Gunung Semeru, Indonesia


At 2am, rain on the tent woke me up. What a scary thought! The day before, I had hiked all day long, alone, and camped in Kalimati, at 2,900 meters of elevation, at the foot of the gigantic Gunung Semeru, Java’s highest peak. I couldn’t bear the thought of ending this promising hike in the rain and with poor visibility. But there was no much I could do, so I kept sleeping…


When I woke up, I quickly opened the tent to figure out whether it was still raining. And there was a big blue cloudless sky! But as I tried to get out of the tent, I really woke up: I had been dreaming! So I kept sleeping… And this quirky dream occurred again! And a third time! I guess I was just so excited and scared that I kept dreaming about the instant of my waking up! And, yes, I did wonder if I weren’t in some inception movie…

Eventually, at 5:30am, I did wake up, for real… And it was sunny! I quickly got out of the tent and started hiking, leaving the tent and most of my stuffs behind. Once again, I probably was too excited, which partly explains why I then got lost several times! After an hour or so, I discovered that I was actually above a breathtaking sea of clouds! Amazing!

Sea of Clouds in Semeru

The Semeru Trail

Around 7:20 am, I got to the final section of the hike. I had just got out of the forest and was faced with a steep extremely sandy climb! What a horror! Every step was followed by a two-step sand-slide backwards. The only way to actually go up was to rush upwards. But this was so exhausting that I had to stop and have a break every 2 minutes. Overall, it took me 1 hour and 40 minutes to climb the remaining 1.5 km. That’s not too bad as some maps, like the one on the right, announce a 3-hour climb…

At 9am, I had made it! At 3,676 meters of elevation, I was on top of the Java island!

Semeru summit

Indonesian group on Semeru

A group of Indonesian people then invited me to share tea and cookies. This was a unique extremely convivial moment on top of the world, with some of the nicest persons you will ever find. A truly privileged moment.

But this moment was about to be topped by another one. Out of sudden, the volcano, which in fact is located a few hundreds meters away, exploded! A huge noise was followed by an eruption of gases! Legendary!


The Semeru actually erupts every 30 minutes. However, its gases are toxic, and it’s thus recommended not to spend too much time up there. Find out more about my Indonesian trip!