Mount Merapi

indonesia

Mount Merapi: Climb one of Indonesia’s Most Active Volcanoes

Mountain Stats
Natural Form and History
Climbing Experience & Itinerary
Support Facilities
Safety & Accessibility
Special Tips
Gallery
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Quick Answers

Q:Whats it like to climb Mount Merapi?
A:The most popular Mount Merapi summit trail is a 4km trek that takes around 4 hours to complete, so no camping out is necessary. The volatile Indonesian volcano is a tough hike with steep slopes - bring good hiking boots and be ready for a tough vertical slog with the occasional scramble. The best time to visit is during the dry season from May to October. Locals believe that inside it is a palace for fairies and spirits.
Q:What does Mount Merapi look like?
A:Mount Merapi is a volcanic mountain peak situated in Java, Indonesia. The “Fire Maker” stands tall at 2,930m (9,610ft) with steep slopes adorned with dense vegetation at the lower flanks. Its volcanic activity means that its upper slopes is made up of barren and often loose rock.

Climbing Mount Merapi Indonesia - Mountain Stats

Country
indonesia
Height
2,930m (9,610ft)
Climbing Height
1,300m (4,265ft)
Numbers
  • 2 major eruptions in the last decade

Climbing Mount Merapi Indonesia - Natural Form and History

Natural Mount Merapi Indonesia - Natural history

The Fire Maker sits in southern Java where the Indo-Australian Plate slides under the Sunda Plate. Merapi is the most active of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia and as per stratigraphic analysis it started experiencing eruptions about 400,000 years ago. Today, the mountain is one of 16 decade volcanoes, identified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI) for special study given the regularity of eruptions and proximity to populated areas.

Natural Mount Merapi Indonesia - Climbing history

Despite how active this volcano may be, Merapi has been a climbing destination for a long time. There have been 2 major eruptions in the past decade, with the long series of explosions in 2010 killing 350 people. This 34-day long eruption broke Merapi’s previous record of 120 hours in 1872.

Natural Mount Merapi Indonesia - Current status

As its popularity has grown for being a dangerous volcano in the last few decades, Merapi’s popularity among climbers has also picked up. Tens of thousands of people attempt the climb every year now, although the Mount Merapi National Park Agency sometimes proactively steps in to limit the number of climbers, as they did on New Year’s Eve in December 2016 (with a limit of 2,500 hikers) and again in May 2018, when a new explosion led to a 3km evacuation zone around the mountain and a halt in all hiking activities.

Climbing Mount Merapi Indonesia - Climbing Experience & Itinerary

Climbing Mount Merapi Indonesia - Climbing Experience

The Merapi climb is about 4km long and stretches from New Selo to the summit with an elevation of 700m at a 45 degree angle – making this a steep and challenging exercise. The trail has a number of different sections and switches from roads to rocks and roots to sand. While a seasoned hiker may need just around 4 hours to scale the height, an inexperienced climber would require at least an hour more to do the same.

Climbing Mount Merapi Indonesia - Trail options

Number of options
2
Summary

There’s a trail from Selo on the northern slope and an alternative one on the south from Kinahrejo. However, authorities consider the latter extremely dangerous and recommends avoiding it altogether.

Time to complete
8 hours

This trail is followed quite often when the volcano is inactive. The 4km trek begins from the New Selo parking lot at an altitude of 2,200m and goes upto 2,900m at the summit. Most prefer starting the hike after midnight to reach the summit by sunrise at 5:30am. Climbers must be very cautious during descent due to the extremely slippery conditions.

Itinerary
Number of days
1
Day 1
19:30:

Pick up from the hotel at Yogyakarta. It takes 2 hours to reach Selo, a small village that is 1600 meters above sea level.

22:00:

You can start walking from the Selo village, or drive on for another 30 minutes to reach the New Selo basecamp, which is about 4 km from the summit.

01:00:

The hike starts from New Selo basecamp which is about 4 km from the summit. You’ll walk up first along an open farmland and then through a forest that can be thick in places, so make sure you have your headlamps on to see the path ahead, even if the moon is up in the sky.

