THE SPECTACULAR KLANG GATES QUARTZ RIDGE FORMS the backdrop to the Ampang side of KL, extending to the Karak highway where it almost touches the toll booths. It is an impressive site, almost resembling the backbone of some prehistoric creature guarding the KL valley. Although often mistaken for limestone, it is the longest quartz ridge in the country at about 16km in length. Quartz is a common mineral, a silicate used for making glass. The ridge has ragged cliffs up to 120m high, and its length is broken into sections by rivers. Its top is a jagged knife-edge, in some places only a few metres wide, with precipitous drops on either side.
It is a popular place for walkers, climbers, and nature lovers. From the ridge top there are stunning views over KL and also the Klang Gates dam. Certain areas of the ridge are on private land. Unfortunately, developments encroach closer and closer to the ridge, and in some parts the houses almost touch the cliffs. The most spectacular part of the ridge is its mid-section, Bukit Batu Tabur, which stretches 4-5km from Taman Melawati to the National Zoo. The access point is from the Puncak Niaga waterworks. The initial climb up to the ridge is hot and sweaty work as you follow a steep narrow path. But it is worth the effort as the first view is over the dam. Beyond the dam are the mountains of the main range, still covered with thick rainforest. This is one of the water catchment areas for KL and Selangor.
Once up on the ridge, you can follow the trail as it winds slowly upwards. After millions of years of erosion, the ridge is now just a narrow spine. It is relatively easy going, although there are a couple of sections where you have to do some simple rock climbing. However it is not the place to be if you suffer from a fear of heights, and take great care if it has been raining.
It’s preferable to start your ascent early morning, to avoid the full heat of the sun. Do take plenty of water, and there are wooded areas that provide welcome shade. From the ridge you can hear the gibbons in the zoo calling, although there may also be some wild ones living in the rainforest. The ridge has endemic fauna and flora and has been made into a wildlife reserve. The “serow” or wild mountain goat inhabits this type of terrain.
You can walk along until you reach the area that overlooks the Karak highway. However most people don’t get that far, as it can be quite a strenuous walk. The ridge is worth a visit, as it is unique, and could be a valuable geological monument. However, very little has been done to protect it.
To access the ridge: From the Ulu Klang Middle Ring Road, head for Taman Melawati and take Jln Taman Melawati. At the roundabout go left, then at the next roundabout go straight over. At the T-junction turn right and follow this road, it ends at the Puncak Niaga waterworks. Note parking is limited and tends to get quite full at weekends. Look for the narrow trail up the hill before the waterworks gate.
This article was written by Liz Price
Source: The Expat July 2005 edition
This article was edited for ExaptGomalaysia.com
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