from water and camera, you’ll probably just need to carry a few snack bars. The disadvantages are equally obvious. You lose one night’s sleep and you can’t take any landscape pictures and videos on your way up. If the weather is bad on your way down, you won’t have many nice pictures to show.
The second style is the camping or micro expedition style. Here, you would start off in the afternoon after lunch. You would need to bring along some food and a tent. You and your guide will decide on where to set your high camp. It’s usually the final “pos” before the summit. You’ll probably reach there by late afternoon, with enough time to set up camp and cook dinner before nightfall. These days, the guides and porters you may find milling around the base camps of Indonesian mountains can be pretty professional. Just engage them in the morning and give them ample time to procure food and cooking equipment.
With many hours to rest after dinner, you would set off for the summit at about 3.00am, aiming to reach the summit at sunrise. I always insist on a guide even though the path is obvious. He is there more for safety reasons than to show the way. It’s also good to have a porter along with a guide as someone needs to look after your high camp when you depart for the summit with your guide.
The advantages of this style are obvious. You have an opportunity to rest and enjoy a hot meal in the wilderness before the summit bid. You also have two photo opportunities. For my climb of “>Rinjani and Semeru. Anyway, we’re talking about Indonesian prices. If you can speak Indonesian and pick up the guides and porters at base camp, it can be cheaper than a day trip to Sentosa. Just don’t go through an agency in the big cities. They may provide you with transport, English-speaking guide (plus local guide) etc and it can get rather pricey.
Below is a video of how a bunch of Taiwanese youngsters climbed Yushan or Jade Mountain as a day trip. It is quite challenging. Unfortunately, these guys climbed in June and didn’t have very good weather. I would certainly wait till October to do this climb.
Having said that, I didn’t have a lot of luck with Mt Kinabalu. Starting with my first climb in 1993 and last climb in 2016, I’ve done Kinabalu 5 times. Out of the 5 times I climbed the mountain, it only didn’t rain on one occasion. Mt Kinabalu, at 4098m, is the highest point on the island of Borneo. It is also the third highest peak between the Myanmar Himalayas and Puncak Jaya in West Papua. Below is a record of my 5th climb of this equatorial alpine peak.
There are numerous 3,000m peaks in the region, most of them being in Indonesia. An affordable, rewarding adventure is just a short trip away. I can’t wait for this pandemic to peter out so I can put on my hiking boots again.