• Muria
  • 1602 m
  • Primary factor 1594 m
  • Java, Indonesia
  • Location: South S06.61623, East 110.89030 (GPS on the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 1
  • Climbed July 28. 2019


How to get there:
This excellent web-site on climbing Indonesia peaks should always be consulted.
From Semarang, take Hwy. 1, north-east to Kudus. from there locate the narrow road that runs north on the west side of the river gorge to serve the small village named Rathawu. Continue up this narrow and steep road until you arrive at a 4-way junction where none of the options look very attractive (the road ahead becomes a very steep uphill). Turn left here (note a sign saying Puncak 29), drive 50 meter to the end of the road. If your car has a driver, he may be allowed to park here. This is the trailhead, location S06.63570, E110.88449, elevation around 780 meter.

Here is a summary and quick reference to the climbs on this trip.
Route description:
Walk slightly down between buildings to locate the concrete path that heads up the valley. Signs that says P29 or Puncak 29 should always be followed. The path, mostly concrete runs nicely up and further into the valley. You will cross one small, nicely arched bridge, then a bit further along a second bridge. Next, you arrive at a signed fork at location S06.63062, E110.89223, elevation about 875 meter. You should go right here. Continue uphill, you will pass various buildings, a rather large complex obviously eager to serve/sell to climbers. Shortly after this, you arrive at a trail fork at location S06.62536, E110.89584, elevation close to 1200 meter. There are no signs, it is important to go left here. A more horizontal section follows in order to connect across a saddle to the peak. Keep left (fairly obvious) at a first fork, then right (also pretty obvious) at the next fork. The trail now ascends on the peak proper. After a couple of switch-backs there are more buildings. One may actually ride a motor-bike all the way to here, but from this point and to the summit, the trail becomes a bit more rugged and appreciably steeper. You arrive at the summit ridge through some sort of gate, then immediately run into several buildings. one should continue onwards along the ridge in order to locate the highest point among some rocks and close to some kind of statue.
We had travelled by train from Cirebon to Semarang on Saturday, then moved to MesaStila, this is quite a favorite resort where we had a pretty long stay back in 2015. Muria is quite isolated, a reason that I did not climb it 4 years ago.
I had a hotel car arranged for 0400 on Sunday. With light traffic, we drove back to Semarang then to Kudus, already quite congested from a busy morning market. The morning market starts at 0200 and ends at 1000, my driver told. I used my GPS to assist navigating in order to exit Kudus onto the correct road running uphill on the left side of the river. As we moved higher, this road became increasingly narrow - to the extent that even meeting a motor-bike needed considerable attention. Charming small clusters of houses and the road kept climbing. Finally, we got to a spot where my driver just looked at me with the expression "What now?" all across his face. I noticed a sign pointing left saying Puncak 29. Turning left, the street ended after 50 meter and a concrete path continued. The proper trailhead and we had driven all the way there!
I left at 0645, the path was really attractive and the weather nice, local traffic, mostly motor-bikes, are the main users of these paths. I crossed two nicely built bridges and quickly understood that my path went right at the signed fork. Several huts, some catering to hikers were also passed. I quickly gained elevation, the path was still mostly made of concrete. Arriving at a sharp right curve, I noticed what looked like a smaller trail forking left, however, as there were no signs, I did not pay too much attention to it. My path now gained elevation while traversing right. I knew that the summit was more left and started to think that the small trail I had noticed, might have been some sort of short-cut. It became clear that my path would reach the main crest, I thought (or wanted to believe) that the route then would turn sharply left and follow the crest to Muria. However, I realized that such a route most likely would have to loose elevation and towards the end, I just continued since I already was this far along. The path suddenly ended, serving some agricultural purpose up here. From here, it was pretty obvious to see that I was totally off route.
I had gained 180 vertical meter from the missed fork. I quickly walked back down, this still took 15 minutes. Thus, I had certainly spent 20 minutes on ascending the wrong path. This time, the left forking trail did not look so small, in fact somewhat similar. A sign here would have been very helpful. Now, continuing on the correct path, I quickly started ascending the correct mountain slope. Arriving on top in 2 hours and 5 minutes, my time without the mistake would have been 1:30 or slightly less.
The summit ridge starts with some sort of gate, then a cluster of buildings. one can see the higher part with some communication gear, across and beyond these huts. The highest point was even a bit beyond the antenna, among some small boulders near a small statue.
I rested, had some water and enjoyed the nice scenery all around. A small village high on the mountain slope, a really rugged skyline made by the main crest guarding the valley. Another volcano in the haze, perhaps Lawu? I slowly walked back to the cluster of huts and found aspot with videw down to the high village where my car was waiting.
Leaving at 0915, I walked back down to the village in 1:04. Again, a very nice walk with time to take a couple of pictures as well as greeting locals on their way to work. The small farms grow coffee. Near the buildings, all available flat concrete was used for drying the coffee beans. In the meantime, my driver had been told that it would take me around 4 hours to climb (one way) Muria, he was therefore quite surprised when I arrived at 1019.
The drive back to MesaStila went smoothly and by early afternoon I joined Heidi with a cold beer on poolside. A nice way to end the trip!