Gunung Sindoro is located right in the centre of of Central Java and just across the Keldung Pass from its neighbour, Gunung Sumbing. If you want to climb both mountains click here for Sumbing as their start points are only about 15 minutes apart. The first part of this article contains the same information as the Sumbing hike so if you’ve already read that post skip to “Start of the hike”.
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I climbed Sindoro at the end of June 2019 so I’ll detail my account below.
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I started my journey to Sindoro from Solo, around 100kms to the east and a 3.5 hour motorbike ride. I actually came to climb Sumbing first. If you aren’t coming from Solo or Yogjakarta the other option would be to come from Semarang. I’ve never been to Semarang so I can’t comment on that city but on the map it seems to be the closest large city to the Kledung Pass. 
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I left Solo around lunch time and made the 3 hour trip over to the Kledung Pass. This is the high point right between the 2 mountains. The pass can get busy and by the looks of it, it is a tourist centre in its own right, albeit a run down one. There is only one hotel in the whole area and that is the Dieng Kledung Pass Hotel.
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I decided to stay here for 2 nights and climb Sumbing first, as it has the longest trail, and then Sindoro the day after. Both can be combined to leave at around 1 or 2am from the hotel or to climb in the day if you don’t mind missing sunrise. A decent level of fitness is needed otherwise you’d struggle doing 2 back to back hikes of 12-14km and plus 1400m on each one. 
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The 3 hour ride that google told me it would be actually ended up being 4 hours and I arrived at the Dieng Kledung Pass Hotel at 4pm. There are no other options in town, apart from the basecamps but they are more like a huge room where you would pulll out your mat and sleeping and sleeping bag to get some rest, so this was it. The next closest hotels are around a 20-30 minute ride down the hill to the towns either side of the pass. The Dieng Kledung Pass Hotel is really your only option if you don’t want to travel too far and be right near the starting points. Sumbing trail head is a 5 minute ride and Sindoro around a 10 minute ride from the hotel. 
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I booked into the Dieng Kledung Pass Hotel and the price for one night was 360k rupiah, which in my opinion is a little steep for what you get. I would say that the price should be 250k max, but as they are the only hotel on the pass I guess that they can charge whatever they like. 
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The hotel is quite run down and looks like it hasn’t had any work done for at least 20 years. Indonesia is a very interesting country and the more that I travel it the more I see similarities. Once you’re outside of the major tourist areas, or resorts areas then you see the same style of hotels popping up. Cibodas, at the base of Gunung Gede is the same with its old school hotels going for an astronomical rate. The staff are very friendly though and if you haven’t arranged a guide, or need a guide then hey can help you out with the whole process. I will note here that it is not necessary to take a guide and you will not be pressured one bit to take a guide so its up to you. The path is very easy on Sumbing and Sindoro and there are already many people on the mountain. So if you are worried about safety then be reassured that many people hike this mountain and you will not be alone. 
After I checked into the hotel I took a ride up the hill to find the start of the hiking trail for Sindoro. A great app to use is maps.me which has most hiking trails in the world, you’ll just need to download the area of the map that you want to see more detail of. The road to Sindoro is a stone farmers track and steadily goes up for just over 2km past the fields to a parking area. Just after the parking area is Pos 1 and this is where the start of the hike begins. If you don’t have transport its totally possible to walk from the hotel but you’ll just add on around 2km each way which should take less than an hour as it isn’t steep at all. 
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After I found the start of the hike I had my dinner and was in bed by 6pm. It must be noted that in Java the sun sets at 530 so it is already dark by 6pm. I set my alarm for 2am so I could try to make the summit by sunrise. The alarm set the next day at 2am and by 2.15 I was out the door and riding up the hill towards the start of the hike. After about a 10 minute ride I parked my bike and was on my way.

Start of the hike

The start of the hike begins at Pos 1 but I soon realised that you could actually keep riding the motorbike another 1.5-2km if you wanted to. The farmers in the area use the trail and it is quite motorbike friendly and relatively flat. If I had my time over again I would certainly have ridden as far as I could and then parked the bike. 
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From Pos 1 it is very gentle for the first 2km before the real trail begins. The smooth trail gives way to a steep, dusty and slippery surface that is quite difficult to grip. Poles make the trip to the summit much easier so if you have some be sure to bring them with you on the trip. 
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There are 3 camps on the mountain and as the hike is only 5km to the top they are quite close together. No one is allowed to camp after 2300m as the sulphur gas is very strong so this is the elevation that you’ll find the last camp. Up until here I really didn’t see too many people and then by the time I’d reached the final camp there were a lot more people on the hill. 
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Once I passed the final camp I noticed that the path really changed and it become very steep and very rocky. If you aren’t that fit you will certainly struggle here and may need to take many rests. This isn’t a race but there are a lot of sulphur gases coming down so the quicker you are the less time you are exposed to the gases. At one point my eyes burned to the point of watering and if I removed my “buff” which was covering my face I couldn’t breathe properly. The gases are real. Check out the video below and you can see the gases being blown down the mountain.
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You’ll then come out to a rocky section where there are big boulders scattered around the side of the mountain. This marks the 2600m mark and if you go at a good speed this is 1 hour from the summit. From here there is no vegetation and you are on the exposed and upper slopes of the volcano. It is here that the sulphur gases begin to become unbareable if you don’t have a mask. 
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The night I climbed the wind was coming from the southwest and blowing straight over the top of the mountain. As the wind crosses the summit it then descends the mountain and that night it corresponded to right where the path to the summit was. Im not sure of the prevailing winds here but it sounds common from talking to people that they come from that direction.

