Why don't Javanese rise up against Indonesia?


Indonesia: land of volcanoes

A report by Jens Edelmann

With Java, the Moluccas, the Lesser Sunda Islands, Sumatra and the Minahasa Peninsula, Indonesia has volcanic areas that are among the most impressive in the world. Only in a few places in the world can you find the mountains of fire in such a high density as here. Nowhere is the connection between gods, people and volcanoes as lively as in the Indonesian archipelago. Reason enough for us to travel to Indonesia again and again - even in politically less stable times. With this positive attitude, however, we not only meet with approval at home, because Indonesia is in crisis, both economically and politically. The difficulties the country is facing also have an impact on tourism. Currently there are far fewer tourists than before on the beaches of Bali, Lombok, the Borobodur Temple or in Torajaland. Germans in particular seem to be particularly skeptical in this regard. The result: Hotels are empty, restaurants have had to close, and thousands of Indonesians have lost their jobs. In addition to the German tourists, there were also fewer Australian visitors, as the authorities there repeatedly issued terror warnings. The bomb attacks on Bali in 2002 and 2005 contributed immensely to the fact that fewer visitors spent their holidays in Indonesia and especially in Bali. All of this has led to the fact that a great many Balinese have lost their jobs in the tourism sector and the country's infrastructure has suffered. Beautiful Bali - suddenly a place of horror. Many major airlines reduced their flight offers to Indonesia while increasing prices at the same time.

After an 18 hour flight we land at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali. We, that is my wife Grit, our children, Hannes (2) and Elisa (10) and the author of these lines. Elisa already knows Bali from a previous trip. Everything is new and very exciting for Hannes. Overall, it is our fourth trip to Indonesia.
Bali has developed into the hub of international air traffic in Indonesia in recent years. Most of the charter and scheduled flights from Europe arrive here. The pleasant climate of the island, the balanced nature of the Balinese, the interesting Hindu culture and religion and the comfortable and inexpensive accommodations make Bali an ideal entry point for anyone traveling to Indonesia for the first time.
From the airport, which is located in the extreme southwest of the island, we drive to Ubud, an artists' village in south-central Bali. Above all, many painters have settled here, whose works can be admired in countless galleries and, of course, also bought.
Arrival at the hotel. The Balinese losmen (Indonesian for "pension") are unbeatable when it comes to quality and price. We check in for 3 days and after the long flight we really enjoy ourselves. From the window of the restaurant we have a magnificent view of the rice fields of Ubud and the Gunung Batukau, the shell mountain.

Although a lot has changed since our last stay in Bali 5 years ago, we enjoy seeing familiar places again. Exchange photos with friends, take walks through the rice fields ...


We're going to the highlands. Our destination is the Batur Caldera, one of the largest and most beautiful volcanic calderas in the world. We move into quarters in the village of Toya Bunkah, picturesquely situated on the shores of Lake Batur at approx. 1,100 m above sea level.

We have already climbed the mountain twice and therefore already know it quite well. We are therefore all the more astonished by the information from the hotel manager that individual ascent of the volcano was recently forbidden. Every tourist who wants to climb the Batur is obliged to hire a guide at a price of US $ 20 per person (!) Of course. He suggests that if we were to be prevented from climbing the volcano by force, if we weren't willing to pay the required fee. We are seriously considering whether we should better pack and leave. In any case, we are determined not to pay. The next day. Breakfast. The manager grins when he sees us. "You want not go to Batur?" he asks. "Jalan jalan, saja" (just walk) I answer.
A quarter of an hour later we are on our way to the crater. Without a guide. Free of charge. As expected, the climb is easy. However, Hannes is anything but enthusiastic about the idea of ​​being transported up the mountain in a baby carrier.

