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Mt.Merapi Night Climbing

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Edmonton, Canada
posts: 12
Mt.Merapi Night Climbing

My one question is this---- Is it safe??

Lombok, Indonesia
posts: 8,291
reviews: 5
1. Re: Mt.Merapi Night Climbing

Well it has some inherent risks in day time including the occasional eruption and the unannounced arrival of ballistic projectiles. I guess the inherent risks might be compounded at night unless the ballistic projectiles were super heated.

If so they might be self illuminated at night and you could possibly be more likely to see them coming.

Trouble is, being ballistic you might not have much more than a millisecond to get out of their way and being in the dark you might successfully evade the unannounced arrival of a super heated ballistic projectile and inadvertently run into something slower moving but equally surprising instead.

Take a good torch and a bucket and spade to collect any burnt remains.

No, of course if is not safe, it is an active volcano:)

Edited: 12:16 pm, March 21, 2012
Edmonton, Canada
posts: 12
2. Re: Mt.Merapi Night Climbing

Yeah umm... those are risks i am willing to take.

i guess i was thinking more along the lines of- are their thieves and gangs and murderers hiding in the trees preparing to kidnap me in the dark

Lombok, Indonesia
posts: 8,291
reviews: 5
3. Re: Mt.Merapi Night Climbing

Oh, that sort of scary...

Probably no murderers and kidnappers but beware of the cannibals :)

It sounds like an interesting adventure but maybe have a look in the daylight first and do take some spare flashlight batteries and a blanket.

Edited: 1:12 pm, March 21, 2012
Perth, Australia
posts: 10
4. Re: Mt.Merapi Night Climbing

Climbed Mt. Merapi many years ago. Thinking back, I didn't even consider the idea that the mountain might erupt. It was and probably still is, one of the most active volcanoes. Because of that, there were, and probably still are, volcanologists from various countries staying in the area and they were more than happy to give advice on the risks of climbing on any given day.

I started climbing with a mate at midnight, trying to reach the top for what was supposed to be an amazing sunrise. We missed the sunrise by about two hours. At the top, the crater rim was made up of loose rock. That made looking inside the crater way to dangerous. There were rocks several times bigger than a car, sitting unsteadily on smaller rocks and everything you touched was either warm or hot. We got to within about 50 metres from the top before common sense and self preservation told us to turn back.

I was, and still am, up for physical challenges like climbing, but your gut lets you know when its time to think of tomorrow as well as today.

Still, it was an adventure and I 'm glad I did it. As for murderers and thieves waiting in hiding....haha, you have a vivid imagination! The only encounter I had was with an old man about 1/3 of the way up. He lived there permanently and was happy to see us, happier to accept our donation and we were happy to drink his tea. We stayed with him for over an hour as he seemed to enjoy talking to us, even though it was 3 am and I didn't understand a word he said.

That's why we missed the sunrise.

The mountain has erupted a few times since 1985, so the landscape will be completely different. I hope the old man got away in time. Good Luck.

Perth, Australia
posts: 6,524
reviews: 104
5. Re: Mt.Merapi Night Climbing

Hi Jon

Climbing actively volcanic type mountains in the middle of the night should be as safe as houses. However, although if you don't come across any kidnappers or murderers along the way to relieve the boredom you need to be aware that drop bears lurk in the trees along the track. The usually come out at night.

Take a bottle of mead with you. They're rather fond of it I believe.

Lombok, Indonesia
posts: 8,291
reviews: 5
6. Re: Mt.Merapi Night Climbing

Nice account Mattacs, I suspect your intuition had some bearing in your being here to tell the story today.

Yes, the last big eruption changed the landscape on the top of Merapi so everything will be different now, but most likely just as dangerous.

You might be lucky if you were kidnapped, at least they might take you to a safer place, then you could share your bottle of mead with the kidnappers instead of the drop bears.

Do come back here and tell your story if you end up going up there in the night...or the day for that matter.

It is actually quite a common occurrence for people to climb in the night or very early morning in order to catch the sunrise.

Happens at Rinjani on Lombok as well.

But do be extraordinarily careful as everything is loose and slippery on these smoking time bombs.

Also do wait until the wet season is over.

