Photo: Starting the long climb down.

How to prepare for climbing Gunung Agung

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Until I climbed Rinjani, climbing Bali’s Gunung Agung was easily the most physically taxing activity I had ever done. And while this was my second attempt (the first was unsuccessful as someone in our group couldn’t go on), I still wasn’t as prepared as I could have been. Other climbers I saw on the day were not prepared at all. While this isn’t a technical climb, it is a difficult one and you’ll make it a little easier for yourself by keeping the following points in mind.





Treat the mountain with respect This is the holiest mountain on Bali. Treat it with the respect it deserves. Just about every house and building on the island has a shrine for daily offerings to Agung. This is a highly revered site.

A prayer for the mountain. Photo taken in or around How to prepare for climbing Gunung Agung, Sidemen, Indonesia by Stuart McDonald.

A prayer for the mountain. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Which route Gunung Agung has two primary trekking routes. The more popular leaves from Pura Pasar Agung and leads to the crater rim, which is 2,866 metres above sea level. The less popular (and apparently even more difficult route) leaves from Pura Besakih and leads right to the absolute summit at 3,031 metres. While everything I had read indicated you had to leave from Besakih to reach the true summit, I saw a group on the day I climbed who started from Pasar Agung but then branched off to reach the summit. Talk to your guide regarding this.

As for which to choose, the summit offers complete 360 degree views of Bali, while the the crater rim has primarily views of south and eastern Bali. The summit trek is considerably more challenging. On the day of my climb there were about 30 people at the crater rim and just four at the summit. See Gunung Bagging for detailed write-ups on Agung trekking routes.

Look carefully and you can see a solitary climber at the true summit. Photo taken in or around How to prepare for climbing Gunung Agung, Sidemen, Indonesia by Stuart McDonald.

Look carefully and you can see a solitary climber at the true summit. Photo: Stuart McDonald

You must have some degree of fitness I’m not the fittest guy on the block and am carrying a few kilos I don’t need, yet I managed it. However, if you are not fit at all then you should carefully consider if this is for you.

How are you with heights? Some of the climb is extremely steep. While you’re climbing up at night-time it is difficult to imagine just how steep the surrounds are. In daylight, on the way down, the steepness of the slope is obvious. If you have serious troubles with heights, this is ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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