Mount Semeru is an angry volcano. It has been erupting since 1967, yet is a favourite trekking destination in Indonesia!
Should you summit it, you will almost certainly see an explosion or two – they typically occur 10 to 30 minute intervals – but at least they’re small and regular (for now).
Want to know how to climb it? We have the information you need here.
- #18 in Indonesia
- #31 in South East Asia
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Natural Form and History
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - History
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Geological history
Mount Semeru was formed around 60 million years ago as a result of the subduction of the Australia Plate beneath the Eurasia Plate. Currently, this cinder cone-shaped volcano is located above the Eastern Java plains. Its formation comprises mostly of blocky lava, which has very high viscosity, with silica as the primary composition.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Modern climbing history
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Current popularity as a climbing destination
Mt. Semeru is a popular mountain climbing destination for tourists who climb it frequently. As it is the highest peak (with an active volcano) on the island of Java in Indonesia, tourists visit the place from different parts of the world, despite the volcano still being active (frequently erupting since 1967) and there having been a few fatalities during climbing incidents. Some tourists have also died due to inhaling of poisonous gases while hiking, a well-known incident being of the Indonesian politician Soe Hok Gie who died while hiking in 1969. Nevertheless, the mountain remains one of the most popular spots in Indonesia.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Overview of the Trail
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Overall Assessment
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Summary of trail accessibility
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Trail options
The most popular route to the summit of Mount Semeru is the Eastern trail that starts at Ranu Pane, and is rather simple and direct. Even for amateur climbers, there is hardly any need for a guide to take one to the top. It does however get quite windy and a little rocky on the way to the first milestone, which is Ranu Kumbolo. The route could also get a little confusing at times due to occasional trees and formation of clouds. While there is an alternate route that takes one through the fields back to the village of Ranu Pane, that is rarely atempted and may require one to hire a guide, especially for first timers.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Most popular trail
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Standard itinerary
The standard Mount Semeru trek takes 2 days in which tourists can camp for a night at the Kalimati camp base. The 2-day trip begins at 4:00 a.m. as the initial trip from Malang / Surabaya can take up to 5 hours. Trekkers will have to reach the village of Ranu Pane to start the trek early enough.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Day 1
04:00: You should wake up early to head out to the village of Ranu Pane with the help of available public transport or a private car from Malang or Surabhya. Remember to pack your breakfast, lunch and drinking water before starting the journey.
09:00: Once at Ranu Pane, you will be required to register at the national post office present there. Your passport will be required for the regisration, and you may also be asked for a medical / BMI report to verify your fitness levels. The registration process could be a little faser if you have a local guide.
09:30: After finishing the mandatory registration, the hiking journey to Mt. Semeru can be undertaken with or without a local guide. From here, you will be trekking all the way to Lake Kumbolo by taking the Eastern trail through Watu Rejeng. The journey can take up to 4 hours. You can have your lunch at the lake.
13:30: From here, you can move towards the Kalimati base camp. The route will take up to 3 hours to cover. On the way, admire the scenic beauty of the peak of Ayek Ayek.
16:30: Once you arrive at the Kalimati camp, you can camp at the site for a night and have dinner, before settling for the night. Some climbers choose to move further up to the Arcopodo camp that saves 1-1.5 hours of journey to the summit on day 2.”
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Day 2
01:00: The trek to Mount Semeru can take 3 to 4 hours in the morning on day 2, for which it is best get up around midnight. The trail from the camp now becomes steep so caution is advised. Having a guide could be helpful for inexperienced climbers for this section.
04:30: Sunrise usually occurs around 05:20am, so it is advisable to get to the summit a little before. After spending some at the summit, you can start with the trek back down to the camp.
07:00 – 07:30: After a short break at the camp, start the trek back down. Aim to get back to Lake Kumbolo by 10:30am to get breakfast there or just enjoy the view.
02:00: Arrive back at the village of Ranu Pane and have your lunch. From here, you can get back to your hotel at Malang or Surabhya, or leave for the airport directly.”
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Climbing Difficulty
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Terrain
The climbing terrain comprises of 2 sections: the pre-summit section that needs to be covered on Day 1 has mostly vegetable plantations on the way as well as pine forests. The summit section comprises mostly of hardened lava-based rocks with little vegetation.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Pre-summit section.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Summit section.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Weather
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Overview of climate
The temperatures at the lower areas are usually cool during the day but can get below freezing point at night. During the dry season, the daytime temperature ususally remains below 20C. The rainy season stays from the month of November until March. During the wet season, many trail sections are prone to landslips due to flooding. One can expect rainfall anytime though. And when it rains, the temperature can drop to as low as 5C.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Best time to climb
The best months to travel to Mount Semeru is during the dry months, which are from April to November. However, one can still face a wet day during the trip in any of these months. In addition, the trekking time, to and back should be early morning as there is a mild risk of inhaling toxic volcanic gases from the crater during midday. The soil also becomes a little loose during the day, which can make the trekking more difficult.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Common weather challenges
Rain: Trekkers need to be mentally and physically capable of hiking in the rainy weather at any time during their trip, though the summit office will not allow a trip if the weather is too bad. The greatest risk during the climb is from slipping due to the wet soil. In such situations, it is advisable to wear gloves and carry hiking poles for support. It is also advisable to carry other rain-protection covers and backpack for staying dry as much as possible.
Wind: It can get quite windy as climbers move upwards towards the summit. Trekkers can carry scarves and windbreakers to protect themselves against the wind.”
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Safety tips
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Climbing safety
Steep angles: The climb to the summit is quite steep once the trekkers leave from Lake Kumbolo. Therefore, it is advisable to climb through the trail at a regulated pace.