On the way we meet the first night climbers with their guides. The tourists rave about the volcano and the magnificent sunrise. They even saw the Rinjani on Lombok. The "guides", farmers in rubber boots, scowl. Nevertheless, we can continue on our way unhindered.
The further ascent over the relatively steep, lava-armored flank of the cone does not present any difficulties. After a total of two hours, we reach the 1,717 meter high summit of Batur I. Unharmed, in the best weather. From above we can get a good overview of the caldera and the panorama with the opposite Gunung Abang (2,152 m), which forms the highest elevation of the crater rim, the highest peak in Bali, Gunung Agung (3,142 m) and the one deep below us Enjoy the azure blue Lake Batur. In the distance we can even see the almost 4000 meter high Rinjani volcano on the neighboring island of Lombok.

The Batur complex consists of four main elements:
a) An outer, approx. 13.8 x 10 km wide caldera (Caldera I);
b) an inner caldera with a diameter of approximately 7.5 kilometers (Caldera II);
c) Lake Batur (Danau Batur), located in the outer caldera and about 90 meters deep, which covers about 1/3 of the caldera,
d) the young Batur volcano, which is a stratovolcano of the postcaldera stage consisting of four volcanic cones

The caldera was formed in several stages of eruption, which occurred 29,300, 22,000 and 5,500 years ago. The oldest eruption created the outer caldera, while the inner caldera dates back to the middle eruption. These eruptions produced predominantly Dacite ignimbrites, which cover a large part of the interior of the caldera. Most of the temple statues characteristic of Bali, which can be seen almost everywhere on the island, are made from the tuffs of these eruptions deposited further south. The villages of Batubulan and Mas in southern Bali are particularly famous for their numerous stone carving workshops.
Numerous temples in Bali were also built from blocks of the Ubud ignimbrite.

The Batur has erupted about 25 times since 1804. Usually strombolian mild, but occasionally also more violent. The eruption points are grouped around the summit of Batur I, with the most active eruption field being along a fault line running south-east. A number of basaltic lava flows, emerging from the three summit craters as well as eruption crevices on the flanks of the Batur, reached the caldera floor and the shores of Lake Batur.
During an eruption in 1926, the lava emerged from a 1.3 km long eruption fissure and buried the village of Batur in the west of the caldera. The second most important Hindu temple in Bali, the Pura Ulan Danu, was destroyed. Only one shrine, that of the goddess of the lake, Devi Danu, could be saved. The village of Batur and the temple were later rebuilt on the rim of the crater, near the village of Kintamani ...

We circle the main crater and visit the crater field from 1994/95 on the back of the volcanic cone. The earth is steaming everywhere. A temperature measurement shows that the ground at a depth of only 5 cm is around 85 degrees Celsius. Reason enough for us to show the Batur a lot of respect.

We travel on to the north coast. Take a hotel west of Lovina Beach, swim and snorkel like in the old days. But the first look under the water is disappointing. The once magnificent reefs, which were still in full bloom in 1995, are coral cemeteries. We are appalled.
An Australian diving instructor explains to us: "Last year through El Nino we had 35 degrees water temperature for four months," he says. "No coral can withstand that in the long run".

We turn our backs on Bali and take a rickety ferry across the narrow strait to Java.

East Java: Ijen Caldera and Raung

Java is only a stone's throw away from Bali. 10,000 years ago there was even a land connection between the two islands. Nevertheless, Java is completely different from Bali, not least because of the predominant Islamic religion.
Java and Bali are among the most fertile, productive and at the same time most densely populated islands in the world. Bali has a population of around one million, which is joined by around a million tourists every year. On the other hand, Java, which is only about the size of the five new federal states in Germany, has 115 million people, around 60% of the total Indonesian population. Although the soils in Bali and Java are very fertile and allow two to three rice harvests per year, this is not enough. Indonesia still has to import rice!
Although a relatively large number of tourists travel to Java, there is no mass tourism on the island. East Java in particular, which is populated by predominantly conservative sections of the population, is - apart from the Bromo-Tengger massif - still rarely visited by tourists from overseas.
While Bali is predominantly settled by Hindus, whose ancestors fled here from Java from the growing influence of Islam in the 15th and early 16th centuries, the population of Java is predominantly Muslim. But it consists of very different ethnic groups: Sundanese, Javanese, Maduresen, Tengger and Badui.
Java is the political and economic heart of Indonesia. The archipelago of 17,000 islands is administered and governed from the capital Jakarta, which is the most populous city in Indonesia with a population of around 10 million people. The five most populous cities in Indonesia - Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Surakarta (Solo) and Surabaya - are also located on Java. Four of them are active volcanoes in threatening proximity.

