Mount Sinabung: Indonesia’s Most Dangerous Volcano
Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Mountain Stats
- #1 most dangerous volcano in Indonesia
Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Natural Form and History
Natural Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Natural history
Mount Sinabung is located in the Karo Highlands in North Sumatra, which sits on the Sunda Arc of the subduction zone of the Indo-Australian plate under the Eurasian plate. It is a pleistocene-to-holocene era stratovolcano, and it had been dormant for about 400 years until 29 August 2010.
Natural Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Climbing history
Being a modest sized volcano in a land with an ancient population, it’s impossible to tell who the first people were to climb Sinabung. However, the Indonesian Government has put precautions in place ever since August 2010’s unexpected eruption.
Natural Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Current status
As of April 2019, Mount Sinabung is the only volcano that is currently on level 4 alert and is considered, by global experts, to be highly dangerous. As such, the government has implemented a 7km exclusion zone, rendering climbing strictly off limits, and ill-advised. Nevertheless, tourists go to the surrounding towns and areas to see Sinabung, and to climb it’s neighbours.
Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Climbing Experience & Itinerary
Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Climbing Experience
Currently, Sinabung does not have an active hiking trail. Given the volcanic activity since 2010, the previous trail may well have disappeared, as lava flows and a pyroclastic flow in 2016 may have wiped it all off the map.
Before August 2010, the climb from Brastagi was through rainforests, followed by low-lying vegetation all the way up to the rocky calderas.
Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Trail options
Only time will tell whether there is still a trail on Mount Sinabung. Previously, there was a main hiking trail from the town of Brastagi (which might not be there anymore).
Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Support facilities
Guides and porters
Food & water
Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Safety & Accessibility
The weather in this part of Indonesia switches between the dry season from May-October, and the rainy season from November-April. The weather is often pleasant when you start the trek, but one needs to take precautions against drops in temperature at higher levels, and at night, when temperatures can drop below 10°C.
Rain could arrive on any day, regardless of the forecasts, which will make the track more muddy and slippery.
Sinabung is a serious threat to climbers due to its current volcanic activity. Even if it isn’t erupting, gasses may be being emitted, and these can seriously harm or kill given conditions.
Permits, Fees, and Regulations
A permit is needed, but given the current situation it is unlikely that permits are being granted for hiking.
Getting there and away
Medan (Kualanamu) International Airport is the nearest airport.
There are regular buses to Brastagi from the Medan Pinang Baris bus terminal. These buses can get crowded and uncomfortable, so there should be small minivans and taxis available too. If you are using a tour service, they should be arranging private transportation from Medan.
You may also get to Sinabung from the Lake Toba area by bus, taxi, or private car.
At the moment, no amount of money should be sufficient to get you up Sinabung, because Sinabung is closed for hiking.
Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Special Tips
Tips for amateur climbers
When it was previously open, it wasn’t a very difficult climb, so long as you’re relatively fit and uninjured.
Tips for advanced climbers
This volcano didn’t offer much to advanced technical climbers to use their skills on. Regardless, it’s best to avoid this unpredictable volcano hike for now.
Tips for women
There are no special challenges facing women choosing to climb this mountain. We are all equal in the eyes of an erupting volcano.
Tips for responsible / safety-conscious climbers
It would be irresponsible to climb Sinabung right now, and illegal too. Please don’t until the Indonesian authorities give it the all-clear (if so, please let us know, and we’ll update out page).
Tips for trail runners
When it was open, Sinabung was fair game for skyrunners. Lets hope it stays the same if/when it reopens.
Tips for nature lovers
Due to its remoteness, Sinabung was a treat to naturalists before it was closed. Lets hope some of its greenery remains.