Sumbing

Gunung Sumbing (3,371 m) is the second-highest peak in Central Java. It overlooks Sindoro and the Dieng Plateau to the north, Slamet to the west, and Merbabu and Merapi to the southeast. The Kledung Pass (1,404 m) separates Sumbing from its northern neighbour, Gunung Sindoro (3,150 m). It’s only known recent eruption was in 1730 but there are still active fumaroles in the crater.

This profile should be read in conjunction with Gunung Sindoro. With an extra day after climbing Sumbing, Sindoro can be climbed by the shorter Sigedang route leaving time to return to Semarang for a late evening flight home on the extra day. Go to Sindoro for a profile of that mountain.

The popular route, known as the Garung route, up Sumbing is from ‘Basecamp’ at Garung village on the Kledung Pass saddle. The nearby Dieng Kledung Pass Hotel offers quite adequate accommodation for an early start up the mountain. Guides and porters can be arranged at the Garung Basecamp or via the Kledung Pass Hotel.

From Basecamp, the road leads up through Garung village and the trail begins at about 1,480 m. Sumbing is an almost perfect cone so the climb becomes increasingly steep towards the crater rim taking about six-plus hours over a distance of about seven km. The vertical climb is about 1,830 m.

The rim is reached at a point known as Puncak Buntu (3,308 m) and in good weather hikers are rewarded with tremendous views of surrounding mountains. The trail then descends into the large crater below with fumaroles on the southwestern corner. Java Lava normally camps in the crater but be careful to stay upwind of the fumaroles.

The true summit of Sumbing is a steep rocky peak around the crater rim to the west of Puncak Buntu. This is difficult and dangerous to reach and should not be attempted without experienced guides and preferably ropes.

The descent, by the same way to Garung, takes about four and a half hours. But an alternative route to Cepit (Kajepit) on the Magelang side of the mountain makes for a more interesting return trek. This route is a bit longer but less steep. With an early start, you will down by midday with sufficient time to catch a late evening flight from Semarang.

Indicative Program

This trip conforms to the classic Java Lava weekend. Fly from Jakarta on Friday afternoon to Semarang, then small busses, and check into Kledung Pass Hotel near the trailhead or a more upper-class hotel, Hotel Kresna, in Wonosobo (three hours by road from Semarang).

Very early start Saturday morning; drive to Basecamp Garung (1,420 m); sort guides, porters, permits, etc.; climb; camp in the crater. Descend Sunday morning at first light via the Cepit route; meet vehicles; drive to Semarang airport stopping for lunch on the way; return to Jakarta in the evening.

Porter packs should not exceed 15 kg. Bring your own provisions for the mountain including water (assume no water on the mountain). Rain gear, warm clothes, headlamp and whistle, and your own camping gear, are essential. Water (rule of thumb – 1.5 l bottles): two for the ascent, one for camping, one for the descent.

Suitability: Sumbing is a relatively tough climb due to its altitude and steepness – strong, fit climbers only.

Acknowledgments to Gunung Bagging