Two irregularly shaped volcanic chains, between which a seismically highly active rift is inserted, run through all of Java and give expression to the forces acting between the continental plates. The volcanoes of East Java form vast individual massifs that rise from the plain at relatively regular intervals of 50 to 70 kilometers. A total of 21 volcanoes appeared on Java through eruptions in historical times. The most famous volcanoes on the island are the Merapi (2,911 m) in Central Java and the Tengger Caldera with Mount Bromo (2,329 m) in East Java.

Bali and Java are part of the Indonesian arc system (Sunda Arc) and are very young from a geological point of view. Their development only began about 3 million years ago. The land bridge between them disappeared as a result of the partial melting of the polar ice caps and the associated rise in sea levels at the end of the last ice age.
East Java is home to some of the most dangerous and destructive volcanoes in Indonesia. We want to visit some of them. Our first destination is the Ijen Caldera with the famous Kawah Ijen crater, in which one of the most important sulfur deposits in the world is mined right next to an acidic crater lake.


With a diameter of around 20 kilometers, the Ijen Caldera is one of the largest volcanoes in Indonesia in terms of area. The eruption points of the Ijen that were active in historical and prehistoric times are the volcanoes Raung in the west (3,332 m), Ijen (2,386 m) and Merapi in the east (2,800 m). The level of the crater lake is at an altitude of 2,120 m.
Around 7,500 people live in the caldera, the majority of them farmers, who mainly grow coffee and vegetables or work as sulfur workers in the active Kawah Ijen crater, which is not entirely harmless.
The Ijen Complex, consists of two main geomorphological units - the older Kendeng Volcano and the Ijen Caldera, which is of younger age. The only historically active volcano within the caldera is G.Ijen (2,386 m). In the west it is limited by the active, inaccessible stratovolcano Raung (3,332 m), which is rarely climbed by foreign tourists.
Because of its seclusion, the Raung appeals to us very much, but first we want to visit the Kawah Ijen.
We drive to Bondowoso, a small town with about 100,000 inhabitants, which is 45 km west of the volcano. Our friend Tilo, who is traveling through Indonesia for the first time, joins us at the hotel. We also get to know Sam, a nice Javanese who will be our guide and driver in the coming days. After a few exploratory tours, which among other things lead us to the "Land of 1000 Hills" at the foot of the Raung, we start to the Ijen.
From Bodowoso to Sempol, the largest town in the Ijen Caldera, the minibus ride takes just 2 hours. An 18 km long, now paved road leads from Sempol to Pal Tuding, a cluster of houses and tourist hostels at the foot of Gunung Ijen. No problem with the minibus.

In Pal Tuding the problem of staying overnight arises. Since Sam has to go back to Bondowoso, we ask for a place to sleep in one of the huts. What scares us, however, is not so much the inflated price, but rather the condition of the barracks. We therefore decide to continue walking towards the crater and ask for a place to stay at the sulfur workers' camp. Not a wrong decision, as we are pleased to discover a little later. The workers are extremely friendly and treat us to tea. Later we will be quartered with a kerosene lantern in a kind of bunker, which is a little further up on the slope and probably often serves as a tourist hostel. We are grateful and give the sulfur workers our melon, intended as a "crater breakfast". A few rupee bills also change hands. For less than five marks we can sit warm and dry and look forward to the upcoming volcano tour.

