Mount Kerinci Climbing Notes: The Roof of Sumatra

Mount Kerinci or often called the roof of Sumatra is the highest volcano in Indonesia. Mount Kerinci has a height of 3,805 masl with a fairly challenging hiking trail. Here’s my Mount Kerinci climbing notes, hopefully it’s useful!

Mount Kerinci River is full

Actually the idea for climb Mount Kerinci spontaneously crossed my mind. Incidentally, I got a promo plane ticket to Padang, so just go to Mount Kerinci at the same time.

I had to find a friend because I was alone. For me, traveling alone is okay, but if you are hiking, you should have someone to accompany you.

I was trying to find information and happened to meet the Padang backpacker community in Facebook. I tried to ask if anyone wanted to climb Mount Kerinci. Meet Bang Jamie who also lives in Sungai Penuh.

Also Read: Mount Argopuro Climbing Notes

How to get to Mount Kerinci basecamp from Padang

To go to the Mount Kerinci basecamp, you can first go to the Full River. There are two ways to go through Jambi or Padang. I chose to go through Padang, yep because of the promo ticket.

After landing at Minangkabau Airport, I was picked up by a friend directly to the agent travel at Ulak Karang to buy a car ticket to Sungai Penuh.

There are two scheduled departures at 9 am and 7 pm. The price for one person is IDR 100,000 with a pick-up time of approximately 7 hours.

full river travel
View of the tea gardens on the way to Full River

The view on the way to the Full River, I will never forget. The green hills especially the view of Mount Kerinci, the vast tea plantation, is really pretty.

Arriving at Sungai Penuh, Bang Jamie immediately picked me up and stayed overnight at Mbak Sandra’s house, a friend of Bang Jamie’s.

Full River
Full River View

Mount Kerinci Climbing Itinerary

Climbing Mount Kerinci takes approximately 3 days or 4 days. Here’s roughly my climbing itinerary:

Day 1: Starting the hike from Kersik Tuo

Okay, our team consists of 4 people, namely me, Bang Jamie, Bento, and Ucok. From Sungai Penuh we took “oto” (their language means angkot).

With a price of IDR 10,000 per person. It takes about an hour to reach the climbing gate.

We started our hike in the evening. I also don’t know why I chose to start climbing at night.

Moreover, if you read other people’s blogs about climbing Mount Kerinci, many say you should pass the third post before nightfall. Because reportedly the Sumatran tiger is still roaming.

Bang Jamie’s plan willcamp in post 2. As far as I know, it’s safer to usecamp at shelter 1. But Bang Jamie said it was easier to fill with water.

After checking the prayer equipment, the four of us were ready to climb in the dark. Honestly, I was quite worried, what if there really was a tiger. If you’re attacked, you’ll only have your name.

Mount Kerinci Climbing Notes: The Roof of Sumatra
Creepy tree on the hiking trail

I tried to look around whether or not I could climb a tree. But I’ve never climbed a tree before so I’m worried too. In my heart I just pray.

A few minutes later I heard a strange sound that was like the breath of an animal. Duh, I’m scared to death. I immediately asked Bang Jamie, what is that sound? He just replied, “Just pretend you didn’t hear”.

Wow, in my heart I have said the sentence of prayer according to my religion. What should have been only 15 minutes to post 1 felt like an hour. Bang Jamie reminded again, “Whatever you hear or see, keep quiet.”

Again I heard another strange sound in post 1. The others continued to smoke casually. I just kept quiet and prayed in my heart.

15 minutes later we arrived at post 2. The time was 8 pm. I finally started to calm down because I was camping. After building the tent, cooking, we chatted casually.

Bang Jamie didn’t want to tell me. He just said tigers have their own paths. They will not come near humans. So what sound do I hear?

Also Read: Mount Bawakaraeng Climbing Notes

Day 2: Post 2 – Shelter 3

We plan to continue our journey at 8 am. It’s normal, it’s definitely annoying. Timeline climbing Mount Kerinci on the second day:

  • 10.30 – 10.55 : post 2 – post 3
  • 11.15 – 12.17 : post 3 – shelter 1
  • 12.17 – 13.15 : lunch break
  • 13.15 – 16.30 : shelter 1 – shelter 2
  • 17.00 – 18.30 : shelter 2 – shelter 3

The most challenging path starts from shelter 1. You really have to climb because the path is very steep. From shelter 2 to 3 it’s even worse. The incline we had to climb was chin-high. The weather is a little cloudy, sometimes it rains.

Kerinci mountain hiking trail
Shelters 1 to 2

Hike with them new friends from Full River was really fun. We joked and laughed along the way.

Arriving at shelter 3 the wind was getting stronger. There is only one other climber’s tent besides our tent. Time to rest. That night it rained heavily with strong winds. Luckily the next day it subsided.

Day 3: Heading to the top of Mount Kerinci

Long story again, the plan was to have a summit attack at 4 am but because it was late we started climbing to the top at 6.15. The sun is visible. View of the Full River and the South China Sea seen from a distance.

I was worried because I saw the thick fog at the top. Hopefully when it arrives the weather will improve.

The hiking trail to the top of Mount Kerinci is filled with rocks but not too sandy like Mount Semeru or Mount Rinjani.

Seven Mountain Lake
Seven Mountain Lake

At 7.45 we arrived at Juda Monument and ran into other climbers who had just descended from the summit. They said that only gray was visible at the top because of the thick fog.

When I heard that, I was even more sad. Well, whatever the conditions at the top, the important thing is that I have stepped on the highest ground in Sumatra.

Kerinci peak hiking trail
Path to the top
Juda Monument
Juda Monument

God did bless me! At 8.30 we reached the top and the weather was clear! Luckily again the wind was blowing the other way so the sulfur also moved not towards us.

Bang Jamie said that if the wind moved towards us, maybe 5 minutes would be poisoned.

Kerinci mountain peak view

I am happy and grateful to be able to reach the top of the highest volcano in Indonesia safely. It’s time for photos. We also had time to take a video while dancing gangnam style. From the top of Mount Kerinci, it is clear that Mount Tujuh Lake is clearly visible. I can’t stop thanking God for giving me this amazing opportunity.

Mount Kerinci Climbing Notes: The Roof of Sumatra
Made it to the top!

Finally at 2 pm we got down from shelter 3. Bang Ucok’s leg was injured during the descent, so we had to walk slowly.

At 9 pm, we decided to camp again last night at post 3. Bang Jamie and I went to fill the water but Bang Jamie couldn’t remember where the spring was.

We entered quite deep into the forest, the path was covered by rotting tree trunks. Because the path is not very clear makes us confused. Bang Jamie told me to wait at one spotjust let him try to find a way.

Once again I was alone in the dark. My mind has been running all over the place. What if there is a tiger, if there is a ghost?

I started calling Bang Jamie and after a few minutes I heard Bang Jamie answer. It turns out that the spring is a small river. What if there is a tiger drinking in the river?

Day 4: Back to the climbing gate

Continue the journey down until the gate and the climb ends. We took the farmer’s car and returned and continued our journey to Seven Mountain Lake.

At Lake Gunung Tujuh we camped again last night before returning to Sungai Penuh. The journey is not over yet, I was invited to visit Lake Kaco then continue my journey around West Sumatra.

Tiger Monument
Tiger Monument
Mount Kerinci Climbing Notes: The Roof of Sumatra
Thank you everyone!


That’s Mount Kerinci climbing experience and records I. Thank you Bang Jamie, Ucok, and Bento for accompanying this hike. Thank you also Mbak Sandra and family for providing a place to spend the night.

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