Slips and falls: The trail in many places is made of lava rocks, many of which have hardened, but step carefully still to avoid slipping. A wet day may additionally result in continuous wet trail that can be quite risky. It is advisable to stay together in groups, and follow guide ropes where available.
Toxic gases: As the summit is an active volcano, it is necessary that one carry gas masks to stay safe against the toxic volcanic gases in the air.”
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Personal safety
- Mount Semeru is a popular trek that draws thousands of tourists every year who generally have a plesant safe expereince. However, it is still advisable to take basic precautions and keep personal items secure to avoid any possibilty of theft.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Safety for women travelers
- Each year, thousands of women trekkers climb up the volcanic summit. Traveling as part of a larger group might be easier, but there are many single women climbers who attempt the trek regularly as well.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Recommended equipment
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Footwear
- Waterproof hiking boots. Be sure to use a well-worn pair that you are comfortable with rather than a new pair that may cause unexpected blisters or pain.
- Hiking socks”
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Clothing
- Lightweight waterproof clothing. At least two pairs recommended – one that you are wearing and one packed into the backpack for the next day or in case one gets wet. Long pants and long-sleeved tops or shirts are recommended.
- Waterproof windbreaker
- Scarf: for protection against cold and wind
- Gloves: for protection against cold, rain, and to facilitate holding on the guide ropes
- Warm cap: for protection against cold
- Warm inner clothing, for the overnight stay at the base camp tent
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Bags
- Waterproof backpack
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Weather protection
- Rain coat / poncho
- Waterproof cover for backpack
- Waterproof cover for camera
- Sunscreen lotion
- Sun glasses
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Climbing support
- Hiking poles
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Navigation tools
- Flashlight (optional)
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Medical equipment
- Basic first-aid kid, for cuts and bruises
- Medicines for altitude sickness, headache
- Insect repellent □ Knee/ankle supports
- Muscle-ache relief creams / sprays
- Gas mask for protection against fumes from the volcano
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Food
- Drinking water
- High-calorie dry food items – chocolates, energy bars, etc.”
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Hygene sanitation
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper □ Wet and dry tissues
- Toothpaste + toothbrush
- Personal toiletries
- Disposable plastic bags for waste collection
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Connectivity
- Mobile phone(s)
- Portable battery charger”
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Documents
- Passport (and other IDs): for registration and emergencie
- A medical report with your BMI / healh data may be asked for at registration”
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Support facilities
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Resting stops and facilities
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Rest stops
The trek on day 1 has just one official rest stop at Ranu Kumbolo located at 2,390m above sea level. It offers a resting area with green vegetation in the lake Kumbolo region, with some shelter, and scenic vistas.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Base camp
There are two base camps where most climbers settle for the night at the end of day 1. The first one is at Kalimati (2,669m) and the second at Arcopodo (2,912m). Both camps offers a flat terrain ideal for camping.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Guides and porters
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Do you need a guide?
The route to the summit is relatively simple, which makes the need of a guide optional. For an amateur climber though, a registered guide can help make the journey hassle-free, especially in setting up your overnight arrangements at the base camp.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - How to find a guide?
There are several trained and licensed local guides at the location. You can also book a guide before embarking on the trip so that they can take care of arrangements before you reach. Look for guide recommendations in reliable travel forums.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Tips while working with guides
- Read reviews from previous climbers before confirming a guide. Make it known to the guide if appropriate how you heard about them and offer to write a review if you like the experience. This might give them the extra incentive to be attentive to your needs.
- To reduce costs, look to join groups and share their guide. Some tour operators may also provide discounts on guides during certain months for climbers.
- Check if the guide can speak good English before you start, so they can engage with you along the journey.
- Ask for the guide’s ID proof before beginning the trek.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Porters
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Do you need a porter?
The pre-summit journey until Kalimati base camp is doable without the need of a porter. However, you may still wish to engage a porter to carry the camping equipment, and any non-essential equipment you are thinking of bringing along.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - How to find a porter?
Porters will generally arranged be arranged directly by your guides.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Tips while working with porters
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Food & water
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - At the start of the hike
Breakfast options are available at the village of Ranu Pane from where you still start the hike. If you have taken a tour package, then most agencies will include the breakfast in the package.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - During the hike, along the trail
If you have hired a guide for the trek, he or she will likely bring along some snacks for the rest stop break. Natural water is available along the way through pipes installed in mountain slopes, where you can refill your drinking bottles. Some locals consider the water at Lake Kumbolo to be potable, but it is best not to take chances if you are not accustomed to drinking from open natural sources. Climbers may also wish to carry some high-calorie dry food items such as chocolates and energy bars along for extra nutrition.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - During the hike, at base camp
If you have hired a guide for the trek, you will get a meal at the base camp. If not though, make sure to bring sufficient food for dinner on day 1.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Network connectivity
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Phone and data (3G) connectivity
You may have a connection until Ranu Pane Lake, but once the climb steepens, the signal becomes weak. Fortunately, there is a mobile network connection once you reach the summit.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Accessibility
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Getting there
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Nearest airportThe nearest domestic airport to the summit is at Surabaya, with daily flights from major cities like Jakarta and Bali.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - From the airport to the starting point
From the airport to the trek starting point at Ranu Pane village, the journey goes through Malang or Tupang, and can take up to 5 hours.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Climbing permits
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Is a permit needed?Yes, you will require a climbing permit for the volcanic summit.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - How to get a permit?
Permits can be collected at the national post office in Ranu Pane. Your passport will be required for the regisration, and you may also be asked for a medical / BMI report to verify your fitness levels.