The famous Kawah Ijen crater is the summit crater of the Ijen volcano. The crater floor is occupied by a highly acidic crater lake. The lake is mostly from green-blue to turquoise, but it can change. Color changes to gray, white, brown or yellow seem to be related to the eruptive activity of the volcano.

In the west the lake has a drain that is regulated with a sluice. The Banyupahit River ("Bitter Water") drains the lake. A little above the lake level, strong fumaroles flow from the south-east wall of the crater, through whose activity two sulfur banks with a thickness of five to eight meters have formed. Since its discovery in the 18th century, this sulfur deposit has been subject to intensive exploitation. According to our measurements, the average temperature of the solfataras is between 190 ° C and 210 ° C.

Workers use primitive tools to break large lumps of sulfur out of the wall and carry them down to the valley in bamboo baskets. The average life expectancy of sulfur workers is around 40 to 50 years. However, many die beforehand - from eruptions, accidents or lung damage. For one kilo of sulfur, the workers get the equivalent of around 5 cents from the cooperative, and around three euros for a full load. They earn very well compared to a Javanese rice farmer or a factory worker and earn around three times the income. The jobs at the sulfur cooperative are accordingly very popular - despite the high professional risk. There are hardly any other jobs here in the east of Java and one looks in vain for a modern job agency. Many sulfur carriers do not only work in the sulfur mine, but sometimes also in the sulfur factory. A total of 220 sulfur carriers work at the Kawah Ijen. However, very few stick to the regulations and only go into the crater twice a day. Often there are four or five sulfur loads weighing between 70 and 120 kilograms (!), Which they lift up with enormous muscle power and an iron will. Tourists who buy cigarettes for the porters or buy sulfur levels as souvenirs are welcome guests here. You can stay as long as you want and watch the porters doing their dangerous work.

The approximately 250 m deep crater lake has a volume of approx. 36 million m³ and a surface of 41 ha. It forms the largest accumulation of strongly acidic water in the world. The lake contains alum, iron sulfate, and quite a bit of free hydrochloric and sulfuric acids. Its pH is between 0.36 and 0.48. The temperature on the surface is on average 20 - 40 ° C. In phases of increased seismic activity, however, it can also rise to over 50 ° C. The acid in the lake was probably formed as a result of a chemical reaction between volcanic chlorine and sulfur gases with the lake water (Cl + H = HCl). At the bottom of the lake there is also said to be a spring from which concentrated hydrochloric acid escapes.
The Banyupahit river ("bitter water"), which drains the lake, only has a pH value of 0.5 (!) Three kilometers southwest of the lake. Few crater lakes in the world have such a high acid content.As far as I know, only the Poàs volcanoes in Costa Rica and Maly Semjatschik on Kamchatka can compete with the Kawah Ijen in terms of the aggressiveness of their crater lakes.

The historical eruptions of the Kawah Ijen all occurred from the crater lake and were mostly accompanied by the formation of powerful mud flows (lahars). The Ijen has erupted six times since 1796, the last time in 1993. The most momentous eruption in historical times occurred from January 16 to February 18, 1817. When the crater lake was ejected, two lahars formed, which claimed an unknown number of lives.
Since highly poisonous gas bubbles made of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide rise from the lake from time to time, accidents occur again and again at Kawah Ijen. It was not until 1989 that some workers were suffocated here.
In the 20th century, the lake was the site of a number of phreatic eruptions, during which major releases of sulfur dioxide were recorded. In an eruption on April 22, 1952, a 1,000 m high eruption column rose above the lake. Boiling mud and sulfur were thrown up to 700 m high.


