OverviewOctober 03, 2011: Merapi safe to climb again
November 06, 2010: Merapi erupts
Merapi (= "Mountain of Fire") is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia and in the world. It has erupted dozens of times over the past thousand years, belching out gas, ash, lava, nuées ardentes (clouds of volcanic gases, ash, and dust reaching temperatures up to 500 degrees Celsius), and sometimes outright pyroclastic flows. A massive eruption in 1006 covered Borobudur with ash. In 1930 an eruption claimed about 1,300 lives. In 1994 an eruption killed at least 66 people. In 2006 an M 6.3 earthquake, which devastated the region and killed about 6,200 people, resulted in an increase in volcanic activity at Merapi. Pyroclastic flows extended 3 km SE toward the Gendol River and 4 km SW toward the Krasak and Boyong Rivers. In 2010 an eruption claimed 353 lives, displaced thousands, and blanketed Yogyakarta in a sea of ash.
RoutesTrekking on and around Merapi is a popular activity (at least when the volcano isn't spewing out gas, ash and lava). Basically there are two routes to the summit. The starting points are Selo village for the route up the north face and Kaliurang village for the route up the south face. From Selo, which is the closest village, it's only a 3 hours hike to the top. This route is usually considered safe. It is easy. Only at the end there is a steep lava dome. The route leading up the south face from Kaliurang is more demanding. Kaliurang, situated about six kilometres from the crater, lies just before the restricted area. That route is considered potentially dangerous because volcanic material has repeatedly come down the mountain's southern and western slopes.
The routes and the features of the summit may have been changed by the 2010 eruption. First-hand, up-to-date information about this will greatly be appreciated.
Getting ThereBy air:
International airport: Jakarta
Nearest domestic airport: Yogyakarta
From Yogyakarta, either take a bus to Blabak, and then a minibus to Selo, or a bus to Kartosuro, then another one to Boyolali, and then a minibus to Selo.
From Yogyakarta, take a bus or minibus to Kaliurang.
AccommodationThere are hotels and losmen (small, often family-run hotels) in Selo and in Kaliurang, e.g. the Agung Merapi hotel in Selo, and the Vogels hotel in Kaliurang. If you seek the adventure and want to hire a guide, the latter may be the right "base camp" for you. "Christian Awuy, the owner of the Vogels hotel, employs two guides and prides himself on knowing the safest routes across the volcano, including the area that local authorities say is too dangerous to visit." (quotation from Thrill seekers stream to explosive volcano)
Red TapeYou are not officially allowed to climb Merapi.
When To ClimbJune - September
Mountain ConditionsFor volcanic activity check the reports published in the Global Volcanism Program by the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution - Merapi.
External LinksGlobal Volcanism Program
By the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
You may also be interested in climbing Mt. Sirung on Pantar Island.