Ascent of Singgalang on 2007-07-13

Climber: Rob Woodall

Date:Friday, July 13, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:9439 ft / 2877 m

Ascent Trip Report

Gunung Singgalang

Map: None known


Time: 13 July 2007.

Accommodation: We stayed at Bukittinggi (Kartini Hotel, v pleasant; staff have tolerable English) which is 15 mins drive away. Summitpost indicates there is accommodation in Kota Baru which is where the climb starts.

Red tape: No permit needed.

Guide: I used a local lad called Andra, who had taken Adam Helman and I up Merapi (tourist summit) the previous day. You could probably follow the trail unguided.

Water: I took 3 ltr which was plenty. I could hear several active streams close to the trail, so water shouldn't be a problem.

Difficulties: above the masts road, the trail passes through bamboo, often with low headroom (also leeches - I found 3: only 1 got me). Higher up, the usual issues with slippery mud and tree roots, but no great difficulties. The rooty route from the crater lake probably deserves YDS 3.

Start: Kota Baru, c. 10km S of Bukittinggi. Look for a transmitter mast just E of the road summit. Just S (c 50m) of the road summit is a tarmac road heading W. After about 1km along this is a lily pond with a turning R (N?) in front of it. After about 1km is a Warung (~cafe). Soon after this point the road deteriorates. I started walking here but you could doubtless get higher using an obliging motorcyclist, for as small price.

Route: From the Warung described above, the road continues (rough) thru farmland, passing 2 transmitters, to end at the gates of a 3rd transmitter. At this point is a wooden hut: a narrow path goes along the R side of this. After c 100m, a steep path goes L, straight uphill(a bit obscure - my guide nearly missed it, and had to walk back 5m). Path continues thru bamboo, with headroom c. 1m in several places. Emerges into indisturbed rainforest. High up, a steep rocky slope is reached. Trail goes straight up this, not obvious at first, but zigzags soon emerge. NB you are following black electricity cables for the whole route - a help in case of doubt, the trail eventually leads downhill to a crater lake. Another path then heads sharp R (E, still following the black cables), with lots of root / tree obstructions, finishing at a small scruffy transmitter mast compound. The only additional point to note on the way down, is that at the foot of the open rocky slope, the exit is due N, just below the bottom, and not easy to spot, although obvious once you're on it.

Summit: edge of small scruffy transmitter mast compound appears to be the highest point. The guide was unclear on this point (of course) but the direction of ascent, coupled with my study of Singgalang from Merapi the previous day, plus a good photo of the mountain from the plane the next day, leaves me confident that I got to the highest point. I was in cloud, however. Dan Quinn has subsequently been there and confirms I was in the right place:

Trig point: None found.

Notes/report: I did this one with a stomach problem which reduced my diet to water and Polo mints, hence the ascent was purgatory. We were ferried to the Warung at the start on a motorbike; a couple of the guide's mates met us near there after our hike. I then returned to Bukittinggi by opelet (minibus) and taxi, as with Merapi the previous day. The guide initially considered his job was done once we reached the crater lake, but once I emphasised in my non-existent Indonesian that I needed the highest point, he took me the transmitter.

Weather: A few brief spells of rain, otherwise dry. Low cloud at summit and on descent.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5135 ft / 1564 m
    Extra Gain:98 ft / 29 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route:from trailhead above Kota Baru
    Trailhead:trailhead above Kota Baru  4500 ft / 1371 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 3
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 50 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 45 Minutes

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