When ioCrew member Sputnik isn’t trail running, travelling or helping us test out new designs, he’s usually taking other people trail running and on epic adventures via his company the Swashbucklers Club. Their trail running and adventure tours in Bali and Cambodia are the only tours of their kind – although we’re pretty sure that’s just because not many people are crazy enough to go trail running in those sorts of places!
During his recent tour in Bali he connected with our friends from Trail Play Live magazine and they joined him for a trip up the Mt Batur volcano. To be fair, at around 1700m above sea level, Mt Batur is hardly Everest, although the two hour ascent in total darkness isn’t exactly a walk in the park either.If you’re wondering why they climb up in total darkness, it’s to see the sunrise from the top of course. “Not too many people like hitting the road at 3am to head off on an adventure, but once we’re up there and the sun comes we don’t get too many complaints” Sputnik joked.
“I can’t actually remember how many times I’ve done this now, maybe 5 or 6, and it’s always epic. Every morning is different. Sometimes it’s misty, sometimes it’s clear. Sometimes the clouds roll in low, sometimes there’s monkeys up there – no two times are alike. The only constant is it can get pretty cold at the top before the sun comes up making it perfect for me to wear my ioMerino layers!”Most people are surprised to hear that Bali, more famous for its tropical beaches, could ever be cold, but Sputnik assures us it can be really chilly at the top of a 1700m volcano when the wind kicks in and the sun hasn’t come up yet. “Most people think I’m exaggerating when I tell them to bring something warm. Even when we start the climb up in the early hours of the morning it’s usually around 30c and I’m sure they’re thinking I’m a bit mad. But when we get to the top and we’re standing around in the cool air, they’re usually pretty glad they have something warm and dry to put on. And yes, we all have a sneaky giggle at the people standing there freezing in shorts and a t-shirt.”
Like so many ‘on the go’ situations, lightweight layers make life much easier for adventures like this. Sputnik started the climb in his Altitude T, then layered up with the Altitude ‘Mongrel’ at the peak, before de-layering back down to a T when the sun came up. The long sleeve Mongrel is so compact and lightweight, he even stored it in a sandwich bag to keep it dry, taking up minimal room and adding next to no weight in his pack. (If you’re ever in a situation where you need an extra ‘just in case’ layer but don’t want to take more than you need, our stuff is perfect for that.)
At the peak, everyone enjoyed a breakfast of eggs and banana sandwiches cooked right there in the hot, volcanic earth before it was time to do some more exploring. Once the sun came up, the gang ventured out across the rim of the crater to the other side of the volcano, taking in views of the lava fields and the lake, peeked inside a holy cave, said hi to some monkeys, and caught a long distant glimpse of Pura Bukit Mentik – more commonly known as ‘The Lucky Temple’ because lava from the 1974 eruption made it all the way to the front door, but didn’t damage the temple itself! The descent was via an alternate trail, coming down through some lush green forest and enjoying some shade as the temperature started to rise.
After that, it was time for some lunch and a soak in the local hot springs before heading back to base. So what did Kerryanne from Travel Play Live think of the day? “That day was the best day of our trip!” she said, so we’re guessing they kind of enjoyed it.
If you’d like to know more about future tours, you’ll find the information you’re looking for here.