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Sumatra, Indonesia, Asia
12483 ft / 3805 m
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Created On: Jun 7, 2002
Last Edited On: Mar 19, 2005


Gunung Kerinci in Sumatra is the highest peak in Indonesia outside Irian Jaya. It is also the highest volcano in South East Asia. It last erupted around 1970. It is currently releasing large quantities of vapour and is under a "stage one" observation alert by local authorities.
A nice climb going through undisturbed rain forest for most of the time. The summit region is scree. No technical mountaineering skills necessary.
A pretty straight forward hike. Lots of wildlife if you take your time in the forest to look around.

For a volcanic report read what the Smithsonian has to say about Kerinci under the links section.

Getting There

You have to get yourself to Padang on the south coast of Sumatra and then by bus/hire car to Kayu Aro/ Kersik Tua. 5-6 hours.
An interesting windy road. Bring pills or plastic bags if you are prone to car sickness.
The starting point for the climb is Kersik Tua. Kersik Tua is reached by bus or minibus from Padang within 5-6h.
Most of the homestays here (and some private owners of motor cycles) offer the 5 km ride to the forest edge (presently 5000 rupies).

Red Tape

The summit is within Kerinci-Seblat Nationalpark, thus a small fee is collected (typically in the homestay).
Tourists are supposed to have a photo copy of your passport to leave. The further away from Jakarta the less they care for red tape. Just be polite and leave a tip and a contact address just in case ......
We didn't see any check points en route.

When To Climb

The dry season (april to september) is the obvious choice.
It can rain at anytime in the Bukit Barisan so make sure your gear is well wrapped up plastic so at least you have something dry to put on if you do get soaked.
We went at the end of August and it was pouring in the valleys but dry above the clouds at 3,000m


Kersik Tua has several homestays.
It is possible, to climb the summit from here within the day, and return in the late evening. This has the apparent disadvantage, that you stay in the summit region around noon, when visibility typically is nil (see below).
There are several shelters and camping grounds on the summit trail. The best place to spend the night before summiting is shelter 2. Note, that there are many shelters and would be shelters on summit trail. Most of them are broken, and their names and numbers are highly illogical. Do not assume, that shelter 3 follows shelter 2 (just to give an example)!!!
There are two shelters with complete roofs, where sleeping without a tent is possible (though not really recomended, because of the rats). These shelters are excellent for birdwatchers, but much too low for climbers.
To cut a long story short:
After you have passed many shelters and so called shelters, when the trees are giving way to bushes, you will come across a round red signpost and other signs, indicating shelter 2. (3,060m)There is no shelter at all (a ruin of a shelter), and you have passed more than 3 shelters. But this is, where you should pitch up your tent! Sometimes (e.g. april 2002) drops of water are available here, but better don’t rely on it.
Drinking water certainly is an issue on this climb. The water in the summit region is full of sulphur, and the rainforest below might be drippling from every single leaf, but on the same time be devoid of a single stream.
If you have a tent and a sleeping bag I (DD)would reccommend staying at shelter 3 (3,302m) at the edge of the bushline. The trail from shelter 2 (Marked)to shelter 3 (No marking just flat spots) is quite steep and eroded. Probably the hardest section of the climb. Shelter 3 is more exposed but the views are better and it is just a couple of hours to the summit. Water can be found down the gulley from shelter 3 to the left facing the summit but frequently contaminated by human excrement.
Regardless ..tell your guide shelter 3 if the weather looks OK.

Mountain Conditions

The homestays in Kersik Tua (especially of the Subandi family) are the only source of information.
Pak Subandi can arrange anything for a price!
Take a guide, a porter and lots of water and enjoy.
The locals are great for spotting wildlife in the forrest.
Kerinci is currently emmitting vapour clouds (Sept 2002)so best check with the smithsonian pages on worlwide volcanic activity to see what it is doing. We didn't smell any sulphur at the summit but did spot a dead pig 50m from the summit which had us all guessing. Best climb in morning as vapour clouds were blowing over the summit trail in the afternoon.
Follow the advice of your guide re conditions and volcanic activity.


