Anjasmoro

Facts

Elevation: 2,372 m (7,782 ft) Prominence: 641 m
Ribu category: Google MarkerSpesial Province: Jawa Timur (East Java)
Google Earth: kml Other names:  
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Bagging It!

Occasionally people email to ask about the huge massif known as Anjasmoro to the west of Arjuno-Welirang. This is a vast and – for Java – wild range, with a name of Sanskrit origins. At the time of writing, in 2018, unless you are on the Wonosalam route you are unlikely to meet any other hiking groups at all, even on weekends! Anjasmoro has no craters but there are hot springs to be found on its slopes. There are two main trailheads on very different sides of the range – Wonosalam on the north-western side and Canggar on the eastern side – but a traverse from one to the other is either not possible at all or would require a week or more to complete as part of a serious expedition across numerous ridges.

To try to minimise confusion over all the different peaks, the following are the six principal mountains in the Anjasmoro range, in order of height (all heights from Bakosurtanal maps).

Gunung 1 – Unnamed peak – 2,372m
Gunung 2 – Gunung Biru – 2,331m
Gunung 3 – Gunung Anjasmoro – 2,269m
Gunung 4 – Gunung Boklorobubuh / Gunung Kukusan – 2,230m
Gunung 5 – Gunung Argowayang – 2,197m
Gunung 6 – Gunung Gede (Puncak Cemoro Sewu) – 1,866m

Carangwulung, Wononsalam, Jombang trail to Puncak Cemoro Sewu (Gunung Gede, 1,866m).

The most popular trail in the Anjasmoro range starts from Desa Carangwulung (600m), Wonosalam near Jombang to the north-west. This is one of the most famous durian areas in East Java. The trail goes nowhere near the highest peaks in the range but is apparently a very pleasant hike. Pos Singgah (starting point) to Pos 1 (Pos Kancil) is about 1 hour, Pos 2 (Pos Salwa / Lumpang) is a further hour, Pos 3 (Pos Bambu / Pring Rusak) is yet another hour and you may meet leeches on this section. Pos 3 to Pos 4 (Pos Bayangan) takes around 1hr 30min and then it’s another 30 minutes to the ‘peak’ known as Puncak Cemoro Sewu because of the many pine trees (‘cemara‘ / ‘cemoro‘) on the higher slopes. ‘Sewu’ means ‘thousand‘ or simply ‘many‘. Ignore the signs at the summit suggesting this peak is 2,282m high – it is actually about 400 metres lower than that.

So, in total 5 hours plus rest time so you could probably do this as a day-hike although as always you would perhaps miss the best views at dawn and dusk. This peak is known on maps as Gunung Gede (Gunung 6).

The iconic and impossibly steep-looking chunky peak seen to the east is Gunung Boklorobubuh (2,230m) (Gunung 4) which is connected to Gunung Kukusan (2,013m). It’s the highest peak in the northern half of the Anjasmoro mountain range but it remains unclear if anyone has actually made it to the very top. A handful of local hikers claim to have hiked to the top of Kukusan. This cluster of peaks is definitely very popular, as it has numerous other, more modern, names based on its shape including Puncak Piramid, which is how it appears from some angles – including from Air Terjun Sekelip (Sekelip Waterfall) and Gua Sigolo-golo (Sigolo-golo Cave). Despite being pretty much located nestled at the heart of the Anjasmoro range, it is actually moderately accessible from the northern slopes from the Mojokerto side.

Bukit Jengger or Watu / Batu Jengger (also known as Gunung Joko Munjung, as if it didn’t have enough names already!) is a popular ridge and camping spot to the north-west of Gunung Kukusan, and is sometimes mistakenly the name given to the steep peak itself. Watu Jengger, however, is only around 1,100m above sea level, and is easily accessed from the road end (650m) near to Rejosari. It remains unclear how close ordinary hikers can get beyond Bukit Watu Jengger (which is an easy 90 minute ridge walk from the road near Rejosari) towards Gunung Kukusan and Boklorobubuh before having to turn back after meeting near-vertical terrain. It is very noticeable from the slopes of the much higher Gunung Butak to the south, poking out over the top of the lower tops surrounding it.

