Central Java, Gunung Sindoro
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Mount Sindoro is separated from its similarly conical but slightly higher neighbour, Gunung Sumbing, by the Kledung Pass (1,404m). Together, they dominate the Dieng plateau area and can both be climbed from Kledung village where there is a decent hotel. There is another straightforward and slightly shorter ascent from the north at Sigedang (1,900m). From Kledung it takes 5 – 6 hours to the top and from Sigedang a little less – maybe 4 hours for fast hikers. For its size, Sindoro is an easy hike and would make a great introduction to hiking in Indonesia. From the top there are great views to Sumbing, Merapi, Merbabu, Ungaran, Slamet, Dieng plateau’s high ridge Gunung Prau and the north coast of Java. Sunrise is usually magnificent so it is worth either camping on the mountain or climbing overnight. Though there is a small lake at the top, there is no water source on the actual route so make sure you take plenty with you.
From the main road at Kledung, take the cobbled road leading north opposite the Kledung Rest Area. It is difficult to miss because it’s the first turning east of the Kledung Pass hotel. The cobbled road leads gently up the hillside for about one mile and it is recommended you get an ojek (motorcycle taxi) to take you up as far as possible. The end of the road is at 1,654m. The well-defined and occasionally slippery trail leads up through pine woodland past the remains of Pos 1 (1,761m), Pos Payungan (1,857m), across some very small wooden bridges and on to the remains of the shelter at Pos 2 (1,978m). There are a few good places to admire the views of Sumbing across on the other side of the Kledung Pass but it is not until the first major camping area (pos 3 at 2,320m) that the vegetation becomes sparse. If you are going to camp anywhere other than at the summit, Pos 3 is recommended because the views south and east are spectacular and there is plenty of room for tents. However, there are many places suitable for just one or two tents all the way up.
The trail climbs more steeply and passes scattered rocks, notably ‘batu tatah’ (at 2,843m). There is little shade here so for the light-skinned it is essential to use sun cream during the day. Finally the top is reached and you are on the edge of Sindoro’s long-dormant crater. There are actually two craters next to each other: a deeper, water-filled one and a smaller swampy one higher up. If you follow the crater rim round to the right (east), it descends to a large, flat grassy area which sometimes has a small lake in it. This would appear to be the remains of a very old third crater. It makes a great place to camp. Further round, is the alun-alun, an even larger area, perfect for camping.
Much of the crater rim is of a very similar height. It takes only 30 minutes to circuit the crater rim so baggers don’t need to worry too much about missing the very highest point if they’ve had a wander around the crater edge! The highest reading I got on my GPS was on the edge of the crater just above the small depression where there is often a small pool of water. In clear weather you can see the north coast of Java. The edelweiss-covered summit area is very large and flat and the mountain apparently takes its name from the fragrant scent of the edelweiss flowers.
Fast hikers can be back down at the Kledung Pass hotel in less than 4 hours. You may even be able to arrange an ojek from a local farmer when you reach the cobbled road.
Route from Sigedang: The first two posts (Pos 1/2) are an hour and two hours respectively from Sigedang tea plantation and are actually both tea-weighing shelters. From there it is less than 3 hours to the top.
Bagging information by Daniel Quinn