A sleeping bag, maybe a tent, any shoes with good tread, a sweater and wind / rain protection is all you need.
Some of these items can be hired in Subandi's Homestay in Kersik Tua.
Take a guide so you don't get lost.
Take a tent if you are sleeping in shelter 2 or 3.
It idid not seem as cold as the mountains in Java...I estimate min temps of 8-10 C


No useful map available for mountaineering.

Sumatra 1:1500000. Munich (Nelles Verlag), no publishing date given (they want to sell it longterm ...)

Miscellaneous Info

More information on kerinci can be found at:
Java lava will be climbing Kerinci mid 2005 ex Jakarta.
details on the web site

External Links

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-7 of 7

David Donaldson

David Donaldson - May 23, 2005 10:46 pm - Voted 8/10

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Friends climbed Kerinci 2 weeks ago.....

Early May 2005.

David Donaldson

David Donaldson - Sep 6, 2002 5:23 pm - Voted 8/10

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The trail is straightforward thru the bush to above the bushline.

There are no other well used paths going to the summit from Kersik Tua and I didn't notice any side paths.

Keep in mind...Most people get lost while descending, or around shelters and camp sites where people have tracked off into the bush to answer calls of nature or look for firewood and water.

Best bet is to pay a few dollars a day and employ the services of a guide. Don't expect anything to be signposted.

David Donaldson

David Donaldson - Jan 10, 2003 7:06 pm - Voted 8/10

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Kerinci's dangerous flesh-eating plants

Source: FFI

The belief that Amorphophallus titanum (bunga bankai - B/Indonesia) is a dangerous flesh-eating plant capable of eating people persists in Kerinci. A Taman Nasional Kerinci Seblat staffer last week visited the village of Lubuk Paku (east of Lake Kerinci) to see and photograph a large A.titanum reported by a local informant - only to find the plant literally battered to death.

The bunga bankai batterer had been to scared to chop the plant down with a parang (the usual scenario) because that would have meant too close an approach to the 'plant which eats people' and so utilised a five metre long pole to do the deed.

FFI is currently promoting A. titanum as a tourist attraction and people are starting to nurture and not kill the plants.

David Donaldson

David Donaldson - Jan 10, 2003 7:10 pm - Voted 8/10

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January 2003

Volcanic Alert on Kerinci has now been downgraded and the mountain reopened for climbing.

David Donaldson

David Donaldson - Jan 10, 2003 7:11 pm - Voted 8/10

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Three climbers found dead on Mt. Kerinci

JAMBI, Jambi (JP): Three people who went missing last Dec. 27 as they climbed Mount Kerinci in Jambi province with a group, were found dead in a ravine 3,400 meters above sea level at about 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Antara reported.

Kerinci Police chief Adj. Snr. Com. Dwi Hartono told Antara by phone on Friday that rescuers were unable to move the victims' bodies on Thursday evening due to heavy rain, but would attempt to retrieve the bodies on Friday.

The bodies will be brought to Sungai Penuh, capital of Kerinci district, before they are flown to Jakarta via Padang, West Sumatra, on Saturday.

The three have been identified as Aloysius, 23, Teddy, 24, and Wiwin. Two of the three were university students, while the third was an employee at a private company.

They were part of a group of 200 university students from Nature Lovers from Jakarta, Deli Serdang (North Sumatra) and West Sumatra, who climbed Mount Kerinci to welcome the new year on the peak of the mountain

hunwagner - May 14, 2004 1:03 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

The name of the province where Kerinci is located is Jambi.

Sumatra is the name of the island, which contains several provinces.

David Donaldson

David Donaldson - May 23, 2005 10:46 pm - Voted 8/10

Untitled Comment

Friends climbed Kerinci 2 weeks ago.....

Early May 2005.

Viewing: 1-7 of 7


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