Note that the highest labelled peak on the Bakosurtanal map (1:25000 Pujon 1508-324) on the western half of the mountain range is actually Argowayang (2,197m) (Gunung 5) which appears about 5km to the south of Gunung Gede / Cemoro Sewu and would be best accessed from the southern side near Tawangsari, Pujon  (c1,200m) or from the west at Galengdowo (c900m), Wonosalam Selatan. For the latter, try Pak Endon 08525 9005057.

Cangar trail to Anjasmoro peak and Gunung Biru.

The second main trail starts at the defunct Pabrik Jamur (mushroom factory) at Cangar (1,725m), to the east of the Anjasmoro range, and basically near the col between Anjasmoro and Arjuno-Welirang. From the defunct mushroom factory (where there is space to leave a car), follow the road for just 2 or 3 minutes up to a deserted wooden building and then onto a narrow path into the vegetation (1,750m). There are no signs so you may require local help here.

Once you are on the trail it is pretty obvious, with plastic ribbons attached to trees every so often, as the trail gets steeper and steeper and you enter denser forest. After about 90 minutes you should have reach the ridge (2,160m). There is a little flat spot here suitable for pitching a single tent, but if you follow the ridge to the left (roughly south-west) then you will reach a minor peak with a summit sign on it (2,220m – the sign says 2,227m) followed by the true highest point (2,269m on Bakosurtanal maps, 2,280m on my GPS, and 2,282m according to local hikers) of the peak known as Anjasmoro (Gunung 3). It should have taken you no more than about 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach this spot, which in November 2018 had an Indonesian flag tied to a tree, but none of the usual metal signs. The space for tents is a little better here – perhaps enough for 3 small ones.

Whilst this peak may be called Anjasmoro, it is not the highest of the Anjasmoro mountain range, which consists of a network of ridges with numerous peaks. Anjasmoro first peak is actually only the third-highest in the range, after Gunung Biru and an unnamed higher peak beyond Gunung Biru.

Beyond this point the trail is very rough and it will depend if others have been there recently as to whether or not you can even find your way! An experienced local guide is usually required. Following the ridge west, the trail (if there still is one or if you can identify any ribbons or markings on trees) drops down a fair way before leading over a minor top (2,213m) and down again and finally up quite steeply to a junction of mountain ridges (2,152m).

This junction is a very important spot for navigation so make sure you can identify it easily and mark it in your GPS if you have one. In November 2018, there was a very simple shelter made out of branches at this junction. Turning right here would take you northwards which is not the direct you want to be going in and in any case there is seemingly no trail in this direction. The higher peaks of Gunung Biru and the unnamed true peak of the range lie to the south so you need to take a left here at the junction of ridges. it should have taken you around 3 hours and 30 minutes to reach this point (not including breaks) so just a little over an hour from the first Anjasmoro peak.

Heading south from the mountain ridge junction, the trail actually improves and can be seen clearly, even if parts of it are hidden in dense bracken and other vegetation from time to time. After about one hour from the ridge junction, you will find yourself on a pleasant, flat narrow ridge surrounded by pine trees (Biru camp, 2,251m on the Bakosurtanal map, 2,265m on GPS). It should have taken you no more than 5 hours in total to have reached this point.

This little spot is probably the best place to camp on this side of the mountain as the views are fantastic. You can see Arjuno-Welirang, Semeru, Butak and the Anjasmoro range’s most striking peaks – the jagged Gunung Boklorobubuh (2,230m) (Gunung 4) and Gunung Kukusan.

