Author: Yan Bastian
It was July 05, 2019 I wrote a letter that could change my life, a letter that could mean a sign for me to move on and let my comfort be thrown away, I wrote my resignation letter. At first I thought this would be my very boring last task due to I need to finish it in just one month prior leaving the office officially, until a friend of mine gave me a call about mountain climbing invitation. I feel as if my departure was very blessed by God because it came at the right time and I just immediately agreed and arranged the needful such as taking some leaves that were still remaining and submitting my letter to the management in a swift action.
A few days later, I went to a bus terminal to meet my friend and his team to join the mission. Of course it was once all is confirmed by the office. I took 3 days plus 2 days on weekend for overall mission time needed. No briefing, no clear meeting we just confirmed to climb Mount Sumbing located in Wonosobo, Central Java. However, kindly take it easy for we have very adequate gears to support our safety while being there. High quality carrier, a pair climbing shoes and sandals, sleeping bag with swan feathers to warm your body, headlamp, hat, buff to cover your nose from dust and your ears from cold, nesting/portable cooking set, a set of tents (due to quite heavy and might kill space in your carrier, so they are optional you can share them with your friends), sweet snacks (chocolates, brown sugar/gula jawa, honey) to easily gain energy and instant meals such as noodles.
It took 12 hours road trip from Jakarta to Wonosobo by bus in the morning. People might say it is boring, of course, not! During the bus trip we were treated to a view of yellowing rice fields along with buffalos and starlings that had endless symbiotic mutualism. The bus only stopped twice in rest area for having meals, smoke breaks and even urinate and defecate purposes. After everything finished, we preferred to sleep to think that time would be short and gather energy too because we are planned to have less-sleep later.
Time passed, we arrived at the Wonosobo terminal with a fairly cold temperature because it is located right under the mount Sindoro which is very close to Mount Sumbing, the mountain we were going to. Yes, the terminal is flanked by those two mountains at once. I was feeling very nervous in my first impression because of the size of those two. I could see them very clearly from that terminal. However, I felt ashamed and lost to myself if I just gave up and became a loser for travelling this far. Thus, I dared myself to keep going because I know Sumbing doesn’t like to be kept waiting. She is waiting for us to those of you who likes to test bravery.
Furthermore I found something very unique here, local people apparently provided pickup cars for any of us who would like to climb the mountain. The cars are actually not specific. The driver will obey our orders wherever we want to visit. For your good references that Wonosobo is a high altitude region in central Java with many attractive tourism destinations such as Dieng plateau which is famous for its dreadlocked people and crowned as the land above the sky. Besides that, there are at least 3 famous mountains located in Wonosobo they are Mt. Prau (the shortest one), Mt. Sindoro and Mt. Sumbing (the highest one and third highest mountain in the island of Java.
Not very far from the terminal, we arrived at the Mt. Sumbing basecamp in the morning. There, we did registration, unpacking and re-tidying our goods to ensure that nothing is forgotten. We were also given some advice by villagers relating to traditions where we had to respect them for whatever the reason is. We are only guests here. Do not be arrogant, say harshly and behave politely are mandatory here! I think it is not that harm to follow as long as it is not violating each other’s beliefs.
And while one morning wasn’t nearly enough time to get sleep, we ride a motorcycle to shorten the time with local villagers. This is highly recommended to support their incomes. Please use them in any case you visited here! These rides, however, just dropped you off at the climbing gate bordering with local gardens. Of course, the rides will not bring you to the peak of mountain. It is impossible! We stepped our feet towards the hiking track provided.
We walked into the forest and like most in Indonesia, Sumbing’s typical forest is tropic and dusty due to long dry season but still a little wet. This was proven by the humid temperature and sometimes the fog padded it which is very good to protect you from sun which can make you easily dehydrated. We also met Javanese endemic animals such as Lutung and Javan surilli but we were fortunate not to encounter a Javan-Tiger, if we met him maybe this article will never exist. Also, please don’t feed them or they will follow you all the time.
After walking for 3 hours, we finally arrived at the camp area. It was almost dusk and we did not want to take risks by continuing to climb because the night journey was quite dangerous, thus we rested and set up a tent to spend the night there. After the tent set, some of us discovering the situation in any case there is something can be utilized, while of us (including me) preparing for the dinners. Sure enough, there were apparently springs found in the bush though only less but enough for us to consume. This is also very useful to save water supply during our summit attack tomorrow morning. It was quite tiring, because it took us 20 minutes more for just a 1.5 liter bottle filled. And eventually we took turns filling the water.
Normally, we served instant foods in the mountain to make it easier. Despite unhealthy, instant foods are efficient in terms of time serving and energy needed. Nutritious foods will only bother you and your team to serve. Other effects that may occur is you will easily defecate because of fiber you consumed from that is fulfilled. Although it is good for your health, believe it will be very troublesome for you because you need to dig the ground and bury it back and ensure it will not disturb other climbers because of the limited cleansers you have while there. Apart from that, we decided to sleep to save our energy for the summit attack in the late night.
The appointed time was finally arrived, we prepared some important gears such as headlamps, hats, thick jackets and pants, and cameras to capture the moments there. We walked step by step very slowly through rocky ravines. My hands were even sweating and trembling all over my body from walking on steep terrain plus in dark conditions and very cold temperatures in such high altitude. When we were on a gentle slope we rested for a while and there apparently was milky way emblazoned in the sky, very stunning and bright! We did not want to miss this moment by just watching it, we quickly took out our cameras to accordingly pose to be able photographed. We posed with many styles though we were shivering at the same time. I am not a hypocrite, I really like posing in such picturesque place.
The sun slowly began to reveal itself, we were rushed to go back to the top of the mountain. Not far from the milky way, there was savanna plastered very widely with grass growing wildly between huge rocky cliffs.
This kind of scenery really cannot be expressed in words. When words fail to describe the sincerity that this mountain has, I just sat there stunned with my mouth open I felt whether or not I was dreaming, if I was in paradise, I cried a little because I was amazed at a moment like this which made us a bit late to the top. It is okay because I am honestly not that obsessed to catch the sunrise, all I want to feel is only peaceful that every mountain has. However, the summit attack would inevitably need to continue. We came here this far, the peak must be reached!
The trekking is now increasingly troublesome. Just imagine we even had to crawl along the cliffs. I seemed to be on the verge of death. My hands was bleeding a bit from being scratched by sharp rocks while climbing. I almost gave up, so did my team. But we were not in a hurry, just climb slowly. Your life is also important to prioritize.
After all, our struggle was paid as soon as we reached the top. It took at least 4 hours in total for us to finally reach the top of Sumbing. We were endlessly thankful and hugged each other for this success. We immediately took pictures due to sea of clouds and the legendary view of Mt Sindoro are waiting for us to be enjoyed wisely. We were all immersed in the beauty of this mountain.
Last but not least there are some palpable advices to those of you who would like to spend time in the mountain. They are, we must not be selfish because we are a team, (We had agreed to do this together so don’t be individualist!) and don’t make the peak as your main goal, but your home instead. All in all, I will always remember the silence and serenity of the mountain because it’s every introverts dream.