A Journey To The Top Of The Javanese Volcano Arjuno

How we climbed the javanese volcano Arjuno without a guide
Posted on Oct 16, 2017 In Indonesia

On the island of Java in Indonesia lies, between many volcanoes, the volcano of Arjuno. Arjuno is 3339m high and is together with Welirang called the twin volcanoes of Java. It’s situated just south of Surabaya and west of Malang and has not been active since 1952. This volcano is not the normal climb for tourists and travellers around Java, and that is exactly why me, Mikkel, and my fellow travellers Andreas, Yves and Cristian decided to climb this volcano. We wanted to get an experience of climbing a volcano that is not covered with tourism and where we could go explore and test ourselves. And we wanted to sleep on the top! We didn’t want any guides with us and we wanted to do this by ourselves. This demands a lot of planning and is not just a thing you go do the next day.

So how did we do it?


First of all some general information about the volcano:

  • Name: Arjuno
  • Indonesian name: Gunung Arjuno
  • Height: 3339meters above sea level
  • 3rd highest mountain in Java
  • Volcano type: Stratovolcano
  • Last time active: 1952
  • Start height: 500m
  • Where: lat -7.725886, long 588462
  • Start of trail: In the town of Prigen
  • Amount of overnight camps before reaching the top: 2 camps with water sources
  • Note: The volcano of Welirang can be climbed on the same trek!


Gathering information about the volcano

Because this volcano is not the typical volcano for tourists, you wont find much information about trekking this volcano on the internet. I found one really great site with information about the volcano and how to set up your trek for this particular one here.

First we had to find out where to go and get ready for climbing Arjuno. We found out that the city Malang south of Surabaya was a good city to start from. This city is surrounded by many different volcanoes like Gunung Kawi, Semeru, Arjuno and the most popular of them all – Bromo. Malang is a climber haven and there’s many people there to give you good information about how and where to climb the volcanoes. We found a couple of local trekking guys, who worked in the trekking industry in Malang. They showed us where to start the trek from, which where the town of Prigen, where to find the overnight camps and different points for gathering water. After what we learned from the guys, we decided to spend 2-3 nights to get up and down the volcano.


This was great, now we had all the information needed to do our trek on the volcano. The next thing was what to bring with us to endure the trek and survive the night. The things should not weight too much and should only suffice what we needed. Andreas had a tent that fitted 4 persons, this tent would fit all of us so we decided to bring this one tent. I had a full set of cooking gear containing: MSR multifuel burner, pot, pans and what else you bring in your own personal cooking gear set. A multifuel burner can work in high altitude and low temperatures which is very important, because it can easily be 0 degrees at night on the top. We then brought the sleeping bags we had, all of our warm clothes and the best trekking shoes we could provide.


In terms of food we decided to bring food that was not weighting too much and which could be prepared with hot water and would keep us full, with enough energy and not destroy our budget. And able to be found in Indonesia! One very important thing is then the water. We brought 2 1,5 litre bottle each for water to drink and cook with. This amount of water should be enough for one day, And we knew we could fill up the bottles on the way and at campsites.

Examples of food we brought was:

- Plenty of instant noodle packages

- Oats

- Coffee

- Energy bars and cookies

- Nuts

My own experience

I always wanted to climb to the very top of a volcano. To stand there on that narrow peak and look over the clouds. I was very lucky to meet these other guys who had the same interest of climbing a volcano by themselves. None of us we’re very experienced trekkers or climbers, but we all went with the same goal – getting to the top. It was a very rough experience for me and the hardest thing i think i’ve ever done. See, i’m not exactly the most fit person for mountain climbing, but i’m a stubborn person and i allways wanted to climb to the top of a proper sized volcano.

We spent 1 night / 2 days to reach the top, slept 1 very cold night on the top and used the whole last day to get all the way down again. We saw both the amazing sunset and the sunrise on the top and it was such a new and different feeling - silent and very cold! Sitting there way above the clouds enjoying the far views over the world completely alone, seeing the peaks of nearby volcanoes and flights taking of and flying below you is a very god kinda feeling. The whole experience of staying and sleeping on the top felt like surviving because of the bitter cold and being only us. Gathering firewood, heating up stones for your sleeping bag to become hot enough for the night was in some way amazing. I survived the trip with multiple blisters and a set of legs that couldn’t really walk for 3 days, but it was above all worth it!

Thank you guys for a great experience, i will never forget it!

We’ve made a gallery containing some great pictures from the top of the volcano which you can find here.


Written by Mikkel & Cecilie