At that time, when his senior brought an article about Willem Sigar Tasiam, who had broken the expedition record, Iyut was inspired by Willem's achievements and dreamed of scaling 100 mountains akin to what his idol had achieved until now.
At the same time, when Iyut was 17 years of age, he had developed an interest in following the developments of the Middle East conflict involving Palestine and Israel. Iyut chose Palestine as a "locomotive," or icon, to campaign for humanity through scaling 111 mountains. Palestine was considered worthy of being chosen as an icon of extraordinary suffering due to the injustice and oppression it had endured for over 70 years at the hands of Israel. The conflict continues even until now.
Anxiety over the conflict made Iyut feel called out and having the urgency to do something. These were the two driving factors behind the expedition covering 111 mountains in a period of two years.
Well-known Palestinian Christian priest Naim Stefan Ateek and Palestinian Christian fighter George Habash are idols for Iyut.
Being born into a Christian family, the achievements of Naim Stefan Ateek and George Habash have become the main paradigm for Iyut in viewing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Iyut had also read the book "Palestina Milik Siapa" belonging to his idol.
In addition to climbing, Iyut was active at LPBH FAS (Lembaga Penyadaran dan Bantuan Hukum Forum Adil Sejahtera) and listed as a volunteer for the Charity in Unity community and serves as Chair of the Inter-Agency Department at the FGSBM (Federasi Gabungan Serikat Buruh Mandiri).
The climb began
Iyut began his expedition by climbing Rante 1 Mountain in East Java Province on August 14, 2021. At first, he planned to start an expedition of climbing 111 mountains for two years at the age of 30, but his dream came true in 2021 when he turned 34.
Initially, there were heavy feelings that it would be impossible to complete the expedition and even a sense of wanting to give up during the 70th or 80th climb, although at the end, Iyut was daring enough to realize his dream during his 100th climb.
During his climb, the man, born in Bogor on February 23, 1987, was faced with several pros and cons, especially from his mother, who was an activist at the church. By pouring out his heart to his mother, Iyut said he was keen to make his parents proud of him and that his dream was not just for climbing but it would be turned into a charity (amal jariyah) through a book.
"I want to have real work," Iyut stated at that time to his mother. Finally, his mother's heart melted, and she understood what her son was keen on doing.
During the expedition, Iyut spent his own money, amounting to Rp310 million, that he had collected from severance pay after having resigned three years ago and from the Workers Social Security Program (BPJSTK) as well as savings while working as a laborer in Cikarang for 13 years.
For about 80 percent of the climb, Iyut used a motorbike, while for the remaining 20 percent, he traveled by plane, as it was required in some areas.
During the two-year climb, several incidents occurred that required Iyut to return home, such as when he suffered from a knee injury and pinched nerves, when his sister gave birth, and when he was called to be a volunteer elsewhere. Iyut follows the principle that his act is for the sake of humanity and that he will stop it or go home just for humanitarian reasons as well.
Iyut felt dissatisfied with his climbing expedition, as 90 percent of the six layers of his plan failed to be executed due to the three-year La Nina factor.
He forgot one aspect, namely to consider that factor, which caused almost 80 percent of his climb to be undertaken in rainy conditions, even when the climb began in August, which is usually dry.
During the climb, there were several memorable experiences, such as when he spotted a bear cuscus twice in the forest, as that animal was an endemic species from Sulawesi that is almost extinct.
He had once called his mother 20 minutes before reaching the peak of Lewotolok Volcano in Lembata. At that time, Iyut felt unsure whether he would survive after hearing the sound of an eruption. "I even called my mother before going to the top," he stated.
Seeing a herd of horses atop the Boleng Volcano in Adonara Island was also an impressive occurrence, as such a sight could not be found at any volcano in the world.
Allegation of slander in the BTS corruption case in which his name was dragged into also become an experience for Iyut. At that time, during the seven days of climbing, there was no signal, and when he came down, his mobile was flooded with hundreds of messages via WhatsApp and Twitter. People had several questions about the news. However, Iyut remained focused to complete his dream expedition.
Every mountain has its own story and struggle. For instance, in Curunumbeng/Surunumbeng/Mblek/Rongkong/Desu, the highest mountain in the Satarmese area, southern West Manggarai, Flores. There is a unique story behind the name of the mountain.
National Geographic and the residents in Surunumbeng Village called it Mount Surunumbeng, while the residents in Bumbek Village that provided access to the climb believe that its name is Poco Rongkong, as that is the name inherited from their ancestors.
On the other hand, Daniel Quinn, a climber from England holding Indonesia's climbing record for scaling over 170 mountains, said Poco Desu was not the highest mountain and that he preferred the names: Curunumbeng and Mblek.
Meanwhile, the Government, via Bakosurtanal, named it Poco Desu and Poco Rongkong of the Bakosurtanal version is the mountain next to Poco Desu. In Mblek Village, the people called it Mount Mblek. However, Iyut prefers the name Poco Rongkong to honor the Bumbek villagers, who brought him to the top of the mountain.
There, it took up to 23 days for Iyut to seek information about it. He stayed in four villages and three hamlets to get information, and on the 24th day, he could just do the climb. According to information, it has been 50 years, and no climber has ever been to its highest peak.