Edited: 1:15 am, March 25, 2012
Java, Indonesia
posts: 1,853
reviews: 4
7. Re: Mt.Merapi Night Climbing


most climbs are in fact made in the night to get to the summit in time for the sunrise. There are no additional night risks asscociated with Merapi, if that is what you are after.


Perth, Australia
Destination Expert
for Penang, Kuala Lumpur
posts: 1,698
reviews: 26
8. Re: Mt.Merapi Night Climbing

I climbed Mount Merapi in 2003 (when I was 47 years old), a statement I am fond of telling everyone at every opportunity. Come on, how many people can say they have climbed to the top of an active volcano. Oh, by the way, Gunung Merapi literally means Fire Mountain. It is slightly higher than Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko. It is the most active volcano in Indonesia and in recent times erupted in 2006 and 2010.

Lisa had climbed it in 2000 and I decided it sounded good so I should too. Reading the little info that was on the internet back then, I learned that 70% of people who attempt to climb Merapi fail. Well, that was not going to be me. For months before our trip I walked daily, 4 kilometres every morning and 4 kilometres every night. When the cold dark wet winter set in, I hired a treadmill and continued to walk daily. By September I was right!!

We were picked up in Yogya and driven to Selo where we spent an hour or so getting acclimatised. The “boss” here was a man called Superman who had accompanied Lisa and 3 others up Merapi in 2000 when Lisa was studying in Yogya. He was unwell so not climbing this night. Off we went. Just us and a young man called Tombo. We had to take all our own gear - torch, food, water, cameras etc - no porters on this trek! After an hour Lisa, suffering with asthma and struggling to breath, called it quits. Me, being determined (stubborn) decided to continue. I was worried sick about Lisa getting back to Superman’s safely by herself…..well I worried for 2 seconds then kept huffing and puffing and worrying about me!!

The climb to the top usually takes 5 hours. There is no path, no handrails, no lighting. It is steep. It is breath-taking in the literal sense - it takes your breath away making breathing hard work!! I would describe the walk as three “types” - the bottom bit is bushy, the middle bit is big rocks and the top bit is little slippery gravelly rocks. The climb for me was the hardest thing I have ever done. That I had boasted to all and sundry that I was going to do it is what kept me going. The big rock part was horrendous with poor Tombo hauling me (with short legs!) up. The smaller gravelly part was one step forward, slide backwards and go again. I had added gardening gloves to my pack, ones with rubber grip dots on them and these proved to be a blessing. Saw the sunrise from just below the peak, then continued to the top. A long, tiring, hard slog. My Indonesian language is very limited as was Tombo’s English. Happily I did know “hati hati” which said with fear in the voice stopped me stepping a bit further and over the top!!

Going down wasn’t fun either. Slipping and sliding, jarring every bone in your body. All I could think of was Lisa telling me how she lost both big toe nails from her feet pushing into the front of her shoes. Nearly to the bottom and our driver and Lisa met us and drove us the last little bit. Hooray. Fantastic banana pancakes for breakfast and back to Yogya. Getting out of the car was not easy and next was a very stiff walk to our room, a soak in the bath and then bed. Having a sports trainer (sport first aid, strapping and massage) daughter is very handy as Lisa strapped one very sore knee so I could keep walking!

People say the climb is at night so you can see the sunrise from the top. Huh. I think the climb is at night because if you saw the terrain, you wouldn’t do it!! But I have and I am thrilled for that.

To Jon C, safe is a relative term. I didn’t feel unsafe at all - too busy concentrating on putting one foot after the other. At one part there was a group of people at a camp fire quietly chatting. I believe they were farmers and their only interest in us was to chuckle at another silly tourist climbing “pelan pelan” (slowly) as they told Tombo

@Travelkat88, saw no drop bears!!!

Sabrina (who has climbed Mount Merapi!!)

Perth, Australia
posts: 6,524
reviews: 104
9. Re: Mt.Merapi Night Climbing

Hi Sabrina

I'm impressed! You climbed Mt. Merapi. Just as well you didn't see any drop bears and I'm pleased that you made it there and back without any axe murderers lurking in the shrubbery to do you a mischief.

10. Re: Mt.Merapi Night Climbing

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