Mount Talang (Salasi) is located in the Solok district about 9 km from Arosuka, the capital city of Solok, and about 40 km from Padang, the capital city of West Sumatra. According to the Meteorology and Geophysics Office, Mount Talang is classified as a volcanic mountain as high as 2,597 meters above sea level. On the surface of the crater of the mountain, visible sulfur activity emits smoke and has a distinctive smell. The volcano last erupted in 2007. About 20,000 people were evacuated at that time. But now the volcanic activity of this mountain has decreased so it is safe to climb.
There are three tracks of this Strato volcano type, namely: the Seroja route, the Aie Batumbuak route, and the Bukit Sileh route. Of these three routes, the most favorite is the Aie Batumbuak route because it passes through a tea garden at the foot of the mountain, there are markers on the track, and is rarely inhabited by leeches. In addition, before the peak, we can see the view of the peak of Merapi, Singkarak Lake, Lake Ateh, Lake Bawah, Talang Lake, and of hill chain of Bukit Barisan. On the other hand, the track is longer and slippery during the rainy season. It takes about 4 hours to climb to the top.
If you choose the Aie Batumbuak route from the city of Padang to the city of Arusoka, from the Arusoka intersection near the Solok Police Station, turn right to Alahan Panjang village. The hike to Mount Talang is recommended for beginners because the track is moderate. Mount Talang is the most frequently climbed mountain after Mount Merapi in the province of West Sumatra.
From the intersection of the Muhajirin Aie Batumbuak mosque, you walk to the Mount Talang secretariat office near the Lubuk Selasih – Muara highway. On this track, each track is marked with the letter R (signs) in a total of 54 pieces. The secretariat office is the starting point for climbing (R0). Here you can fill out the registration form for climbing permits, park the motorbike and pay an administration fee. Next, you walk towards the R1 sign. There is a place for renting hiking gear here.
The journey to the entrance of climbing R6 (base camp) along a cement-lined road. After that pass through the expanse of tea plantations track dominated by soil, mud, and gravel. The distance from the starting point of the climb is about 3-4 km to the R6 sign. If you don’t want to walk to the entrance of Mount Talang, you can save time by renting a motorbike (ojek). At the base camp, there are many stalls and you can also camp here.
After passing the base camp the track began to climb, slippery and humid. Here you will find many forest strawberries that taste sweet and sour. Entering the jungle the trees began to meet and the track was getting uphill. On some spots on track, there is a sign of the name of Allah (Asmaul Husna). This is very helpful for climbers as a benchmark for hiking. The deeper into the trees the closer together. Many dead branches and tree roots spread when climbers pass through the track. Hikers must walk carefully so as not to slip.
After a 2.5-hour journey from the entrance, you enter the rock area. The vegetation here is dominated by shrubs. There are edelweiss flowers (Leontopodium nivale), and mountain rice flowers which are often referred to as the flower of immortality. Do not pick it up because it is prohibited. If you are determined to pick it, you can be fined by the Talang mountain rangers. The location is a wide horizontal expanse of land so it is recommended for camping. Rock is the last sign (R54) before the peak. On the rock, you can see the sights of Lake Singkarak, Mount Merapi, and Talang Lake.
The path from the rock to the top is quite difficult to traverse with an elevation angle of up to 70 degrees. The track is loose soil mixed with soil and sand. Care is required to walk so as not to slip. After crossing the incline you come to an area called “dead forest”. In 2007 Mount Talang erupted. Hot clouds (wedhus gembel) accompanied by lava burned the trees in this area until they were charred.
After passing through the “dead forest” area about 50 meters to the top, you will pass a path filled with sulfur smoke. Prepare a mask or scarf so that the smoke is not inhaled. You have to take turns because the path is narrow and steep below which there is a valley filled with sulfur that emits smoke.
Out of the sulfur area, you walk up and down hills and valleys to the top of Talang. The peak of Talang is marked by a sign. The journey from the rock to the top is taken one hour. At the top of Mount Talang, you will see the view of Mount Merapi, Lake Singkarak, Lake Talang, Lake Ateh, and Lake Bawah more freely.
During the celebration of Indonesia’s independence anniversary on August 17, Mount Talang was the location for the independence day ceremony in the rock area. Hikers from various regions participated which showed the spirit of patriotism among the young people who were still awake.