The Gunung Bagging Gig
Having published the press release
issued by friend Dan Quinn and his friend Dr.Andy Dean about the launch of their website Gunung Bagging
, I figured I ought to go along on Saturday and lend my support.
After all, I have surmounted the crags, crannies and screes of a few here in Indonesia, in England and France. I've also spent a couple of months in Ladakh in north-west India, nestling at c.4,000m in the foothills of the Karakoram range of the Himalayas. I may be passed my peak(s) now, but there are few greater delights than watching the sun rise over the land below.
Any one who has spent any time in Jakarta treasures the rare days, usually at the beginning of the rainy season when the perpetual pollution clears, when the surrounding mountains can be made out in the distance and we wish we were there.
The venue was the Eastern Promise in the upmarket enclave of Kemang. It had more expats in one place than I've seen in a very long while, but not all of them were there for the site launch. Those of us who had made the effort to get there through the storm which flooded the street outside were treated to a very professional presentation, evidence of the guys' love for exploring Indonesia's stunning landscape, much of it still unexplored.
There are a number of comprehensive guides to peaks elsewhere. A hundred and fifty years or so ago, Sir Hector Munro published a guide to those in Scotland. Of more recent vintage, mine, Alfred Wainwright published a series of treasurable handwritten illustrated guides to the climbable trails in the Lake District of NW England.
But that was all before the dawn of the internet age. The Gunung Bagging site uses a Wordpress blogging template, suitably customised to allow contributions and information updates. Google Maps, based on data collected by NASA's Space Shuttle, are used to show the 'prominence' (significance) of each peak within a given area, their elevations, contours, routes to the top and other essential information.
Practical advice is given, such as what to wear and carry, where to start hiking and where to hire porters - presumably for the relatively difficult, inaccessible and lengthier climbs.
This is a site for all who want to experience Indonesia's great outdoors. For some it means 'bagging' the most peaks and joining a 'Hall of Fame', yet for those of us who are less interested in ticking a list, it's a self help guide.
Naturally, even after six months hard graft setting the site up in non-work time, there are many gaps. The internet is a universal tool, even in Indonesia, so contributions of comments, photos, additional information about recent changes - Indonesia's mountains are volcanic after all - and even the best local lodgings, are all to be welcomed.
Gunung Bagging is a labour of love, a not-for-profit enterprise, The guys deserve (y)our support.
...........................For organised mountain treks, visit Java Lava