Just beyond Biru camp is a very narrow section of ridge. This is the best spot for photos, but also rather dangerous indeed so take real care here as the drops on both sides are near-vertical in places. The reason we have called this camp spot Biru camp is because it is the lower section of a major peak in the Anjasmoro range known as Gunung Biru (‘blue mountain’). In fact, you could call the camp spot Gunung Biru first top, as there is a second ‘summit’ clearly visible a couple of hundred further south, and this second top obscures the true highest peak of Gunung Biru (2,331m according to Bakosurtanal and 2,340m according to GPS).

Getting to the top of the highest peak of Gunung Biru from Biru camp is quite a challenge, as the path disintegrates and there are sections of very steep, narrow ridge with nothing much stable to hold on to. For the brave, it takes around one hour to cover just 650m distance or so heading south-west and the ridge goes via another minor top (2,315m)! There is lots of evidence of wild pigs living here, and if there is a trail at all then it is probably one created by babi hutan rather than by humans! The true summit of Gunung Biru (Gunung 2) is totally overgrown at the time of writing, with a few logs and stumps to climb onto to enjoy the views back to Welirang and other peaks.

As you will see from the top of Gunung Biru, the ridge continues west and south-west, to another peak about 1.2km away. This western peak, which is rarely-visited and has no name on the Bakosurtanal map, is the highest in the entire range at 2,372m (Gunung 1). Unfortunately there is no trail and the drop between the two peaks is substantial – perhaps over 150m down and then back up again. If there was a trail to follow it might only take an hour each way. As it is, it would probably take a minimum of two hours each way, fighting with the undergrowth the whole time.

Obviously, if you are intent on reaching the true highest peak of the Anjasmoro mountain range, there are basically two options. Firstly, unless you want to have to retrace your footsteps up and down a complex network of ridges and spend a second night camping on the range, the best thing to do is set off from the Cangar trailhead no later than 6am and do a full one-day traverse of the highest peaks in the range, culminating in the highest peak, before dropping down to Pujon where there is a farm track or trail as high up at 1,600m. An experienced local guide would be essential for this – try Ladi on 082331851343. You could of course split this traverse into two days, but carrying large backpacks on the section of narrow ridge between Biru camp and Gunung Biru summit is not recommended.

The more sensible option would be to enjoy this side of the mountain (Anjasmoro peak, ridge junction, Biru camp – and perhaps Gunung Biru peak) and do a separate hike to the true highest peak from the Pujon side (see below).

To return to the Cangar trailhead from Gunung Biru peak takes around 4 or 4 and a half hours. Note that there is an alternate route down to Sumber Brantas from Anjasmoro peak (Gunung 3) but this is not of much use to those who have left vehicles at the defunct mushroom factory.

True highest peak in the Anjasmoro range from Pujon

It is estimated that the true peak of the range (Gunung 1) could be reached from the highest farm tracks above Pujon in under 5 hours (one-way) via a minor top marked on the Bakosurtanal map as Gunung Petungamolok (2,096m). Ideal for a weekend trip with one night spent camping at the summit. Apparently there is no trail so you would probably need local help. We will be returning to try this in 2019…

Bagging information by Dan Quinn (November 2018).

Practicalities

Getting there Malang is the closest airport for Cangar and Pujon. Both Cangar and Pujon are about 90 minutes from Malang by car or motorbike. For the Wonosalam route to Cemorosewu (Gunung Gede) or an attempt on Boklorobubuh or Kukusan, best fly to Surabaya or better still take a train to Jombang or Mojokerto.
Accommodation Plenty in Batu and surrounding areas.
Permits For the Cangar route, register at the office on the right side of the road at around 1,650m elevation between Sumber Brantas and Cangar. Approximately Rp15,000 each (or Rp50,000 per foreigner) in 2018. Take a photocopy of your passport photo page just incase.
Water sources None on the Cangar route – take plenty of bottled water with you.
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm): surabaya

Location

Links and References

Wikipedia Indonesia

2 thoughts on “Anjasmoro

  1. Well, after a fair bit of messaging back and forth to locals regarding various peaks in the range and looking at various maps, it seems I will have to make at least 2 more weekend trips to Anjasmoro in 2019. One to do Gunung Gede / Cemorosewu (dayhike) and then a Kukusan / Boklorobubuh investigation the following day, and then another separate weekend trying to reach the true 2372m seemingly un-named summit of the entire range near Pujon…..