04:30:

Reach the rest camp at Pasar Bubrah. Catch your breath before starting up again towards the summit. If the moonlight is bright, or you’re late and there is some sunlight already, you will see the almost moon-like landscape of Merapi at this point.

05:30:

The last part of the stretch is the most difficult, as you may need to scramble over sand and loose rock to negotiate the 200m to the summit. Get there in time for sunrise though, and you’ll be rewarded with a perfect view of flat lands spread out around you for miles and amazing shadows from the rising sun.

06:30:

Start the descent to New Selo. As difficult the loose sand is on the way up, it is the easiest thing to navigate while coming down, since every step you take will sink in the dust to bring you down even further.

09:00:

Get a late breakfast at New Solo, and take a taxi back to Yogyakarta hotel or airport.

This trail is on the southern slope of the mountain and starts at the lava stream 200m east of the memorial museum. If you’re lucky (depending on your perspective of course) and there is volcanic activity going on, you may see molten lava flowing down the slopes of the mountain in some sections. Considered too dangerous for most hikers, it is also usually closed.

Climbing Mount Merapi Indonesia - Support facilities

Guides and porters

Guides are recommended
Porters are not required

Trail facilities

Trail head - Registration kiosk
Trail head - Toilets / Bathrooms
Trail - Rest stop shelters, such as huts, pavilions, etc.

Food & water

Trail head - Food
Trail head - Potable water

Network connectivity

Trail head - Network signal
Trail - Network signal

Climbing Mount Merapi Indonesia - Safety & Accessibility

Weather

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. Usually, trekkers prefer to begin the hike at around midnight in order to be able to reach the summit before sunrise. Some also attempt daytime hikes, but they are more dangerous given the sulphuric gas emissions that pick up in the day.

Climbing safety

Slips and falls:  Parts of this 4km trek are very steep, with a high risk of slips and falls, especially if it rains. So it is advisable not to rush the climb. Reaching the crater peak is the most difficult part, and one should stay away from trying to look into the bottom of the crater. A young man from Yogyakarta died in 2015 at the summit, while trying to take a dangerous selfie.

Volcanic eruptions:  Always check the news before you start planning your trek. Mount Merapi is an active volcano and the Merapi Volcanic Observatory constantly monitors the volcanic activity of Mount Merapi in order to issue evacuation orders to the population of the area.

Personal safety

As Mount Merapi is one of the most popular hikes in Indonesia, there is no fear of being left isolated or stranded. Even so, the hike is best done in a group if you have the option to find fellow travelers to accompany.

Permits, Fees, and Regulations

There is a registration ticket required at around 1.5km up the trail from New Selo, although it might be closed if there are danger signs of the volcano erupting. Be prepared to be presented with a 10x higher entry fee if you’re a foreign climber.

Emergency contacts

Police: 110

Fire: 113

Ambulance: 118

Search & Rescue: (0274)-587999

Getting there and away

Yogyakarta airport is the nearest, and sits around 30 kilometers from the volcano. One can hire a taxi from Yogyakarta to Selo. It should take about 2 hours to reach Selo and another 30 minutes to reach the base camp in the New Selo parking lot. Taxi drivers might be willing to wait for you to complete the hike and bring you back once you’re done – talk to them beforehand if you’d like to keep that as an option.

Money Matters

Foreigners may have to pay anything from around 150,000IDR. per person to even 225,000IDR. as entrance fees, unlike Indonesians who pay around 1/10 of this.

Climbing Mount Merapi Indonesia - Special Tips

Tips for amateur climbers

Considering how steep this trek is, hiking poles are recommended for those with bad knees. If completing the ascent and descent within a day is not for you, try setting out in the late afternoon/evening and camping in a tent overnight at Pasar Bubrah. Proceed to complete the final push to the summit early next morning.

Tips for advanced climbers

The mountain is, at most, a scramble. Otherwise, there isn’t much opportunity to show off advanced mountaineering skills.

Tips for women

There are no special risks on this trail for women.

Tips for trail runners

Merapi will probably be too steep and loose on the upper slopes to seriously consider running. Nevertheless, let us know your best time and we will post it here.

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