Towering Gunung Lawu (3265m), lying on the border of Central and East Java, is one of the holiest mountains in Java.
From Solo City, we decided to climb Gunung Lawu. It was pretty simple to reach the foot of the mountain by public transportation. We took a bus from Solo to Tawangmangu which cost 12,000Rp/person for 2 hours. We opted to stay there for awhile for us to be able to buy the food which we will need during the climb. We had a hard time to decide if we have to stay in a hotel for 5-6 hours. Thus, we agreed to stay in a simple hotel that cost 150,000Rp.
Roaming around the town, we noticed a Warung Baru (simple eatery). We were hungry and so we decided to eat Nasi Goreng. From the eatery, we met this Dutch guy and asked us about our plans in climbing Gunung Lawu. We told him that we are going to start the climb around 10pm and will be able to reach the summit around 5/6am. He even invited us to join with him for he will be alone during the climb.
One can take an Angkot (small minibus) between Tawangmangu and Sarangan pass Cemoro Sewu (5,000Rp). Unfortunately, there was no minibus available after dark. So we asked the hotel management if they can drop us in Cemoro Sewu. It was oh so hard to explain to them about our trip to Cemoro Sewu due to this language barrier. As luck would have it, they were able to understand our simple English. Lyngve and the owner agreed to pay 150,000Rp. After the agreement, we were able to rest inside our room. We had 5 hours to rest before the climb.
Around 10pm, Lyngve woke me up. Oh… I wanted to sleep more. But we have to stick into the time agreement. Finally, we were able to reach the foot of the mountain by the hotel's jeep. It was oh so cold. I was freezing to death. We started to climb the mountain and saw a group of guys sleeping in their tents. I thought it would be only the two of us in the mountain. Then it came into our mind about this Dutch guy, wondering if he is already in the mountain following us or not. Walking along the trails in the mountain was pretty scary. We only had one head light and it was dark, almost zero visibility because of the fog. The only thing I was scared the most were snakes and bears. Happily, there are no snakes or bears in the area. In the middle of the climb, the trail started to become steeper and steeper. I was so lazy. I was burping and farting. Whenever we stop to pee or to eat some snacks, it made me freeze a lot and almost had hypothermia.
Around 4am, we got lost. Oh my gosh! I was freaking out and asked Lyngve to stop and wait for the sun to come. The trail was broken when we were almost in the summit. It was so dark and so we weren’t able to see the broken trail. We were lost for an hour. I thought we’re going to be lost forever. Fortunately, Lyngve found the broken trail. I was impressed by Lyngve’s way of navigation. He was good.
Around 6am, we were able to see the beautiful scenery and found a Warung Baru where a lady stays there all her life and has went down only once or twice. Her source of food and water are some good guys that fetch water and buy food for her. Along the way to the summit, we asked a guy on how to reach there without getting lost and that he pointed us the way. I was so exhausted and wanted to stop and rest in the Warung Baru. But Lyngve encouraged me to reach the summit.
Reaching the summit was a big fulfillment for us. It was my first time to be in a lot of exhaustion. I can’t believe I was able to reach there without an altitude problem except from burping and farting every 2 minutes. We spent 15 minutes on the summit and decided to go down to the Warung Baru for a cup of lemon tea that cost 2,000Rp. We rested there for 20 minutes and went down. Going down was hard because I got some blisters and my legs were so tired. But then, nature was there to inspire me to continue on walking. I can’t believe how beautiful the world is. The trees, birds and the beautiful mountain made me feel at peace. We were able to reach the foot of the mountain around 1pm. An Angkot dropped us from Cemoro Sewu to Tawangmangu Terminal (8,000Rp/person). We found a bus that was leaving from Tawangmangu to Solo City.
Back in Solo City in our homestay, we met the Dutch guy again. We asked him if he was able to reach the summit. He said that he failed reaching the summit because he had an altitude sickness which made him not to be in focus and that he was alone and scared. So he decided to go down again when he was in the middle of the trail in the mountain.
Author: Emily Homillano