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Top 10 volcano adventures in Indonesia

Indonesia home to more than 130 active volcanoes

Indonesia lies on the so-called Pacific Rim of Fire, where the meeting of continental plates causes frequent seismic and volcanic activities. The nation is a home to more than 130 active volcanoes. Here are the top 10 in random order

Top 10 volcano adventure in Indonesia.

1. Mount Tambora 2,850 m – is the highest peak on the island of Sumbawa, is one of the most beautiful mountains in Indonesia. On April 10, 1815, Mount Tambora erupted for the first time in about 5000 years, with a series of large explosions sending a massive column of volcanic cloud into the air. That event is the largest eruption in recorded history and caused world’s climate anomaly, which was called “a year without summer.” It also left behind a crater 6 km in diameter. The Mount Tambora trail will take you deep into the heart of Sumbawa, one of Indonesia’s least visited islands, with breathtaking experiences for the adventurous trekkers. The climb up this mountain would take 3 days 2 nights.

2. Mount Rinjani – Soaring to 3726m, Mount Rinjani is Indonesia’s second tallest volcano and probably the most spectacular volcano in Indonesia which offers a breathtaking views of glistening sunrises and sunsets, a massive rim of Rinjani’s huge caldera, the fabulous cobalt blue Danau Segara Anak, a 6km­ long lake trimmed with hot springs and the more recent volcanic cone of Gunung Baru, which continuously growing. The climb up this mountain would take 3 days 2 nights to reach the summit.

3. Mount Raung 3,332m is one of the most active volcanoes on the island of Java in Indonesia. Located in the province of East Java, the mountain has a 2 kilometer wide and 500 m -deep caldera surrounded by a grayish rim. The highest peak of Mt Raung, stands at 3,332m above sea level, it offers the most challenging trail than other mountains in Java. During summit attack, climber will need to wear rock climbing safety equipment, climb with moving together system through a thin crater rim and rocky ridge, to enjoy the magnificent view of Mount Raung caldera. The climb up to the highest peak of Mount Raung would take 4 days 3 nights

4. Mount Papandayan 2,665m is one of natural wonders in West Java. An amazing volcano with lots of smoky Sulphur holes that you can see from short distance. The mountain has four main active craters : Kawah Mas, Kawah Baru, Kawah Nangklak and Kawah Manuk. If you are going to climb a mountain for the first time or you are about to introduce your member of family to mother nature, Mount Papandayan is a good place to start. Enjoy the fascinating walk through the incredible crater scenery of sulfur smoke, river of steaming water and bubbling hot mud pool, also embrace a fabulous scenery of morning mist at Tegal Alun Edelweiss flowers (Anaphlis javanica) savanna and explore dead forest zone. Mount Papandayan terrain is not particularly rough, the presence of a clear path up to the mountain make it easier for the beginner. The climb up this mountain would take 2 days 1 night to explore the craters, witnessing the sunrise and other beautiful spots.

5. Mount Kerinci – is Indonesia’s highest volcano. The mountain lies within Kerinci Seblat National Park, in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of tropical rainforest in Sumatra, home to healthy populations of Indonesian wildlife, including elephants, bears, tapirs, clouded leopards and gibbons, as well as the endangered Sumatran tiger. The active stratovolcano Mount Kerinci is a popular place to hike in Sumatra, and offers challenging terrain, dense tropical rainforest, stunning views from the highest peak in Sumatera, perfect for the adventurous thrill-seeker. The climb up this mountain would take 2 days 1 night to reach the summit.

6. Mount Semeru 3,676 m – Located in the heart of the ring of fire, Mount Semeru is the highest active volcano in Java and one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Semeru has been hikers’ all-time favorite climb in Java, a good trail, excellent savanna walk along a clear path, wonderful campsite by the turquoise water Ranu Kumbolo lake with stunning hills surrounding the lake, and amazing crater view from the top of Java with impressive live eruption every every 20-30 minutes, with ash emissions to 100-400 m above the crater. The present activity center is at Jonggring Seloko crater. The only challenge is the last slope up to the summit. Climbing to the peak takes 3 days 2 nights and it is relatively easy for seasoned hikers

7. Mount Merapi – Indonesia’s Mount Merapi is one of the world’s most active and dangerous volcanoes. It contains an active lava dome which regularly produces pyroclastic flows. Eruptions occur at intervals of 1-5 years. Merapi, which means “Mountain of Fire”. The volcano has erupted 68 times since year 1548. This impressive volcano will stun you in many ways from amazing lunar landscape at Pasar Bubrah (the last campsite on Mount Merapi) to beautiful mountain sceneries from the top of volcano and challenging trail to the top of volcano. The climb from the last campsite Pasar Bubrah to the top of Mt. Merapi is officially closed, but in reality hikers climb with no restrictions. The climb up this mountain would take one day trip.

8. Kawah Ratu (Queen Crater), Mount Salak. At 1,372m above the sea level, the Queen Crater can be reached in about 2 hours from Gunung Bunder –Bogor entrance. Surrounded by the dense forest of Mount Salak, hikers would enjoy trekking through the beautiful rainforest. Queen crater offers an amazing landscape an extensive hillside of white rocks, steaming Sulphur gases, bubbling water and mud pools and rivers of Sulphur, where you can enjoy it from short distance. The crater area consists of three craters : the queen crater, the death crater and life crater. The view and panorama is just wonderful. Kawah Ratu is the most accessible volcano, just three hour away from Jakarta, an ideal spot for weekend getaway, day trip or family hike. Hike to Kawah Ratu would take 1 day trip.

