Mount Semeru: Climb and Erupting Volcano
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Mountain Stats
- #18 Highest in Indonesia
- #31 Highest in Southeast Asia
- #1 Highest in Java
- 20 minutes: Average time between eruptions
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Natural Form and History
Natural Mount Semeru Indonesia - Natural history
Mount Semeru came into being around 60 million years ago, and is part of the massive Tengger Volcanic Complex. The stratovolcano comprises mostly of blocky lava. It rises steeply from the coastal plain of Eastern Java, and is capped with a maar.
Natural Mount Semeru Indonesia - Climbing history
Mount Semeru is the highest peak in Java. The volcano has been active since 1967, with mini-eruptions occurring every 20minutes at times. The climb itself is pretty safe, but there may be risks of inhaling poisonous gases from time to time. One famous incident was when Indonesian politician Soe Hok Gie died in 1969 due to these poisonous gases. Due to the frequent updates, it would be best to check if any changes have been happening recently before you pay a visit.
Natural Mount Semeru Indonesia - Current status
Despite being an active volcano that has taken the lives of many in the past, Mount Semeru is a popular climbing spot for mountaineers from all around the world.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Climbing Experience & Itinerary
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Climbing Experience
This popular hike is considered rather safe and has been frequently labelled one of Indonesia’s finest hikes. Black puffy clouds of volcanic ash and sand are released from the peak almost on an hourly basis. The only inconvenience you may face is the wind and rocky terrain you’ll encounter before you get to Ranu Kumbolo.
The climbing terrain comprises of 2 sections: the pre-summit section that needs to be covered on Day 1 has mostly vegetable plantations and pine forests. One may need to be careful about the monkeys in this region.The summit section comprises mostly of hardened lava-based rocks with little vegetation. The trail becomes more difficult as it gets steeper and the loose terrain could lead to slips if trekkers aren’t careful.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Trail options
The most popular route to the summit of Mount Semeru is the Eastern trail that starts at Ranu Pani, and is rather simple and direct. Even for amateur climbers, there is hardly any need for a guide. 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 the occasional tree and formation of clouds. While there is an alternate route that takes one through the fields back to the village of Ranu Pani, that is rarely attempted and may require one to hire a guide, especially for first timers.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Support facilities
Guides and porters
Food & water
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Safety & Accessibility
Temperatures are nice and cool during the daytime but can drop below freezing at night. The best time to visit Mount Semeru is in the dry season from April to November.
Steep surfaces: The climb to the summit is quite steep once the trekkers leave from Kumbolo. Therefore, it is advisable to climb through the trail at a steady pace, and wear sturdy boots that rise above the ankle.
Slips and falls: The trail is mostly made up of lava rocks, many of which have hardened, but be cautious when climbing to avoid slipping.
Toxic gases: As the summit is an active volcano, gas masks are a necessity to stay safe.
Thousands of travelers from all over the world visit Mount Semeru every year and they tend to have a safe experience whether traveling solo or in groups. Basic precautions against theft are always recommended.
Permits, Fees, and Regulations
Permits are necessary. Once you’ve shown your passport, a permit can be obtained from the national post office in Ranu Pani for around $25USD. Remember to bring a health certificate from a nearby hospital or healthcare centre like Puskesmas in Tumpang. This should cost you around $3USD.
Getting there and away
The airport in Surabaya welcomes daily flights from major cities like Jakarta and Bali. There’s a 5-hour drive from the airport to Ranu Pani.
In addition to the $30USD you’ll have to keep for your trek permit and health certificate, the costs are minimal. You’ll have to invest in camping gear beforehand and pack snacks and meals for your two day long summit.
Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Special Tips
Tips for amateur climbers
Amateur or beginner mountaineers may feel challenged by Semeru. But as long as you’re reasonably fit, and you take your time, you should be fine.
Tips for advanced climbers
If the Semeru hike isn’t challenging enough for you, try linking up with some of the other mountains and volcanos in the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National park, or even other mountains in East Java.
Tips for women
There are no special challenges facing women on Semeru. Many women embark on this trek annually, mostly in larger groups.
Tips for trail runners
The Bromo Tengger Semeru (BTS) Ultra Race will be taking place in November 2019 at the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The run spans across rural back roads, forest path and prairie lands offering participants views of Mount Semeru and Lake Kumbolo.
Tips for nature lovers
The geology of the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru national park is the main natural wonder to appreciate. There may be some diverse ecosystems in the lower forests and jungles, but introduced plant species, and cultivation of the lower slopes means that it is not the best place in Indonesia, or even Java, for nature walking.