Mount Merbabu: A Javanese Hike
Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Mountain Stats
- Gunung Merbabu
- Ashy Mountain
Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Natural Form and History
Natural Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Natural history
Merbabu actually has not one but two peaks; Syarif (3,119 m) and Kenteng Songo (3,145 m). Three U-shaped radial valleys extend from the Kenteng Songo summit in northwesterly, northeastly and southeastly directions. Two known moderate eruptions occurred in 1560 and 1797. The 1797 event was rated 2: Explosive, on the Volcanic Explosivity Index.
Geologically recent eruptions originated from a North Northwest-South Southeast fissure system that cut across the summit and fed the large-volume lava flows from Kopeng and Kajor craters on the northern and southern flanks, respectively.
An area of 57 km² at the mountain was declared a national park in 2004.
Natural Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Climbing history
Merbabu has always been referred to as Merapi’s lesser known sibling.
Natural Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Current status
Merbabu may not be as popular as Mount Merapi amongst hikers however this makes it a great climb for those who prefer less crowds during a hike.
Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Climbing Experience & Itinerary
Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Climbing Experience
Despite not being as known amongst the hiking community as Merapi, Merbabu is still one of Central Java’s most popular hikes. Climbing this volcano offers spectacular views from all directions.
Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Trail options
Merbabu can be climbed from several trails near Kopeng in the north with starting points at Thekelan, Cunthel and Wekas, or from the south at Selo. There is also a trail from the west at Suwanting.
Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Support facilities
Guides and porters
Food & water
Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Safety & Accessibility
The best time to climb Merbabu is during the dry season from May to October. The rainy season is generally from December to March.
Hiking poles are definitely a must for this hike. Rock climbing skills are not necessary, neither are technical climbing skills. However, there are sections that do require some light scrambling.
Climbing Merbabu is a little tough but anyone with good fitness and hiking experience should be able to cope.
Permits, Fees, and Regulations
You need to take a copy of your passport with you for registration purposes and you’ll need to pay a fee no more than 30,000 IDR.
Getting there and away
Adisutjipto International Airport is the closest airport serving the Yogyakarta area on Java.
Other than the entrance fee, your costs should be quite low on this hike, specially since you don’t even need a porter and guides too are not a necessity.
Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Special Tips
Tips for amateur climbers
The quick trail from Selo may be your favoured option but despite the longer hike, climbing from Suwanting isn’t a bad idea either.
Tips for advanced climbers
Give yourself a bit of a challenge with either the overnight hike from Suwanting or the toughest and steepest 8 hour hike to the top through Wekas.
Tips for women
Women summiting Merbabu should not face any special challenges. 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 trail runners
It’s unclear as to whether there are organised races yet, however trail running does take place through the Selo trail.
Tips for nature lovers
Look out for the beautiful ubiquitous Javanese edelweiss (aka the Everlasting Flower) which is endemic to the mountains of Indonesia.