At 41, Henry Wijaya, an IT Consultant with TCS, has summited more peaks than many do in a lifetime. Henry started mountaineering in 2000 at the age of 26. His first climb was to the peak of Mount Gede (2,958 metres above sea level) in West Java, Indonesia. He climbed along with a group of mountaineers and took 12 hours to complete the hike. He refers to this as one of the unforgettable experiences in his climbing career. “As dusk approached, the air became cooler and we sat outside gazing at the myriad stars and the magnificent moon. All of your worries disappear and you experience peace,” says Henry. He calls his mountaineering expeditions a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city-life.
After this experience, he started longing to be back on the mountains. There was no stopping him now. Henry started climbing often, and in 15 years, he has summited around 32 mountains in Indonesia. Currently, Henry actively goes hiking every two to three months. He animatedly speaks about his experience on Mount Kerinci, the highest mountain he has scaled till date. At an altitude of 3,805 metres, Mount Kerinci is the highest active volcano in South East Asia and the second highest mountain in Indonesia. Henry’s climb to the mighty Rinjani Mountain is another quest he enthusiastically speaks about. “A climb to Mount Rinjani is an invigorating experience. Mount Rinjani, at 3,726 metres, is the second highest volcano and the third highest mountain in Indonesia. At the top of the volcano is Segara Anak, a spectacular crater lake. The climb may be strenuous but it is worth the effort,” asserts Henry.
He aspires to complete the Seven Summits in Indonesia. The challenge is to ascent the seven highest peaks in the seven major islands in the Indonesian archipelago. Henry has already completed five of the seven summits. Additionally, Henry needs to complete his hike to Mount Bukit Raya and Carstensz Pyramid. Mount Bukit Raya is remotely located and takes days to reach the starting point of the climb. As for Carstensz Pyramid, the highest peak in Australasia, one must have rock-climbing skills to scale the peak. Scaling these two mountains has high costs involved and this has been a hurdle for Henry.
Mount Binaiya with a height of 3,027 metres is Henry’s most memorable climb. It is the tallest mountain in the island of Maluku and one of the hundred most topographically prominent peaks in the world. Hence, hiking this mountain requires more preparation physically and logistically. The most spectacular thing about the climb for Henry is the journey itself. “The voyage itself teaches you so many wonderful lessons. You meet new people, live in the wilderness, come across tribal settlements with varied cultures and learn about your own strength and weaknesses. You never know what you’ll be witnessing next. Mountaineering is a journey of determination and patience,” he says.