Iyut was very adamant and obsessed with climbing it, as it was the one and only in the list of 170 mountains in Indonesia that Daniel Quinn had failed to climb. In 2013, he only got 300 meters before the top of the mountain.
For Iyut, climbing a mountain that cannot be scaled by the "god", Dann Quinn (Daniel Quinn), and that Willem Sigar Tasiam has never climbed was a rare achievement.
It was also a struggle of sorts to climb Mount Amagelu in Nagekeo District, Flores, since only three groups/people outside the local community had ever reached the top.
In 1990, a German citizen succeeded in reaching the top, and in 2000, four climbers from South Sulawesi built a monument on it during a two-week expedition. Iyut was one of those who had successfully reached it in 2022.
The next is Mount Bukit Raya in Central Kalimantan. It was then, for the first time that Iyut had experienced a nosebleed while climbing, as he could not sleep for 40 hours due to fever and being bitten by leeches. For Iyut, dispelling hundreds of leeches in five days and four nights was the most "bloody" climb.
Iyut completed his two-year climbing expedition of 111 mountains on Mount Rantekambola in South Sulawesi on August 10, 2023.
Meanwhile, Mount Rante Mario (3,443 mdpl) in South Sulawesi is the highest in Sulawesi as well as the mountain where Willem always closed his expeditions. Both the mountains are in Enrekang in South Sulawesi and are included in the mountains in the Latimojong Mountains cluster.
"Because my idol climber Willem Sigar Tasiam always closes his phenomenal expeditions in South Sulawesi. Hence, it is to honor my idol," he stated.
The next dreams
Through this expedition, Iyut is keen to share with young people that climbing activities need to be accompanied by voicing and campaigning for humanitarian action on whatever issue that one is keen to raise. Iyut never intended to bring his family during the climbing expedition, as it was too dangerous.
This expedition covering 111 mountains became the first part of a tetralogy of expeditions that Iyut had been planning for dozens of years. The second part of the expedition to climb 222 mountains in 2025, some 333 mountains in 2027, and one thousand mountains also as the closing are Iyut's future dreams.
“Tetralogy 1 to 3 is for Palestine and the rest is universal. Palestine is as a locomotive," he stated.
In the next journey, Iyut will engage witnesses in the form of local residents to accompany him during the climb, and he still uses his own money for his expedition, as it seems impossible to get sponsors. Iyut yet does not know when his book about the expedition will be completed.
"But if 'trance', well, it should be under two years," he said humorously.
List of mountains
Iyut began a two-year climbing expedition of 111 mountains on Mount Rante 1 and Rante 2 in East Java, Mount Agung, Batur, Abang, Pohen, Secret Hill, Tapak, Bon, Penggilingan, Catur, Adeng, Lesung, Sanghyang in Bali, Mount Ijen in East Java, Mount Batukaru in Bali, and Mount Lompobattang in South Sulawesi.
Iyut then continued his climb to Mount Gamalama and Maitara in North Maluku and Mount Sindoro, Bismo, Prau, Pakuwaja, Sumbing, Kembang in Central Java and also Mount Dedeng, Mbeililing, Rongkong, Inerie, Kelimutu, Meja, Iya, Ebulobo, Amagelu, Pajung, Egon, Lewotobi Perempuan and Lewotobi Laki-laki in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
The next climb was to South Sulawesi Province where there are Mount Bawakaraeng, Bulusaraung, Bulu Baria, Rante Mario, Bubundirangkang, Nenemori, Buntu Batu, Kapurapanggan, Tillok, Tinabang, Pantelloan, Pongkapinjan, Sesean, and Kandora. The journey continued to Mount Gede, Pangrango, Salak, Patuha and Sanggabuana in West Java and Mount Karang in Banten.
Iyut has yet to go to Mount Tanggamus, Pesagi, Seminung in Lampung and Mount Bedil, Haruman, Wayang, Windu, Harendong, Cisangkuy, Datar Tulang, Paseban in West Java and Mount Batok, Widodaren, Watangan, Kursi, and Bromo in East Java.
Mount Ungaran, Andong, Lawu, Merbabu and Slamet in Central Java are also on the list and then Mount Ciremai, Papandayan, Cikuray, Sagara, Guntur, Kendang, Malabar in West Java and Mount Kaba and also Daun in Bengkulu.
In order to fulfill his dream, Iyut also climbed Mount Sibayak and Pusuk Buhit in North Sumatra, followed by Mount Gumuruh in West Java and Mount Boleng, Lewotolok, Uyelewun, Werung, Mauraja, Labalekang, Sirung and Koya-koya in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
Mount Pulosari in Banten, Sangar in West Java, Muria in Central Java, Penanggungan in East Java, Bukit Raya in Central Kalimantan, Bukit Kelam in West Kalimantan and Mount Arjuna, Kembar 2, Kembar 1, Welirang and Buthak in East Java and Mount Rantekambola in South Sulawesi closed Iyut's journey.
A total of 50 mountains are on Java Island, and the remaining 61 are outside Java. Iyut has visited mountains in other provinces, such as in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) and Papua, but unfortunately, his mission failed due to several factors, for instance, due to Papuan armed groups in Papua and storm factor on Mount Rinjani.
Translator: Asri Mayang Sari
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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