North Sulawesi, Gunung Klabat

Written by on July 15, 2012 in Sulawesi Mountains with 0 Comments

North Sulawesi, Gunung Klabat


This Ribu is the highest peak in North Sulawesi province and is a popular hike for local residents, including from the adjacent Gorontalo province. It is also popular with tourists who want a different type of challenge after diving around Bunaken or the Lembeh Strait. Mount Klabat is very accessible; it is only 1 hour drive from Manado along the main road towards Bitung by car, and there are regular buses. The starting point for the hike is the town of Airmadidi, which is at an elevation of only 260 m. You are encouraged to register (free-of-charge) in the guestbook at the police station on the main road. The police can also recommend a guide, although local guides indicated they were planning to set up a small trekking centre office near the police station. The guides can also act as porters and you can rent tents and sleeping bags, and other equipment you require.

The trail is in good condition and it is a steep but steady climb. It is possible to complete the climb as a day hike, although the 1,750 m elevation gain makes this quite challenging. The following are the three popular options from Airmadidi, and require 4 to 5 hours for the ascent and 4 hours for the descent:

  • Day hike for sunrise – starting at 1 or 2 am. Obviously you need a torch/flashlight and the mental energy to climb through the night;
  • Day hike from sunrise – starting at 5 am, you climb as the sun rises and hopefully make it to the summit before the midday clouds gather on the summit; and
  • Overnight – start with enough time to get to the summit to set up camp and see the sunset. It’s better to start early to avoid the heat in the first part of the climb.

The trail is easy to follow once you are in the forst, but negotiating the many tracks and paths between Airmadidi and the forest is very difficult without local help as there are no signs. It is also very hot due to the low elevation. Beyond Airmadidi, the trail leads up a gravelly road and then along the side of a few crop fields before ascending up into the forest at about 500m elevation. One short section here is actually paved with cement bricks. There are 6 ‘pos’ (Posts) on the way up although there are several other places suitable for resting or even camping. The numbered Posts are 1 (557m), 2 (916m), 3 (1,050m), 4 (1,206m), 5 (1,520m) and 6 (1,910). Water is available near Pos 2 – take a right turn for approximately 100m and Pos 3 features a nice log bench to rest on. Watch out for leeches as there are a few. Pos 6 is the final pos and is located at the lowest point of what was originally the crater. Rasberries grow here. If you take a left here you can walk down to the rather muddy crater lake.

The trail does not leave the forest until just before the top, but although this means there aren’t many extensive views during the climb it also means you can stay out of the hot sun for much of the trek. As you reach the reed-covered top there are some staggering views down to the city of Manado and the island of Manado Tua, Lokon, Soputan and the guitar-shaped Lake Tondano, plus the eastern coastline.

The trail continues along the ridge through head-high reeds, grass and bushes. There are two places where you are able to peer down the steep cliffs of the crater. The highest point of the mountain is crowned with a large cement trig point. There is not much of a view here unless you climb onto it and stand up! However, the finest viewpoint is actually a couple of minutes’ walk beyond the summit, about 10 metres lower down the other side. From this point, you can admire views of the entire northern peninsula of North Sulawesi. You may even spot the island volcano of Karangetang off in the distance to the north – this is most likely in clear conditions at dawn. The sun rises over the steep cone of Gunung Duasaudara.

It is possible to continue in a northern direction and descend to Kampung Klabat to the north of the peak although this route is rarely used and the vast majority of hikers return the same way to Airmadidi.

Bagging information by Andy Dean and Daniel Quinn.


Getting there

There is plenty of public transport from Manado. A taxi costs just over Rp100,000.


There is a very good homestay / kost in Airmadidi.


Register at Airmadidi police station – take a photocopy of your passport photo page just incase.

Water sources

Available at Pos 2 and Pos 6.

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