Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Gunung Semangkuk, Fraser Hill - Daypack Make Easy

Welcome to Gunung Semangkuk

Gunung Semangkuk is located at Fraser Hill, Pahang with an altitude of 1824 meter. Journey of conquering Gunung Semangkuk (or ‘Semangko’) will start from Pine Tree Hill and Twin Peak. We can say that every hikers who succeeded climbing Gunung Semangkuk are often reward themselves with pride as they also conquered two more mountains i.e Pine Tree Hill and Twin Peak at one go.

You may park your car along narrow road of The Pine Tree Hill arch or further up a bit there's a very small area for carpark, but do note to park your car properly and do not block any entrance.

Though the altitude of Gunung Semangkok is 1,824 meter, the starting point via Pine Tree Hill is already at the height of 1,320 meter. As such, we just need to climb another 500 meter elevation only, that will at least lift our spirit up.

taken from my Suunto Movescount 

The distance may vary according to existing record, blog and maps taken from the internet which within the range from 11km to 15km one way. In my case, the distance is 12.45km (suunto ambit 2) one way, that makes almost 25km return. You may find the gpx route here :  suunto movescount gpx file (view as mapbox, then copy route).

See? 12.45km....distance

Though my distance recorded 12.45km one way, when I export the track to routeplanner, the distance became 12km, short of 450 meter. What is 450 meter means to us? Almost a half kilometer climbing which will took hours to complete and add up to the total duration time. 450 meter is equal to 10 km for me...arrgh..!

Upper left - 12km instead of 12.45km...huhu
Each of the flag represent the mark. From right - Twin peak, water point, sungai merah, and Semangkuk Peak (what is missing here is the Helipad... unaware that I had passed this section...demmit!).

Searching thru suunto movescount, there were few Gunung Semangkuk map readily available and I need to go pass through Pine Tree, Twin Peak, Water point, Sungai Merah, Helipad and finally Semangkuk Peak.

However, there was no distance or location from Twin Peak to Water Point, Water Point to Sungai Merah and so on. It was quite difficult for me to measure the time taken and elevation – thus editing the map in suunto movescount for Water point, Sungai Merah and Helipad were just based on estimation.

I would advised using GPS navigation device which will assist you in estimating the remaining distance and Navigate using the correct path preventing from getting lost. My suunto ambit 2, pre-loaded with Gunung Semangkuk route proven to be successful.

A Brief Summary of Hike

  • Started from Pine Tree trail head at 3.00am towards Pine Tree peak seems easy. Dry Trail
  • From Pine Tree Hill to Twin Peak, short distance only, piece of cake.
  • Twin Peak to Water point – mostly downhill, a little bit technical but manageable
  • Water Point to Sungai Merah – moderate, starting to get tired
  • Sungai Merah to Helipad – hard! Its a long and high altitude climbing
  • Helipad to Semangkuk Peak – Hard! Endless twist and turn
In summary, distance from Start to Peak – 12.45km. Time Taken – 9 hours : 

Gear Used : no specific gear, except good trail shoes – Adidas hydroterra Shandal
                     Head Lamp – Fenix, blinkers and additional light with extra battery

Navigation : Suunto Ambit 2

Food           : apple, chocolate bar, buns, gardenia toastem

Drinks        : plain water 2 liter, Ribena 500ml, coke 500ml (refill at Sungai Merah campsite, using                           sawyer water filter).

Advice for Daypack

  1. Need to be physically and mentally fit for this climb. First, you need to overcome fear walking at night (starting and ending). The distance is 12km one way is not an easy climb.
  2. Bring basic hiking gear though you may not use it but essential to have – ground & fly sheet, rain jacket, first aid kit, lighter, power bank, extra battery, water filter, glove.
  3. Bring food for extra one day – just in case

1) Poisonous creatures – snakes, scorpion, centipede (No snake but but the other two were present)
2) Sting creatures – bee, ants (there were hiker get stung by bee)
3) Nature’s wrath – heavy rain, slippery trail, loose grounds, lightning (it was raining in the evening)
4) Flora of torture – thorny and tiny leaves that hooked (my cap torn by these)
5) Creepy Sounds – nocturnal beings (gives you the jitters, but just ignore them)

Trail Matters

Hikers may get confused on the trail especially from Helipad to Semangkuk Peak. It seems that after helipad, the trail will make you to go down, but you may think that it could not possibly be because the trail is supposed to be only upward from Sungai Merah to Peak. Don’t worry, just follow the ribbons/marker on the trees.

Hikers may also feel that they have been following the same sections, trails and making unnecessary U-turn as they all are look-alike & seems that you have been there before but it is just a delusions from a tiring mind and body. Believe me, the trail is correct.

Pine Tree Hill. Yay! Easy...

Twin Peak...piece of cake.
Almost sunrise...but the view blocked by fog.
Can someone change the signboard with a proper one?

This is the water point...1.55km from Twin Peak.
I think the water source is nearby.
Please turn left for Gunung Semangkuk ya.

There you go. 6.81km from Start, we have been walking, climbing for 4.51 hours and the time was 7.48am 

The direction to Gunung Semangkuk is properly assigned.
Kem Sungai Merah is next

Kem Sungai Merah. 8.66km from start. 5.38 hours. 

 The surrounding. 
Sungai Merah is an ample space campsite. Most hikers will overnight here and making their way up the next morning.

The water source i.e small river is located behind the tree with signboard. We can hear the stream flowing.

Refill your water here. 30 meter from the campsite signboard. The water is refreshing!

This is the remaining distance that we have to endure before reaching the peak, between Sungai Merah and Semangkuk Peak. It showed 1.95km to go. 