    Thanks to Cherry Zoya of the excellent Jombang City Guide website for putting me in touch with some knowledgeable locals….

  2. Anjasmoro was the last mountain in Java for me to explore (other than Gunung Baluran, which the National Park forbid people from hiking) and after the recent trip last weekend I feel I need at least two more trips to its numerous peaks and ridges to get a proper understanding of it.

    7 of us (including 2 local guides) set off from Cangar on Saturday morning after having got any last minute necessities from the Indomaret at Sumber Brantas (1,620m). The first section is pretty tough – very steep – but you soon reach the ridge, which was misty for us. From here, the trek is basically following ridges, some of which are narrow (easy for navigation but dangerous!) and some of which are wider (safer but harder to navigate). The first top with a sign on it is often mistaken for the top of Anjasmoro, but it is not the top of even the peak known as Anjasmoro, let alone the mountain range itself. But at least there’s a sign – the rest of the range feels very far from civilization, and hiking here alone might be a little spooky in the mist, apart from at this end where you can hear dangdut booming in the valley below!

    We were all at the top of Anjasmoro peak (just the peak, not the highest point of the range) in just over 2 hours. In addition to an Indonesian flag, there was a message from a University hiking group from Jakarta who visited here in September. Not sure if they ventured beyond this point – most definitely do not.

    We did though, and with the expert help of our guide Ladi, descended tough, steep, and sometimes spiky terrain before reaching the ridge junction after a further hour. Not easy at all – a few bits of ribbon on trees here and there but clearly very few folk currently hike here. The closest thing it reminded me of was Gunung Liman – another wild, unfrequented, overgrown East Java ridge.

    The plan was to camp at Gunung Biru and make an attempt to reach the far western distant peak which is the highest at 2,372m but has no known name at present. Well, after another hour we reached the beginning of Gunung Biru – a lovely narrow flat ridge Ladi had visited before and suggested as a camp spot. Great suggestion – in clearer weather this would have been a superb vantage point for numerous mountains. But we had late November cloud and went to bed early.

    The next morning, nobody else except Ladi and myself wanted to try for the true peak. Sensible perhaps, as the terrain beyond the camp spot was challenging indeed. Had there been a trail, we might have made it to the true summit in 90 minutes. As it was, it took us one hour to reach the highest peak of Gunung Biru, the second highest peak in the entire range but still well over 1km away from the true summit, which could be seen from the top. Nice views.

    It then emerged that Ladi had done all these tops as a day-hike traverse about 4 years ago. It didn’t look like anyone had been here in recent months looking at the height of the bracken and total lack of discernible path. We weren’t going to have enough time to get over to the true peak and then back over and out to Cangar again, especially as I had to catch a train to Sidoarjo and then a flight back to Jakarta the next morning.

    But if Ladi had descended to Pujon after his hike across all of these peaks, then surely it would be possible to come back next year and head up to the true peak from the Pujon side and back down the same way. That indeed is our plan. Once you are beyond the little camp spot at the start of Gunung Biru, you have a long way back to go to Cangar, with lots of ups and downs, so better to do a full traverse starting at 6am with a daypack or else do two completely separate hikes.

    So then, 2 more weekend Anjasmoro hikes for 2019…. True peak from Pujon, and the Wonosalam route in the north-west of the range. Looking forward to them both….

    We finished our trip in the only way possible in Malang…. Food and beverages at the excellent The Library which I wholeheartedly recommend. If only they had a branch in South Jakarta…

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