A few days later we are on our way to Raung. We had almost no information about this volcano in the run-up to our trip. There were some reports from the 1930s about the activity at that time and the morphology of the summit crater. Otherwise there was little useful. Therefore, before the excursion to the Ijen, we spent a few days exploring the "land of 1000 hills" on the western flank of the volcano and locating an ascent to the summit of the 3,332 m high Raung.
The Raung forms the western boundary of the Ijen Caldera. With an area of ​​around 900 km², a total volume of around 450 km³ and a base diameter of 40 km, it is one of the largest active volcanoes in Indonesia. It is considered to be difficult to access and in fact there is only one walkable trail to the summit crater. In the ascent and descent, there are 2,380 meters of altitude to be overcome and a total of around 45 km of walking distance.

Along with the Kawah Ijen, the Raung is one of the historical eruption points of the Ijen Mountains. It has an almost circular summit caldera from which the numerous historical eruptions took place. The Raung belongs to an ONO-WSW directed chain of young volcanoes that border the Ijen plateau in the south. This volcanic chain sits on an ONO-WSW-directed crevice system through which the magma can rise to the surface. There is a particularly deep crevice on the W flank of the volcano. It starts just below the Gunung Gadung (2,590 m) and runs through almost the entire W flank. A prehistoric collapse of this sector created a landslide, the debris of which can be traced over a distance of more than 60 km and form the "land of 1000 hills".
A total of 69 outbreaks have been reported from the Raung since 1586.

We drive, accompanied by Sam and his brother, to the village of Sumberwringin, which is located on the northwest flank of the volcano. There we report to the village elder (Kepala Kampung) and enter ourselves in the ascent book. In the house of Kepala Kampung we meet a group of mountaineers from Jakarta. They too want to go to the Raung. But not until tomorrow. They think our plan to climb the mountain during the night and only with minimal equipment is a good joke. Your backpacks weigh around 30 kilos. "What do you have with you?" I ask. "Water. Above all water," answer the Jakarta men.
They invite us to dinner. There is rice, vegetables, dried fish. We thank you for this with a few power bars from the iron reserve.
The village elder helps us to find a guide and a vehicle to take us from Sumberwringin to Pondok Motor, the end point of the slope leading to the volcano. This saves us eight kilometers of walking through the night and valuable energy. Our guide Hakim, a boy from the village, urges you to hurry. It's already after 8 p.m. We have to go.
The flatbed truck, which is open at the back, rumbles across the slope. My butt hurts. All bones are shaken thoroughly. After three quarters of an hour the vehicle stops. "Where are we?" I ask. "Pondok Motor" replies the driver.
"Where is the trail?" I ask. The driver points into the dark without a word.
"Let's go," says Hakim. We grab our backpacks and trot off. The Indonesians are setting an uncanny pace. Do they want to run up the mountain? After half an hour the rimbu, the bush, collapses behind us. We walk like in a trance. But then Tilo brings me back to reality - he calls his mom in Germany on the cell phone. Mountaineering in the 21st century ...

Break. We come across two tents in the middle of nowhere. Indonesians who dismounted from the summit this morning. Sam talks to the climbers in Javanese. I do not understand a word. Then they wish us a good journey. It goes on. The forest is pitch black. Only our flashlights light the way. The terrain is surprisingly easy. We are making good progress. We rest at a large tree. We have already walked four hours. Sam`s brother falls into the grass and fell asleep after a few minutes. The clock shows 1:00 a.m. In the meantime the moon has risen and shines like a silver sickle through the trees. We wake up Sam`s brother. But after half an hour the Indonesians want to rest again. There is no trace of their original tempo. Now Sam has problems too. Only Hakim seems to be in good shape. And we? We yawn occasionally but are otherwise in good spirits. Only the cold creeps through things. It is wet. We urge you to leave.

The breaks get shorter and shorter until we reach the tree line, which we reach around half past four. Finally, we leave our companions behind and continue to climb to the crater rim alone in the moonlight. The bright tuffs of the vegetation-free zone of the summit cone reflect the moonlight so strongly that we no longer need flashlights. We reach the rim of the crater around five thirty. Exhausted. Happy. It is cold. We are freezing. Shivering, we "enjoy" the sunrise over the Ijen Caldera. The Merapi rises far to the east. In the west we see the smoking cone of the Semeru. Below us a sea of ​​clouds.