Responsible hiker. I found this yellowish rope on the track. I tight it to this tree for the benefit of other hiker. 

 after hours of hike, it was only 176 meters distance remaining to the peak. 
Please focus on the triangle thingy on the watch, its a direction you need to follow, well mostly it is correct. 

 Yay! made it! After 9 grueling hours, 12.45km.

If it wasn't for you, the red tree sticker, I may have lost confidence  

same photo again at the peak. 
same cap, same tshirt, same tights, same shoes from other hike.

Around 1.30pm or so, it rain heavily. I couldn't take photo at helipad and sungai merah on the way down. What a big disappointment!

The rain stopped. Water point on the way back 

Twin Peak again. at 5.06pm, its getting dark 

Finally, we reach the starting point and ended the extreme hike in 16.5 hours.

There you go, Climbing Gunung Semangkuk Daypack. It's tough, hard and tiring. So, just be prepared.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Twin Peak Revisit
Fraser Hill

Stage 1 – from Start to Pine Tree Peak

Distance from start to Pine Tree (1st Peak) – 4.44km
Time Taken – 1.56 hours

Stage 2 – Pine Tree to Twin Peak

Distance from Pine Tree to Twin Peak – 660 meter
Time Taken – 20 -30 minutes
Distance from Start to Twin Peak – 5.18km
Time Taken – 2.36 hrs

Twin Peak to Pine Tree – 20 Minutes
Pine Tree to start – 1.52 hrs
Total Duration  - 2.12 hrs

·         Excluding rest time

Trail difficulty – easy to moderate
Trail condition – 100% dry

Pine Tree Hill is located at Fraser Hill, Pahang, a 1 hour drive from the heart of Kuala Lumpur. GPS Coordinate : N3.71022 E101.69552.
The trail is popular among hikers and nature lover as it has two summits which are Pine Tree (1,448 meter) and Twin Peak (1,505 meter).

The distance to reach 1st peak which is Pine Tree, is 4.44km and 2nd Peak which is  Twin Peak another – 660 meter.

It will not be a complete hike if you don’t go for both peaks as the duration from Pine Tree peak to Twin Peak is only 660 meter, of which it will only take about 20 to 30 minutes.

The trail is clear and obvious in case you are wondering whether navigation is an issue as you will be following the same trail in and out.

On safety issue, there are no case of wild animal or life threatening occurred here. There are also other group of hikers on the track especially on weekends, as such, there will somebody to attend to your needs in case of emergency.

The Pine Tree trail also being used for a more extreme hike to Gunung Semangkuk, 11km in distance (one way) using the same starting point as Pine Tree.

On Health point of View especially on weight loss, Twin Peak hike which took up almost 3 hours one way and another 2 hours plus return, I lost almost 2kg (fluid loss only I think).

You may park along the road side but remember the etiquette, not to block other vehicle or taking more space other than needed. 

The rest of the story will be elaborated using illustration as follows :

Start your engine...!

Breather stop - 2.46km at 54 minutes

The last water point...a signage that there is a water source down below, however, it is not safe for consumption.

The infamous Pine Tree Hill - 80 degree climb..kacang, just take your time. Be careful though. 

1st summit (Pine Tree Hill)

Climbed 4.44km, 1.57 hours at 9.17am
Rested about 20 minutes here

The trail just after the 1st summit. It's totally dry compared to last time I visited here with muddy trail.

Yay..finally...! Reached the summit

5.18km to Twin Peak from start, 2.35 hours
at 9.57am

Err..the altitude according to Suunto is 1441 meter...

Keep Calm and Hug a wood

Pine Tree Hill - 1, Ijam - 0

Only 2.12 hours descending with a total of 5.09km in distance

Yay! another mountain conquered!

You can head down straight to nearby playground for a shower, toilet break and a nice carbo laden food & hot drinks.

I will be missing this trail soon after.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Bukit Kutu

Bukit Kutu Hike

Bukit Kutu is located at Kampung Sungai Pertak, Kuala Kubu Bharu, Selangor, a one hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. GPS coordinate : N3.54359 E101.71961

Easy hike. With a total distance of 6km return (3km one way). Trail condition mostly dry trail. Trail difficulty – easy to moderate. Duration taken – 2.45 hours hike and 1.15 hour descent.
The trail may get rather confusing for a first timer at the beginning as there are junctions without signboard. Fret not, the map shown below may come in handy.

Follow the arrow - just keep right

 River crossing

Ascending time

This is the last waterpoint...3.73km from start, duration : 1 hr 32 minutes

Reached Batu Tedung (the big rock), 4.2km from start, time taken 2 hrs.

This was just before the summit. On the right is the way to the peak with the huge boulder and ladder.
On the left is the chimney and also the way to the ruins or abandoned house.

This is the peak sort of...the actual peak is at the top of the boulder where you have to climb few flight of stairs. There were too many hikers climbing the ladder and moreover, it may post danger if it get too crowded. 

Hiking Bukit Kutu wouldn't complete without exploring the scary abandoned house. Let's go to the ruins!

We are here! at the chimney area. Climbing straight up around 20 meters will take you to the top.
The chimney is at the background. Just walk straight

Walking towards the chimney

The famous chimney of Bukit Kutu. At the back of this chimney is where I came from

Just go straight. The structure on the left is the chimney

Just follow the trail for 100 meters or so, don't worry to get lost, the trail is very straight forward.

Welcome to the ruins!!

Yes, few more photos...don't worry, there are people here

The ruins are the icon of Bukit Kutu...don't leave bukit kutu without visiting ya.

The descending part was most anticipated session as I can speed and run. 
Total descending took only 1 hour 15 minutes. 

After reading this blog, readers would be able to : 
1) determine the trail condition, trail difficulty, distance and expected hiking time
2) Accurate direction to the ruins or abandoned house/structure

Thanks for reading