|Elevation:||1,667 m (5,469 ft)||Prominence:||1,108 m|
|Ribu category:||Kurang Tinggi||Province:||Jawa Timur (East Java)|
|Google Earth:||kml||Other names:||Tarub|
|Eruptions:||1799, 1806, 1808, 1817-18, 1821-22, 1824, 1826, 1829-30, 1838, 1841-44, 1847, 1849, 1856, 1859, 1861, 1864, 1869-72, 1874, 1877, 1883-91, 1893, 1898|
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Gunung Tarub is the name given to the highest peak of Lamongan mountain. It has not erupted since 1898 but used to be one of Java’s most dangerous volcanoes. The mountain is surrounded by 27 maars – low-lying volcanic craters, some of which are now lakes. Despite its relatively low height, Lamongan has the characteristics of a much larger volcano.
Lamongan is fairly frequently climbed by local students and hikers who like to reach the fascinating, eerie crater. The closest town is Klakah which lies to the west of the mountain on the main road between Probolinggo and Lumajang. From Klakah, follow the road east to Ranu Klakah (one of the lake-filled maars) and on to the village of Papringan (281m). When you reach a fork in the road with a security post in the middle, take the left turn and follow this increasingly bumpy road for another 2 kilometres. Although you will have to drive slowly, the road is passable by ordinary motor vehicles or you can alternatively get an ojek from the main road in Klakah. The road ends at the impressive home of Mbah Citro (455m). It would take about an hour to walk here from Klakah.
Mbah Citro is an affable gent who claims to be 108 years old and built his house here in 1964 after moving from Semarang. He and his extended family are happy for people to rest here and they will prepare basic meals for you if required. The house itself is very eccentric indeed – it has been entirely ‘wallpapered’ in electronic circuit boards – thousands of them! There are also various photos and posters of Mbah Citro in formal dress and quotations from former president Sukarno. There are many date stones set into or written on the walls of the house, indeed a new one was going up the day we arrived to commemorate Mbah Citro’s 46th year of residence here! It is very useful to have a local guide because most people here speak Javanese much moreso than Bahasa Indonesia, never mind English. This area is one of great importance to traditional and local religious beliefs.
Outside the house the landscape is a mixture of pleasant green foliage and sharp, black volcanic rock, hurled down the side of the volcano in previous centuries. The trail starts at the back of the house and leads gently up the open hillside. Because there is little shade on the lower slopes of the mountain it is a good idea to start as early in the morning as possible to avoid the worst of the heat. There are several trails on the lower slopes but most of them join up before Watu Gede (722m) – a large rock with graffiti all over it where hikers often take a rest. It only takes an hour to reach this point. After Watu Gede, the trail heads straight up the side of the volcano and the terrain begins to resemble a much-less steep version of the final section of the climb to the summit of Semeru. The ground is covered in layers of black volcanic sand and small rocks.
At an elevation of approximately 1,098m, the trail enters forest and finally some shade from the sun is available. At 1,296m is a ceramic bowl which contains water believed by local people to have special properties. Take extra care to check your hands and feet regularly because there are many leeches in this section of the hike. The trail becomes even steeper after this point but it is a well-defined path and difficult to get lost on. Eventually the forest becomes less dense and you should have some excellent views westwards towards Semeru and Bromo. Altogether it should take about 4 hours to climb from Mbah Citro’s house to the crater rim.
The rim of Gunung Lamongan is an incredibly atmospheric place – large boulders crown the side of the rim accessible from this route. Some of these rocks are hot and there are many places on the side of the crater where you will see a great deal of sulphur gases rising into the air, especially on the western side. The crater itself is remarkably deep – perhaps 150 metres) and there are some fantastic rocky pinnacles and precipices. It is also quite a dangerous area so take extra care to mind your step and also avoid breathing in any of the gases. You should have fine views of Gunung Argopuro which is the next major mountain range to the east. This point on the rim of Lamongan is as far as most hikers go before turning around and heading back down the trail to Mbah Citro’s house.