The Raung crater is still largely in the dark, but soon the higher rising sun dips into it and peels the outlines of the eruption cone out of the shadows. Madness! The crater is at least a kilometer wide. We estimate its depth to be 200 meters. As is usual with stratovolcanoes, the walls consist of alternating layers of ash and lava. We are less worried about the steaming eruption cone, but rather the rather crumbly, partially overhanging crater rim. It is better not to rush into the depths here!

Our friends finally arrive at the crater rim around seven. You are dead tired and immediately sit down to take a nap. The sun is slowly rising higher. It is getting warmer. The photo light is also getting better. However, our companions have no eye for the natural beauties. They sleep. We take pictures. Around nine we go back together and reach Sumberwringin in the late afternoon.

Bromo and Semeru

The volcanoes Bromo and Semeru are next to the Merapi among the most famous fire mountains in Java. The 3,676 m high Semeru is not only the highest, but also the holiest mountain of all Javas. Many Hindus from Bali and East Java, but also Muslims, therefore climb it on pilgrimages. The Bromo-Tengger complex is formed by three quaternary calderas that partially overlap. Geologically speaking, these calderas are relatively young. The oldest is only around 150,000 years old. The youngest of them is about eight kilometers wide and contains the famous Sand Sea. On the flanks of the massif there are lava domes, cinder cones and the maars Ranu Pani, Ranu Regulo and Ranu Kumbulo.

The active volcano Gunung Bromo (2,329 m) in the "Sea of ​​Sand" forms the outstanding tourist attraction of the complex. In addition to the Semeru, it is also venerated as a holy mountain by the Tenggeresen, the only ethnic group in Java who are Hindu faith. Every February the Kasado Festival is held here, where chickens and flowers and the crater are thrown.

The complex is dominated by the active crater of G. Bromo and the perfect cone of G. Batok. Other (extinct) eruption centers are the craters Segarawedi Kidul, Segarawedi Lor I and II, G. Kursi and G. Batok. The oldest and at the same time largest crater is the Segarawedi Kidul with a diameter of 1.5 km.
Since its first eruption, recorded in historical times, in 1804, the Bromo has been active almost continuously, but mostly with only mild intensity.

The activity alternates between the continuous emission of water vapor and volcanic gases, which are often characterized by high H²S concentrations, and the emission of ashes, bombs and glowing cinder. Occasionally the volcano also throws ash clouds that rise to heights of up to 500 m above the crater rim. From 1838 to 1841 and from March to June 1842 a crater lake or a lava lake was observed in the crater of Bromo. It takes a good hour to circumnavigate the crater on the sometimes very narrow ridge (be careful!). Take children on the rope!

At the foot of the Bromo there is a large Hindu temple, which was built by believers from Bali. The many swastikas, which are a symbol of the rising sun in Hinduism, are interesting.
Climbing Semeru is even more interesting than an excursion to Bromo. Semeru is not only the highest volcano on Java, but also one of the most active fire mountains in the entire Indonesian archipelago and it is dangerous.
Reports of fatalities go through the press again and again. Only in the summer of 2000 two volcanologists had an accident here. Two others were seriously injured. Nevertheless, it is one of the most interesting volcanoes in Indonesia.
The basis for an ascent of the Semeru is Ranu Pani, a Tengger village at 2,100 m above sea level. Once there, we move into the homestay of Pak Tasrip, the only official hostel in town.
Fortunately, rooms are free, which is by no means always the case. Because mountaineers from all over the world meet at Semeru. But today we are the only ones. Two Englishmen who have just dismounted report that it is extremely exhausting to climb the ash cone. A French group confirms this. The guest book also shows similar entries. So we know what to expect.