Summit

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Sindoro, Summit, PuncakAfter an hour or so from the rocks you’ll hit the crater rim and the summit. There isn’t a flag here but a wooden sign stating that you are on the top of Sindoro. The true summit is just 50-100m away to the right. The dead trees up here are all white from the sulphur gases and you can easily walk around the crater. I went upwind of the gases and couldn’t smell a thing. The whole summit area is super interesting and quite large. There are 2 dry lakes to explore and of course the crater is amazing. There is evidence that people used to go into the crater but when the gases are strong its certainly not something to do. 
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If you walk to where the lakes are you can actually see some graves of where people camped and then died from the sulphur gas. Take it seriously because people have died up there. From the lakes you’ll also get great views over to the Dieng Plateau. 
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I spent around 30 minutes on the top taking photos and exploring the summit area. There were only about 10 other people at the top which is hardly any for a hike in Java, usually there are much more. 

Heading down

The way down is very steep and the hiking poles will help a lot here. The steepest part is back to the scattered rocks at around 40% gradient. I met a few people still heading up and had a chat with a local guide taking some older Indonesian ladies up. The Indonesian people are so friendly and love to know where you are from and what you are up to.
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The way down was getting monotonous and took me around 2 hours to get back to the motorbike from the summit. It’s hard to go fast down when the terrain is very steep and you have a lot of rocks and dust to contend with.
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As usual you get absolutely filthy and the fine volcanic sand is coming out of your shoes and socks for weeks to come. 
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I was back at the Dieng Kledung Pass hotel by 8am to have a shower, eat a second breakfast and have a well deserved rest. 

Logistics for the trip

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How to get there

I started my trip from Solo and rode to the Keldung Pass from there. The trip is 100kms and around 3.5 hours riding time on the scooter. There are a number of different ways that you can go but I chose to take the highway as I had already gone the mountain rode when I climbed Merbabu. If you have time you can take the road between Merapi and Merbabu. Its very beautiful but longer than the direct route. If you want to rent a scooter from Solo contact Arya Trans motor rental by clicking here. I paid 90k per day to rent an almost brand new motorbike and it is very safe and powerful for going up the hills.
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For the exact starting point of the hike click here.
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If you wanted to take the public transport to the Keldung Pass there are buses that go along the route and will drop you off at the pass. This may require some Indonesian language skills as not many people speak English outside of the tourist areas. A motorbike is certainly the best way to go.
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Where to Stay

I stayed at the Dieng Keldung Pass Hotel and it can be booked using booking.comI didn’t book using the website, I just arrived at 4.30pm and payed for the room when I got there. I did check on booking.com before I arrived and it was the exact same price. Sometimes the walk in rate is higher than the online rate so if that is the case most places will just let you book online and then you can wait in the reception for the booking to go through. This usually takes less than a minute or 2 and you’ll get the better rate.  
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The Dieng Keldung Pass Hotel is the only hotel on the pass, apart from the basecamp which isn’t really a hotel. So you’re kind of screwed in that regard. The hotel is worth it though because the location is right in the centre of Sindoro and Sumbing. Rooms start at 360k for a night, which is a lot but as it is the only hotel and the location is great so its worth it in the end. Breakfast is also included. 
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How long is the hike

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Sindoro isn’t a very long hike. It is 6km each way and 1500m up. I got to the summit in 3 hours, walking quite slowly and only taking some short rests. If you hike in the night you wont want to take too many rests anyways as you get cold and its hard to get going again. If you aren’t that fit allow 4 hours to the top from the start. The part after the scattered rocks is very very steep at around 40% so it takes a while going up this section. Be sure to bring a mask as the sulphur is strong! 

 

Gear to take 

  • Small backpack
  • 3l water
  • Breakfast/snacks
  • Hiking Poles
  • Good shoes or boots
  • Jacket
  • Camera

 Do you plan to hike Sindoro? Let me know in the comments how you get on.

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