Sinabung, which rises to 2454 m to the west of Berastagi, is another popular climb. There are now three routes up the volcano. The longest established is well marked, the other two are less obvious, but even so it is probably unwise to undertake it without a guide – heavy rain and mist can make it very dangerous. Seven people disappeared here in 1996/1997, when mist made it impossible for them to find the path. Maps are available from the Sibayak guesthouses.
To climb the mountain without a guide, catch a bus to Danau Lau Kawar (one hour, 6000Rp). The path from the village passes a restaurant; fork left just after the restaurant (do not continue along the main path). This path then passes a house and on the left you will see a small hut; you need to turn left again onto another path that passes the hut. The route then works its way through the forest for one hour and is relatively well marked with arrows and string. As the path leaves the forest it becomes very steep and enters a rock gully (also steep). The route passes an old campsite and then a cliff overhang decorated with graffiti. (This makes a good shelter in bad weather as hot steam issues through vents.) After around three to four hours in total, the path reaches the summit; paths skirt the crater lip but care is needed.
To climb the mountain take good hiking boots, a jumper, a change of clothes, and a water bottle. Tents can be hired from the Sibayak guesthouses. Leeches can sometimes be a problem.
Note The Tourist Information Service recommends that visitors take a guide with them on mountain hikes as the weather is very unpredictable and the thick jungle on the flanks of the mountains leads into the massive Gunung Leuser National Park where it is very easy to get lost. The Tourist Information Service and Ginsata have a list of recent tourist mishaps on the mountain, including details of an Austrian tourist who got lost on Sibayak in 2007, and was found nine days later unconscious in a garden in a small town on the edge of the park. He claimed he was led further into the jungle by the ghosts of two German tourists, missing since 1997, a claim locals, with their appreciation of anything connected to the supernatural, seem to believe heartily....
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