Mount Sinabung

indonesia

Sinabung is currently (April 2019) too dangerous to climb, but this can change.

In August 2010, after 400 years of being dormant, Sinabung surprised us all by erupting, and it has been regularly erupting ever since. What was a fun day-hike from Brastagi with lush green vegetation all the way up is now anybody’s guess.

Country
indonesia
Height
2,460 m (8,070 ft)
Climbing Height
1,143 m (3,750 ft)
Rank
  • Most dangerous volcano in Indonesia (as of April 2019)

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Natural Form and History

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - History

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Geological 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.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Modern climbing history

Being a modest sized volcano in a land with an ancient population, its impossible to tell who the first people were to climb Sinabung. However, I can say with some certainty that I (the writer of these words) was one of the last to - I summited Sinabung in mid-August 2010, a couple of weeks before it erupted. The Indonesian Government has put precautions in place ever since.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Current popularity as a climbing destination

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 - Overview of the Trail

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Overall Assessment

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Summary of trail accessibility

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.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Trail options

Number of options
0
Summary

Time will tell whether there is still a trail on Mount Sinabung. Sign up for our newsletter, or write us an email at [email protected] if you'd like to be kept updated.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Most popular trail

Brastagi on up, if you can

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Standard itinerary

Number of days
1
Summary

Before Sinabung reawakened, climbing was most commonly based out of the town of Brastagi, which had some basic accommodation and food options. From there, the hike up was about a 4 to 5 hour climb to the summit, and one might allow 2 to 3 hours to descend back to Brastagi.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Climbing Difficulty

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Terrain

Number of distinct sections
3
Summary

The climb from Brastagi through rainforest, then low-lying vegetation all the way up to the rocky calderas. This is all likely to be completely different now though.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Weather

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Overview of climate

The weather in this part of Indonesia switches between the dry season from May to October, and he the rainy season from November to April. The weather is often plesant when you start the trek, but one needs to guard against drops in temperature a higher levels, and at night, which would dip below 10 degrees celcius.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Best time to climb

Sinabung, in particular, is likely to have clouds set in by the middle of the day, which makes climbing in the mornings – perhaps for sunrise – a better idea (if it’s not erupting, of course).

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Common weather challenges

Rain could arrive on any day, regardless of the forecasts, which will make the track more muddy and slippery.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Safety tips

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Climbing safety

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. Please do not climb this mountain unless the government, it’s seismologists, and locals you speak to all give you the thumbs up.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Personal safety

Take usual precautions for your personal safety,

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Safety for women travelers

There are no specific dangers to women travellers seeking to climb Sinabung.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Recommended equipment

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Footwear
  • Hiking boots or good sports shoes.
Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Clothing
  • A rain coat
  • A warm layer for the cooler upper reaches
Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Bags

Being a day-hike, choose a small and lightweight bag to carry your additional clothes and water.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Weather protection

Bring a rain jacket

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Climbing support

This will depend on the state of the trail once climbing commences. Stay tuned.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Navigation tools

Not necessary.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Medical equipment

Not necessary

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Food

Being a day-hike, just a few snacks should do the trick.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Hygene sanitation

Noting that there will be no bathroom on the mountain, bring what you need to stay clean, and to leave the mountain clean when you leave.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Connectivity

There should be some connectivity on the mountain, but don’t expect it throughout the hike.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Documents

Bring your ID just in case.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Support facilities

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Resting stops and facilities

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Rest stops

There are no designated rest stops on the hike.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Base camp

Brastagi (1500m) is a suitable basecamp, which allows a 1 day return to the summit.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Guides and porters

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Do you need a guide?

Before the eruptions, a guide was generally needed.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - How to find a guide?

Check in Brastagi, at the park entrance, and with your tour provider (if you have one).

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Tips while working with guides

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Porters

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Do you need a porter?

Not needed

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - How to find a porter?
Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Tips while working with porters

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Food & water

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - At the start of the hike

Brastagi has/had food options prior to the eruptions.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - During the hike, along the trail

There were no food providers on the trail prior to the eruption. There were a few creeks which could be a source of water in an emergency, but its best to bring all the water you need.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - During the hike, at base camp

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Network connectivity

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Phone and data (3G) connectivity

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Accessibility

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Getting there

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Nearest airport
Medan (Kualanamu) International Airport
Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - From the airport to the starting point

There are regular buses to Berastagi from the Medan Pinang Baris bus terminal. I found these buses to be crowded and uncomfortable, so there should be small minivans and taxis are 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.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Climbing permits

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Is a permit needed?
Yes. You absolutely need permission to climb Sinabung, and it likely won't be granted at present.
Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - How to get a permit?

Given the current state of high alert for Mount Sinabung, permission to climb would have to come from pretty high up, and it would need good reason.

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - Special Tips

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - For amateur climbers

Climbing Mount Sinabung Indonesia - For advanced climbers