Marapi is the most active volcano on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. It has a broad summit area with trees and brush covering the highest peak. West of the summit are five to six active craters within the caldera known as Bancah. Marapi has had fifty (as of 2001) recorded eruptions since the late 1700's, and is still active today. The volcano is one of the two peaks rising south of the city of Bukkinggi. The other volcano is Singgalang.
To reach Mapapi, first take a bus to Bikittinggi, which is easy to get to from any of Sumatra's major cities. From Bikittinggi, make your way to the bus terminal in the southeast part of the city. From there, locate a minibus headed for Kotabaru. At the beginning of Kotabaru, have the driver drop you off at a place signposted for Jalan Tantawi. This is where you will start hiking.
Note: Also helpful, is to ask the bus driver "Kachil ik Marapi" or "the trail to Marapi".
Microwave Station Variation
This is the shortest of the two variations of the standard route. From the Jalan Tantawi turn-off at the highway (see the getting there section), walk the paved road east for 100 meters, at which location there is a junction. Take the road heading right (southeast). Walk this road for 3.5 kms (2 miles) until reaching a microwave station. Turn left at the building and locate the trail. At first, this well-used trail heads east, then north, and then east again, and passes several homes and gardens before reaching an old road at about 1480 meters (8450 feet). Soon after that, you will pass a spring on the left side of the trail, and then cross a gully on a bamboo bridge. If you need to, stock up on water here (it must be purified), as there is usually no water available higher on the mountain. Shortly after crossing the stream, you will reach an open area that has a few food stands catering to hikers and which are open on the weekends. The open area is the end of the old road. From the open area, a well used trail heads steeply up the mountain and to the caldera rim. The trail passes several active craters before reaching the highest summit. If the weather is clear, you will enjoy a spectacular view from the summit.
From the Jalan Tantawi turn-off at the highway (see the getting there section), walk the paced road east for 100 meters, at which location, there is a junction. Turn left here and walk the road to the villiage of Butupalano. From there, follow the old road east through the plantation. The route joins the microwave station route at the springs mentioned above, just before the stream crossing and food stalls. This is a longer and less direct route.
Either route takes one very long day, or two shorter days to reach the summit.
No permits are required.
When To Climb
Sumatra is wet year round, and there is little temperature varience throughout the year. Typically, February and March are the driest months, and September through December, the wettest, but be prepared for heavy rains at any time of year.
There are campsites on the mountain, as well as guest houses in Kotabaru.
Much of this information is from my climbing partner, Mike Kelsey who wrote the highly recommended Climbers and Hikers Guide to the Worlds Mountains. Mike climb this mountain in August 1999.
SP member Zaleha was the original submitter and provided all the photos.