In Indonesia: Journeying to Semeru’s Peak


I previously wrote fairly detailed accounts of my experiences in climbing Indonesia’s three highest volcanoes. If you are looking for a guide to climbing Gunung Semeru, third on the list, you should definitely have a look there, too.

As I mentioned, Gunung Semeru is, in my opinion, the most visually stunning of Indonesia’s three highest volcanoes, although Lombok’s Gunung Rinjani is a very close second. With this in mind, I thought it would be appropriate to provide an illustrative account of the strenuous but incredibly rewarding climb.

Enjoy the views from the rooftop of Java!


Making our way from Surabaya to Ranu Pane village, the starting point for the trek. We drove through East Java’s rolling hills and alpine landscape in the company of local forms of public transportation.


The mid-way point between the starting point and Kalimati, our campsite for the night, Ranu Kumbolo is a stunning volcanic lake glimmering with different hues of blues and greens.


While the walk on the first day is fairly flat and easy, the route around Ranu Kumbolo is punctuated by hills and steep paths. All the better to catch beautiful views of the lake, I say.


Minutes away from Kalimati, our campsite for the night, we come up close and personal with the volcanic peak we are meant to climb the following morning.


Having underestimated the summit, we never made it up in time to catch the sunrise from the top.


The summit is a distance from the crater itself, a matter of safety as Gunung Semeru is a very active volcano. Every fifteen to twenty minutes, thunderous rumbling will sound before a cloud of gases erupts.


With the Bromo caldera and volcanic twins of Arjuna and Welirang in the distance, there is nothing quite like being on the rooftop of Java.


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