Semeru Volcano against the backdrop of a clear blue sky.

Semeru Volcano against the backdrop of a clear blue sky.

 

The hike up to the peak of Gunung Api Semeru takes a minimum of 2 days, with one night camping, although most people take 3 days or longer to do the trek.

Guides and porters can be hired at the Pak Tasrip Homestay and are strongly recommended as this Web site was donated by a hiker who lost his way while alone at the top and was stuck on the mountain for 2 days before reuniting with a Search and Rescue team.

Guides and porters can be hired at the Pak Tasrip Homestay and are strongly recommended as this Web site was donated by a hiker who lost his way while alone at the top and was stuck on the mountain for 2 days before reuniting with a Search and Rescue team.

 

Nights can get below freezing at the top of the volcano, so proper gear is required. Here is a list of recommended gear (many of these items can be purchased or rented at the Pak Tasrip Family Homestay).

Gear

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Warm Clothing + Rain Jacket
  • Hiking Shoes*
  • Headlamp (Headtorch)
  • Lighters (Fire)
  • First Aid Kit *
  • Antiseptic Wipes *
  • Toilet Paper
  • Knife (Machete if cutting firewood) *
  • 1.5-2L water per day
  • Food for the whole trip
  • Water Purification Tablets *
  • * Items weren’t currently available for purchase or rental from Pak Tasrip Family Homestay store although may be in stock currently. Please call ahead to find out.

    Trek

    Before starting your trek up to the peak of Semeru, you will need to obtain a permit from the PHKA post (6000 Rp) & pay for the park entrance fee if you haven’t already done so (25,000 Rp).

    There is then a 3 hour hike to Ranu Kumbolo, a beautiful volcanic crater lake where there is a walled shelter. Water from the lake is potable (tablets recommended) and in the middle of the day may even be warm enough to swim in.

     

    Ranu Kumbolo trek.

    Ranu Kumbolo trek.

    Behind the shelter for Ranu Kumbolo there is a memorial stone to Andika, an Indonesian college student whose life was taken while climbing on Semeru in 2009.

    From there is a 2 hour hike through beautiful valleys and meadows, sometimes covered in a beautiful purple flower. Here there are sweeping views of Semeru as you make your way to the Kalimati base camp, where there is another shelter.

     

    Beautiful Valleys and Meadows

    Beautiful Valleys and Meadows

     

    Afterwards, there is a steeper 1 1/2 hr hike through a forest trail to Arcopodo, a series of clearings where one can pitch a tent and build a fire. It is here people usually spend the night waking up between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. to hike to the summit for sunrise. It is absolutely dangerous to walk close to the crater as the volcano spews poisonous gas. As the day becomes hotter this gas collects at the summit, therefore it is absolutely dangerous to be on the summit past 8 a.m. as well.

    On your way back down make absolutely sure you stay on the path and don’t enter the treeline without first finding the flag and trailmarker to Arcopodo. This is where several people have made mistakes, either costing them their lives or coming very close it.

    Afterwards, you can hike back down to Ranu Pani and can make it down by sunset or camp at the mountain campsites for (an) extra night(s).

    Folklore

    View of the people sitting beneath the colorful umbrellas and tents near Semeru.

    View of the people sitting beneath the colorful umbrellas and tents near Semeru.

     

    For Indonesian Hindus, Semeru holds a deeply spiritual position and is considered their holiest mountain, fathering Gunung Agung on Bali. Semeru is also placed close by to Gunung Bromo, which has its own separate folklore bringing thousands yearly to the Casodo festival, where people worship for days on end bringing gifts of chickens, coins, and produce as offerings to the volcanic belly.

    Semeru is named from Sumeru, the central world-mountain in Buddhist cosmology and by extension Hinduism. As stated in legend, it was transplanted from India; the tale is recorded in the 16th-century East Javanese work Tantu Panggelaran.

    It was originally placed in the western part of the island, but that caused the island to tip, so it was moved eastward. On that journey, parts kept coming off the lower rim, forming the mountains Lawu, Wilis, Kelut, Kawi, Arjuno and Welirang. The damage thus caused to the foot of the mountain caused it to shake, and the top came off and created Penanggungan as well.