Gunung Agung Hike

Gunung Agung Mt Bali Indonesia Crater First Summit Volcano Cloud Cap CloudfallMt Agung on the island of Bali in Indonesia is one challenging hike with an unrelenting grade at around 35 degrees. The hike starts from the Pan Ubang temple which is part of the wider Besakih compound. Note that the actual Besakih temple is another 100-200 ft below the trail head. There are varying accounts of the elevation gain, but the Pan Ubang base was measured at an altitude of 1142 meters while the summit is popularly measured at 3142 meters, resulting in a total elevation gain of around 6600 ft. The total trail length to the crater can be estimated at around 5 miles. Average time to hike up is around 360-420 mins while average time to hike down is around 240 mins. It took me around 6.5 hrs to climb and around 3.5 to run down the mountain.
Gunung Agung Mt Bali Indonesia Crater First Summit Volcano Cloud Cap CloudfallThe Agung crater is another 0.3 mile from the first summit at a cumulative elevation change (loss/gain) of around 50-60 ft. Don’t make the mistake of turning back after the first summit ascent.
Gunung Agung Mt Bali Indonesia Crater First Summit Volcano Cloud Cap CloudfallCloudfall into the crater as can be seen above.
Gunung Agung Mt Bali Indonesia Crater First Summit Volcano Cloud Cap CloudfallCloudcap at the crater rim and Mt Rinjani visible at a distance.
Gunung Agung Mt Bali Indonesia Crater First Summit Volcano Cloud Cap Cloudfall
Mt Agung from the Pan Ubang compound.

The hike stays my most treacherous hike to date, more so due to the combination of humidity at the base of the mountain (first 120 mins through the humidity of a tropical rainforest), the loose pumice that covers some stretch (possibly fourth) of the trail, no sources of fresh water all along the way, and a steady relentless grade; than the terrain itself. Prepare with enough water, coffee (if hiking through the night) and some salt or electrolytes. After sweating bullets through the first couple of hrs, I was day dreaming fresh fruits with sprinkled salt.

Yosemite Half Dome Hike

Upper Yosemite Falls Yosemite Valley Fall Colors Nevada Falls Vernal Falls Half Dome Hike Sub Dome Cables DownOne of the more popular hikes in the United States needs no introduction. The Yosemite valley as seen above and below. Upper Yosemite falls above.
Upper Yosemite Falls Yosemite Valley Fall Colors Nevada Falls Vernal Falls Half Dome Hike Sub Dome Cables Down
Upper Yosemite Falls Yosemite Valley Fall Colors Nevada Falls Vernal Falls Half Dome Hike Sub Dome Cables DownUpper Yosemite Falls Yosemite Valley Fall Colors Nevada Falls Vernal Falls Half Dome Hike Sub Dome Cables DownUpper Yosemite Falls Yosemite Valley Fall Colors Nevada Falls Vernal Falls Half Dome Hike Sub Dome Cables DownUpper Yosemite Falls up close.
Upper Yosemite Falls Yosemite Valley Fall Colors Nevada Falls Vernal Falls Half Dome Hike Sub Dome Cables DownThe Yosemite Half dome can be accessed from the Mist Trail, around 9 miles one way to the base of the dome at an elevation gain of around 4400 ft. Add another 380 ft in gain to the summit of the half dome, to end up with a total elevation gain of around 4800 ft. You pass through Vernal falls (pic above) at around 1000 ft on the Mist trail and through Nevada falls (pic below) at around 2000 odd ft. The portion up to this point is a tad steep. But beyond this point is a flat section through the meadows, that serves a good breather.
Upper Yosemite Falls Yosemite Valley Fall Colors Nevada Falls Vernal Falls Half Dome Hike Sub Dome Cables DownNevada falls at the distance (above) and from the Panorama trail lookout (below).
Upper Yosemite Falls Yosemite Valley Fall Colors Nevada Falls Vernal Falls Half Dome Hike Sub Dome Cables Down
Upper Yosemite Falls Yosemite Valley Fall Colors Nevada Falls Vernal Falls Half Dome Hike Sub Dome Cables DownHalf dome with sub dome above.
Upper Yosemite Falls Yosemite Valley Fall Colors Nevada Falls Vernal Falls Half Dome Hike Sub Dome Cables DownHalf dome climbers.
Upper Yosemite Falls Yosemite Valley Fall Colors Nevada Falls Vernal Falls Half Dome Hike Sub Dome Cables DownAverage time to scale up stays around 240-300 mins while coming down can be a lot less.
Upper Yosemite Falls Yosemite Valley Fall Colors Nevada Falls Vernal Falls Half Dome Hike Sub Dome Cables Down

