How to get there:
This excellent web-site on climbing Indonesia peaks should always be consulted.
The best trailhead for a single day ascent is Bermi on the west side of the peak. Locate the city Probolinggo then move about 20 kilometer east near Kraksaan. Exit Hwy. 1, going south on Raya Condong, this road runs immediately west of a river. Drive to Tjondong where there is a hotel, continue uphill, fork left at location S7.92322, E113.43297. This road leads to the trailhead. My driver continued a short distance on a rougher (unpaved) road and we parked at location S7.95811, E113.49596, elevation a bit below 1000 meter. However, anywhere near this location will serve well as a trailhead.
Here is a summary and quick reference to the climbs on this trip.
This entire trail is quite nice. It is really (YDS) class 1 almost all the way, however, due to a few slightly steeper spots it still has an overall classification as (YDS) class 2.
From the trailhead, the trail initially climbs very nicely with farmed land on both sides. Near location S07.96609, E113.50647, elevation around 1130m, there is a structure having a roof, but no walls. I left the big horizontal trail here and picked a smaller trail uphill that started on the right hand side of this structure (facing uphill). Higher up, the trail runs in gentle switch-backs, in fact local people travel by motor-bike up this trail, all the way to the barrier just before the crater lake. There are short-cuts, generally more eroded and the best route is likely to follow the path that is used by the bikes.
Just before you top out on the small local crater that has a lake inside, the trail is carefully blocked by a wooden structure. My guess is that this is just to prevent motor-bikes to run into the lake area. Pass through a smaller opening in this barrier, then descend slightly towards the lake. One may pay a visit ot the lake by heading straight down to its shore, or continue on the trail by turning left before getting all the way to the lake. The trail is a bit fuzzy here, but this will sort itself out as soon as you have moved a bit further left. The route now basically continues on part of the crater rim, a nice and gradual ascent where you may have some partial views of the lake below on your right hand side.
After a while, the route will traverse a bit more left as it climbs a hillside in order to reach a distinct col at location S07.97692, E113.55617, elevation around 2460 meter. The trail turns left and climbs a small ridge before it descends towards the base of Argopuro itself. Soon, you arrive at a dry creek, this is location S07.97358, E113.55901, elevation again near 2460 meter. There is a trail fork here, a longer route runs straight (more horizontal), while the route to Argopuro forks left and immediately heads uphill. Take this trail. The ascent is overall quite easy with only a few slightly steeper sections (sand that mahy feel a bit slippery.) Higher up, the trail traverses a bit right and you will see thge beginning of some flat area that are part of a pass. There are some slightly ill-defined forks in the trail in this area. Keep right and stick to the ridge that continues uphill. The route steepens for a short section (YDS class 2), then returns to easy walking. You will ´cross a false summit point with a flag, descend slightly and follow a delightful ridge the final ´(short) leg to the summit. The summit has a marker, stating name and elevation.
We had moved to our last hotel on this trip, Bangsring Breeze in the small community Bangsring directly across the strait between Bali and Java, ie. about as far east as possible on Java. Unfortunately, this implied a pretty long drive in order to access my planned trailhead for Argopuro. Thus, the plan was to leave after lunch and drive close to the trailhead, find a hotel for the night, then start early the next morning and hopefully complete the climb with reasonable time left in order to drive back to Bangsring in time for dinner.
A hotel with the desired location, Kampoeng Kita Hotel, only a few kilometer from the trailhead. I thought it would be nice to get accommodation also for my driver and reserved a Superior Suite for up to 3 people, the price was still quite reasonable. This done via Booking.com, normally quite a problem free way to reserve hotels. We left around 1400 and shortly thereafter this hotel started sending me messages that unless replied to, they would cancel the reservation. The number they asked to call did (naturally!) NOT answer any calls. Never mind, but a bigt annoying.
We arrived around 1900. After a bit of language trouble (zero English spoken), I got the room. A quite small room with 3 beds crammed in. I guess they set a new standard for "Superior Suite". I asked about dinner and a Bintang (Indonesian beer). More confusion followed. They produced a menu with 3-4 Indonesian descriptions, and I decided to play it safe ordering chicken and rice. They first insisted on serving this in the room. As there was no place to sit in the room, I requested a table somewhere else. Then the Bintang, it turned out that it could only be purchased in the bar. We were then off to find the bar. The bar had no tables and rather loud music. Paying cash in advance was needed to get the Bingtang, after more discussion it was agreed that it could be carried to a table in the hotel restaurant and consumed there. Returning to a room with a few tables (progress!) we sat down and after the use of some force, (no bottler opener), the beer was ready. After a while two plates each with a pretty ugly looking fish was served, one for my driver, one for me. Chicken? Well, they were out of chicken so the fish was served (at twice the price of the chicken) as a siubstitute. Fine, we had dinner, the rice was good, the fish was 90 percent bones, the Bintang was good as always. We went early to bed, the start next morning set to 4 AM.
Got up around 0340, and we were soon driving up the hills towards the trailhead. I directed the car until the road basically ended. Told him to be back at noon and the wait until I returned, regardless of how long that might be.
Starting at 0430, it was still pitch dark and stars on the sky. I had my good light and navigating this trail did not pose any problems. I made a brief stop at 0530, daylight was coming and the torch could be put away. I made the crater lake rim after 2 hours and decided to pay this lake a visit on my return hike. The trail now continued to the saddle, crossing a patch of recent fire on the way. Pieces of burnt wood were still producing fresh smoke, so not completely extinguished yet. I arrived at the trail fork by the dry creek around 0800 and continued directly uphill, arriving at the summit at 0915.
I had met 3 people descending about half way between the lake and the saddle, two more were at the summit. I left after a 15 minute break at 0930. Descending was easy, mostly a very good trail. I made a small detour to visit the crater lake, a walkway had been built all the way out into the water. There were many signs around, but all in Indonesian. I then continued down mostly following the track used by motor-bikes. Near the end of the steeper part, I was met by three motor-bikes all offering a ride down to the village. Ojek, Ojek, they suggested. I told them that this time I preferred to walk, so unfortunately, no business for the ojeks. I reached the trailhead and my car waiting at 1310, so 3:40 descending, including the visit to the crater lake.