1462m | 18 km | 8:16 hours
Gunung Besar Hantu is the highest mountain in Negeri Sembilan, but as far as tall mountains in Malaysia go, at 1462m, Besar Hantu is relatively low. All other states, apart from Perlis, Penang, Melaka and Johor, claim loftier peaks with even Kedah having as its tallest peak a 1862m mountain called Bukit Bintang. Still, it was a hard climb and certainly one of the hardest I have attempted in my rather short climbing "career".
Even getting to the mountain was quite a challenge. It's located in Jelubu district on the northern extreme of Negeri Sembilan, right on the border between the state and Pahang. We drove from KL to to Ulu Langat, and from there attempted to drive via Jalan Sungai Tekali to the Hulu Langat reservoir where we then skirt the lake around the north before joining the Sungai Lui road to the south east across the border via Genting Peres into Negeri Sembilan. Nature however threw us a bunch of spanners. Firstly the Sungai Tekali road was damaged just after Taman Titiwangsa and was constricted to a single lane dirt road for a couple of kilometres. As we had a 4WD, we overcame that challenge but later discovered that the road around the reservoir was totally blocked due to landslides.
Genting Peres is a narrow mountain pass cutting through the mountain range that divides Selangor from Negeri Sembilan. Once in Negeri, we continued along the road, this time following the Kongkoi river down to Kampung Kongkol where we turned left at the junction into road N25. We drove on this road for 6 km until we reached Kampung Chennah, our destination.
One of the earlier blogs mentioned that the path crosses the river and continues on the other side. But we took a different path, one that was on the right just before reaching the river. At a point further north, we did cross a stream, this one much smaller than at Sungai Kering checkpoint. The trail from Sg Kering onwards was narrower and varied from a walk through tall grass and thorny weeds, jungle walk and mud trails. It wasn’t particularly steep, but it was again very long and relentlessly climbing. By now I was exhausted, and it didn’t help that my trusty cotton jeans was now soaked through with dew from shuffling through the tall grass and it weighed a tonne. I almost gave up and had to stop and rest several times before finally reaching the next checkpoint, Camp Orchid.
Once again the journey was too long and this time the path was very steep as well. After several hours, we finally made it to the narrow ridge that would lead us to the top. From the ridge I could see that there were other mountains nearby, but the mist was rolling in and our views were mostly obstructed. The guide showed us something in one direction and said that that was Gunung Hantu, the little sister to our Besar Hantu. I could vaguely make out something tall and imposing through the mist, but the view wasn’t clear.
I wasn’t meant to reach the peak that day, not even get to the trailhead really. But somehow we made it not only to the trail but also hit the top. I made two resolutions during the journey back in the 4x4: first, never climb Besar Hantu again, it really is devil extraordinaire. And the second is to obtain proper trekking clothes, especially the trousers. Jeans, denims, and heavy cotton trousers are the hikers' enemy as they are heavy, get even heavier with sweat, dew and rain, and present great resistance when repeatedly lifting legs when climbing.
Have kept my promise since :-)
Trail Map and Data
- Gunung Telapak Buruk