Although most hikers are happy enough to enjoy the incredible atmosphere of the mountain and the views, the summit itself lies a considerable way beyond the crater. The regularly visited section of the rim is at an elevation of approximately 1,620m although the highest point of the rim (on the northern side) is 1,646m according to Bakosurtanal maps. Unfortunately, the terrain is incredibly steep, hazardous (immense drops and sulphur gas) and there is no route through the vegetation which covers the sharp rocks. Reaching the very top of the rim is a considerable task which people rarely undertake. It could probably be reached in about one hour (assuming you have the confidence required). Following the rim clockwise is the easier option but neither are easy.
In addition, as if this were not hard enough, the highest point of the mountain, known as Gunung Tarub (1,667m), is a forest peak which lies a further kilometre to the north-east! Tarub is covered in dense vegetation and there is a considerable drop – think of it as a small valley – between Tarub and Lamongan crater. Local hiker Iwan Erfanto of Probolinggo made a 3-day expedition to Tarub from this side in October 2008.
For those without lots of spare time and who want to reach the highest point, Tarub, the best thing to do is climb from Kampung Darungan (626m) near Ranu Gedang to the north of the mountain. It is only very occasionally climbed from this direction and so you will almost certainly need to enlist the services of some local people to help cut down the undergrowth and locate the actual path! From Probolinggo it takes about an hour to reach Ranu Gedang where you take a right (i.e straight ahead) up to the final village of Kampung Darungan. The road up to the village is simply a very bumpy farm tracks for several kilometres and not something a regular car could negotiate without a lot of effort. A jeep would be ideal otherwise you would have to arrange ojeks or simple walk in for an extra hour or two.
Gunung Bagging went there in January 2011 and it took just 5 hours from Kampung Darungan to the summit – which offers little in the way of views but is crowned with a cement surveying pillar from Dutch times and under 3 to descend the same way. There are some stunning views of ancient outer craters – evidence of what a complex volcanic area this once was and may very well be again. Just look at the area on Google Maps to see all the circular depressions – volcanic maars’ – in the landscape.
In summary, the highest peak of Tarub is best approached from Ranu Gedang to the north but the more interesting Lamongan crater is best approach from Klakah. Both of these hikes can be completed in a single day and both are really worthwhile. To do a traverse of both peaks in a single day would be pretty difficult – you would need to set out before dawn, hope that someone had been up recently and so made the trail clear, get very lucky in route finding and also negotiate the tough section between Lamongan crater and Tarub which takes about 2 hours and goes via a peak known to local hikers as Gunung Candi, named because it resembles a temple not that there is actually one up there! Otherwise, take it steadily, spend two days doing a traverse and enjoy a night on this atmospheric mountain.
Bagging information by Daniel Quinn.
|Getting there||The nearest city is Probolinggo. There are buses towards Lumajang via Klakah. Getting to Kampung Darungan is more difficult and would probably involve ojeks or a jeep.|
|Accommodation||Probolinggo, Lumajang or you can lie on the floor at Mbah Citro’s house at the start of the Lamongan crater trail. You could probably also stay in Kampung Darungan if you made a contribution and arranged it in advance. Bear in mind there is no electricity.|
|Permits||Mbah Citro may have to contact the spirits first to see if it’s ok for you to climb. Take a photocopy of your passport photo page just incase.|
|Water sources||Take sufficient supplies with you.|
Origins and Meaning
Gunung Tarub = (possibly) Mount Blacksmith’s Workshop. One of the main meanings of tarub in Old Javanese is “the shed/shelter where a smithy or blacksmith works”. So Gunung Tarub might be so named because Lamongan crater is hot and firey like a blacksmith’s forge (see also Gunung Papandayan). In modern Javanese tarub has widened in meaning to signify the temporary shed/shelter built at the front of a house to accommodate guests at a wedding celebration. (George Quinn, 2011)