I only tried to hike to the second recess in the dome (en route in the pic above) on gloves alone without any protective gear. DO NOT ATTEMPT. Although I carried a harness, sling, carabiners and parachords, after spending 15 mins observing the climbers on the dome, I figured most of the time was spent in releasing and re configuring the Prusik knot at crosslinks through the cables. I decided to call it a hike given it was already 4pm and a group of hikers on the cables were struggling at tying the knot there by potentially slowing down the rest who follow. Overall a fun hike especially through prettier portions by Vernal and Nevada falls, and the later stretch through sub dome and the half dome. Stay safe! Always!

Kawa Ijen Hike

Kawa Ijen Volcano Indonesia Sulphur Blue Flame Crater LakePopularly known locally as “Blue Fire”, Kawa Ijen on the island on Java in Indonesia is an hr drive from Banyuwangi (East Java). The hike is roughly 2 miles in length to the highly acidic lake at the center of the crater. The cumulative elevation change (first gain to the rim ~1300 ft and descent to the lake ~700 ft) is around 2000 ft, varying accounts can be found online.
Kawa Ijen Volcano Indonesia Sulphur Blue Flame Crater LakeAverage time to the crater lake is around 120 mins at the laziest best and similar on the way back. Longer times are partly due to its popularity and the number of fellow hikers you witness in the dark. This may be the most populated hike I have been on to date. At any time expect around 200-400 people on this short hike flashing torches through the night.
Kawa Ijen Volcano Indonesia Sulphur Blue Flame Crater LakeThe blue flame is a very pretty sight. Go figure the how!
Kawa Ijen Volcano Indonesia Sulphur Blue Flame Crater LakeKawa Ijen Volcano Indonesia Sulphur Blue Flame Crater LakeThe trail of lights on the way back as seen above.
Gunung Raung Kawa Ijen Volcano Indonesia Sulphur Blue Flame Crater LakeAdditional pictures of Mt Raung that is part of the wider volcanic belt.
Gunung Raung Sunrise Kawa Ijen Volcano Indonesia Sulphur Blue Flame Crater Lake

Portage Pass Hike

portage pass hike glacier lake anchorage whittier alaska falling ice anchorage hikes Portage Pass near Whittier is accessible through a short but interesting hike. The pass houses a glacier called the Portage Pass Glacier (wallah!) and a lake which is mostly glacial melt evident from a very light green hue. However to get to the lake or the glacier, you got to climb 750 ft in elevation in a little over 3/4ths of a mile. Once at the summit you get a clean view of the Portage Pass Glacier. Another 1.2 miles in an almost steady descent to lose nearly all of the 750 ft you just gained will take you to the shores of the Portage lake. An entire round trip can be covered in 120-150 mins by a bear spray-less hiker (times may vary).portage pass hike glacier lake anchorage whittier alaska falling ice anchorage hikesOnce at the lake, the glacier is no more than 1/4 of a mile accessible through the shoreline. You could also possibly try to hike the rocks adjoining it (at your own risk – there are no trails). portage pass hike glacier lake anchorage whittier alaska falling ice anchorage hikes A very beautiful and picturesque setting. Beware of bears – reads the only sign board at the trail head. Leave that jerky in the car.portage pass hike glacier lake anchorage whittier alaska falling ice anchorage hikesSpecial mention – Whittier tunnel can take up to an hr to and fro. Make sure to plan your trip accordingly.