9. Mount Ijen 2,380 Mount Ijen in Indonesia’s eastern Java is a volcanic wonder that attract hundreds of visitors every day to witness the spectacular crater lake of Kawah Ijen and beautiful mountain scenery. The active stratovolcano that sits at 2,799 above sea level is the world’s largest acidic volcanic crater with turquoise crater lake. The active crater measured over the 950X600 m wide is known for its rich sulfur deposits. It is also sulfur that brings hundreds of miners to Kawah Ijen every day to mining the sulfur at the crater. The climb up to Ijen crater would take 2-3 hour from Mount Ijen basecamp, Paltuding.

10. Mount Bromo, located in the heart of exotic ring of fire, the surreal beauty and immense scale of Java’s Mount Bromo is one of Indonesia’s most epic natural spectacles. It is famous for its magnificent sunrise views and the panorama over the crater with Semeru volcano as a background. Mount Bromo in East Java is not only stunning, it’s also considered a sacred place. Every year during the Kasada festival, the Tenggerese people climb the steep slopes to throw offerings into the crater of the volcano. These sacrifices include vegetables, fruit, livestock, flowers and even money, and are offered in gratitude for agricultural and livestock abundance. Mount Bromo soars to an altitude of 2,392 meters above sea level in a mesh of valleys and canyons amidst a vast plain, known as the “Sea of Sand ”. Bromo crater is an extensive crater – 10km across was created by the volcanic history of the ancient Tengger caldera. Recently, CNN GO listed Mount Bromo as one of its 50 Natural Wonders: The Ultimate List of Scenic Splendor. The climb up to Mount Bromo would take 2-3 hours.

Climbing the highest peak of Mount Raung

Considering it’s going to be windstorm and a lot of rain in December, we decided to take Kalibaru route. Compare to now, climbing mount Raung through Kalibaru route still considered as a mountain climbing expedition, due to its difficulty, poor trek condition and no water resources along the trek.

Actually the plan to climb the highest peak of Mount Raung had been initiated for quite a longtime, but due to several reasons, the plan had been delayed for several times, even we almost killed that plan. Just because we heard about one expedition group was successfully scaled the mountain from Glenmore route, then the plan suddenly back on our table. So we gathered all the information about those two routes, maps, climbing journal from the previous teams, footage, and start re-planning our journey.

Based on the topographic map, the distance of Kalibaru route is around 20 km from the base of mountain at Wonorejo village to the highest peak. According to previous climbing journal, the trail mostly dominated by steep terrains and dense rainforest, also no water resources, with average duration 7 to 8 days expedition, from basecamp – highest peak – back to basecamp.

Those fact had prompted us to design a better climbing strategy with better logistic and water management based on the resources we had. So the ultralight climbing equipment, high calorie food, were on our packing list. But after series of discussion with team member, we decided to remove high calorie food from our list, because just like other Asian people, consuming a rice is mandatory for every meal time. So we put rendang and other dish in our packing list instead.

We hit the trail early morning on day 1, with big rucksacks on our back. We carried 58 liters water for 6 days trekking plan, for a group of 5 people, including our porter. At first, the trail took us over agriculture land, coffee plantation then climbed steadily through tropical rainforest.  The treks were indeed challenging, a combination of steep terrains and dense rainforest with rattan thorns here and there, also there were two blood suckers, leeches and gnat at some places.

After a lot of hard climb, surprisingly we managed to reach the last campsite – Pos Ereng Ereng Atas- in two days, which was cheered by our porter, normally it takes 4 days to reach last campsite.

On the next morning, all team members were standing at the first peak of Mt Raung and ready for our final push to the highest peak of Mt Raung. We put on our climbing harness together with other climbing gears. Also we brought 2 set of 50m dynamic ropes, several 50 cm length-metal anchors, and hammer as well.

The sky was clear with the fair wind, and the highest peak of Mt Raung was around 3 km from our position. It’s just like vast fragile sand pyramid, rising out of the dense jungle in the Eastern part of East Java Province. So we clipped on our carabiner to the rope and started walking with moving together technique, climbed the fragile rocky path, walked along the thin crater rim with hundred meters of deep crater down there.

Critical moment was happened as we began our scramble ascent through the steep rocky ridge, when  the fog suddenly came in and obscured much the landscape around us,. We decided to slow down a bit, lucky us the fog wasn’t last long, as the fog disappear soon we’re surrounded by the magical sea of clouds. I have done plenty of rock scrambles at several peaks in Java,  but the one in Mt Raung was some of the most intense and elongated rock scrambling I had ever seen.

After four hours of breathtaking final push, we finally reached the highest peak of Mt Raung 3,332 m (10,923 ft), the palace of crag. We felt tremendous satisfaction at the summit and we’re rewarded by a fantastic panoramic view in all direction, also stunning view of the immense and impressive Mt Raung crater from the highest peak.

The route along the South Ridge of Mt Raung is considered one of the hardest ascents in Java. It is also longer than the normal route, from the Northern part of the mountain, of Sumberwringin. At over 2 kilometres in diameter, Mount Raung has the largest crater in Java.

Climbers trekking through the South Ridge have to traverse a steep rocky ridge, also scale sand and loose rock pyramid. They should be equipped with climbing gears,  two set of 50 meters rope, harness, helmet and carabiners. For those with little climbing experience, hiring a professional guide is strongly recommended.

At that time according to our porter we’re the first team who managed to climb up and down in 4 days.

Climb Indonesia organized adventure trips to Mount Raung,  hiking or Simply enjoying the alpine nature of Indonesia volcanic scenes. Lead by our certified mountain guides Climb Indonesia adventure trips guarantee  a safe and enjoyable experience.


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