Mount Arjuno-Welirang: The Twin Peaks
Climbing Mount Arjuno Indonesia - Mountain Stats
- #36 Highest Mountain in SE Asian Region
Climbing Mount Arjuno Indonesia - Natural Form and History
Natural Mount Arjuno Indonesia - Natural history
The massive Arjuno-Welirang mountain range in East Java consists of 4 peaks over 3,000m from the active Welirang in the west to the long dormant Arjuna in the East. It is located just 50km south of Indonesia’s second largest city, Surabaya. Whilst the lower Welirang peak is active and still mined by local sulphur collectors, Arjuno itself is dormant. The twin Kembar peaks are nestled between them.
Natural Mount Arjuno Indonesia - Climbing history
This mountain is set in the ancient Mojopahit heartland and is dotted with temples, graves and other historical sites which are still visited by local folk today. “Arjuna” was named after the third of the five Pandawa Brothers who are heroes of the Indian Mahabharata epic and the plays of the wayang purwa, the classical Javanese shadow theatre. Arjuna is renowned as the handsome, invincible warrior of the shadow play, so perhaps the mountain is named “Arjuno” because it is as beautiful and impressive as the shadow theatre character.
Natural Mount Arjuno Indonesia - Current status
Today Welirang is known as a major sulphur deposit. One of its summit craters is being quarried. To traverse the entire range is an incredible hike, but given the size of the undertaking it is not as popular as others in Java.
Climbing Mount Arjuno Indonesia - Climbing Experience & Itinerary
Climbing Mount Arjuno Indonesia - Climbing Experience
Traversing the entire Arjuno-Welirang Mountain range is one of the finest hikes you can enjoy in Java, Indonesia. There’s a range of ecology, volcanology, and history to explore over a number of peaks and craters.
Most tracks up the mountain start off in good condition, but as one gets higher the tracks frequently disappear or turn into a multitude of trails left by animals and lost hikers!
Climbing Mount Arjuno Indonesia - Trail options
There are 3 trails available, of which Tretes is the most popular. However, due to the substantial climb on this trail, Sumber Brantas/Cangar is slowly growing in popularity amongst climbers.
The main trails are rocky paths. Some of the trails have been damaged by carts that used to carry sulphur down from the deposits in the higher reaches of the mountain. Dusty shortcuts have also been formed by this activity, which can cause confusion as to where the main trail is.
Climbing Mount Arjuno Indonesia - Support facilities
Guides and porters
Food & water
Climbing Mount Arjuno Indonesia - Safety & Accessibility
The weather in this part of Indonesia switches between the dry season from May to October, and the rainy season from November to April. This renders May-October the best time of the year to climb. Despite how pleasant the weather may be when starting your trek, climbers must be prepared for remarkable drops in temperature at night, even going below 10°C.
Volcanic eruptions: Always check the news before you start planning your trek. Despite not having erupted since 1952, Welirang is still considered an active volcano.
As Arjuno-Welirang is a popular hike. There is little chance of being left isolated or stranded. Even so, the hike is best done in a group if you have the option to find fellow travellers to accompany you.
Permits, Fees, and Regulations
Permits are required and will be granted at the entrance, provided you’ve brought a copy of your passport as well as IDR 25,000 if you’re not a local.
Getting there and away
The airport in Surabaya welcomes daily flights from major cities like Jakarta and Bali. There are many transport options from Surabaya and even Malang, including taxis, shared cars, buses, ojeks, angkots.
The permit for non-Indonesians is approximately IDR 25,000. A guide should cost around IDR 500,000, however be sure to negotiate all details beforehand so both parties are clear about what’s promised with the price.
Climbing Mount Arjuno Indonesia - Special Tips
Tips for amateur climbers
If you’re just starting out hiking, perhaps this might not be the best climb to start with. However, this may also depend on which route you take.
Tips for advanced climbers
There are more advanced routes to take if you’re looking to test your climbing skills. However, being less popular, definitely hire a guide and get them to show you the way to the more challenging bits.
Tips for women
Women summiting Arjuno should not face any special challenges. However, it is best to travel in groups and use a professional and reputable guide or tour service. Avoid unwanted attention or cultural faux pas by taking your dressing cues from locals (who tend to cover shoulders and legs, even when swimming).
Tips for responsible / safety-conscious climbers
This is a pretty unique environmental area that is worth taking steps to protect and preserve. Avoid wandering off the trail and don’t leave anything behind. Extra karma for those who take home a bag full of other people’s rubbish.
Tips for trail runners
The Mantra Summits Challenge takes place every year around July, with registrations beginning in January.
Tips for nature lovers
The lower slopes are forested and the upper slopes are covered with tussock and a type of local alpine pine tree. The Lalijiwo Plateau between the twin peaks of Kembar and Arjuna is noted for deer and wild pigs.