We leave the next morning. It goes on paths through the bush for almost hours. The vegetation is sometimes so dense that real tunnels have formed in which one can only crawl forward. In addition, a number of fallen trees hinder progress.
Nevertheless, the hike is an experience. Above all, we admire the giant tree ferns from the genus Cyathea, of which there are considerable populations here.

We stop at Ranu Kumbulo, a maar. Fog is gathering. We march on. After another three hours the forest clears. Suddenly the huge ash cone of the Semeru rises in front of us, which greets us with an eruption and sends a huge cloud of smoke into the sky. We are impressed. Do we want to take on this mountain?

In order to save time the next morning, we already climb to the upper base camp, which is located in a wood on the slope of the ash cone. Contrary to expectations, the one-hour ascent turns into a sweaty action. When we get to the top, we're done.
But we managed to hike from Ranu Pani to Base Camp in one day and we are happy. The joy does not last long, however. When we try to pitch the tent we borrowed in Ranu Pani, we laugh away. The tent poles are patched with wire and wobble as much as they can. The tent is damp and musty inside and we can roll the dice for the only sleeping mat.
Even with a hot tea, which we were all looking forward to, it will unfortunately not work. Our guide forgot him in the village. Conclusion of the evening: there is water to drink, cold rice to eat, a broken tent to sleep and the insight that it is better not to leave without checking your equipment beforehand. The best thing is still to bring your own things. Our consolation: we can get up at 2:00 a.m. (that is, the tremors will soon be over) and reaching into the iron reserve saves dinner. At least there are enough dry branches in the grove so that we can at least make a fire.
2.00 a.m. The alarm clock beeps. Get dressed and then let's go. Dig through the ashes for four hours. Two steps forward, one step back. After five hours we are still not up there. Everything here is apparently made up of loose ashes. As soon as you step on one of the larger boulders, half the slope starts to move. Is that a drudgery! Will we fare like the writers in Pak Tasrip's guest book? Do we have to give up? It's getting light. How far is it?
We can already see the summit. There - an eruption! There are no more than 15 minutes left. Further! Grit stands across the slope. Suddenly she cries out in pain. "My knee!". Before I can turn around, it has already happened. Everything happens very quickly. Grit slides down the steep slope, which has an incline of 35 degrees here. Shortly before a gully, a large stone slows down your descent. My legs are shaking.
Grit can't get up. The kneecap popped out. Damn it, where do we get a helicopter now? We try to move the injured leg carefully. Somehow we manage to get the kneecap back on. Grit limps up the gully, leaning on me. The kneecap pops out for the second time ...

Somehow we manage to climb to a boulder where the others are waiting for us. Tilo continues to the summit to take at least a few photos. Since he doesn't have a camera, he takes mine. He comes back after 20 minutes. "Your camera won't trigger". "I beg your pardon?" I ask and can't believe it. I press the shutter button, the camera works perfectly. Furious, I pick up the phone and run to the top. It's not even ten minutes to the top. An Indonesian group that overtook us is already at the summit.
We congratulate each other on having made it. Quickly a few shots and then let's get down!

Grit has recovered a little. But the knee looks bad and is badly swollen. We support it with a sarong (an Indonesian temple cloth). Grit is incredibly brave and limps down the ash cone. Two hours later we are in base camp. It is 16 kilometers to Ranu Pani. In addition, there is the not inconsiderable difference in altitude. But we can do it. Although we have to cover the last three hours of the way in the dark, we are in Ranu Pani around 9 p.m. Relieved, happy.
Semeru gave us the chance to do better next time.

About the author:

For Jens Edelmann (36) from Dresden, volcanoes have long been more than a hobby. That is why hardly a day goes by when he is not occupied with them and their activity. He is particularly interested in the fire mountains of Southeast Asia. He has already made numerous trips to Indonesia and visited the Philippines. Further stays at the volcanoes of this part of the "Ring of Fire" are planned, so reason enough to look forward to more reports from our co-author.

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