Sarah and I were in Bali and had decided that we would like to climb Mt Rinjani, and active volcano on the next big island over, Lombok. We (possibly erroneously) determined that we needed to go with a guided tour and decided to use a company called Rinjani Fun Trekking. We like fun, and wanted to trek Rinjani so that seemed appropriate. They also reported that, unlike many companies, they carry their trash out with them.
Here’s how that went! (Pictures at the bottom!)
Day 0 – We woke up on Gili Trawangan, had a nice breakfast, got on a pony drawn cart, took a public ferry across to Lombok’s Bangsal harbor and there met up with the drivers sent to pick us up by Rinjani Fun. We drove through some very nice scenery to the town of Senaru where we were installed in our hotel for the night (not bad, not great), given a soft drink of our choosing, had a briefing on our trek and met our guide, Joe. Joe then took us to see the waterfalls just outside of town, one of which was pretty spectacular. This was a nice kindof “getting to know you” trek with the guide we would be with for the next 4 days.
Day 1 – 6:30 breakfast at our hotel. 7:00 departure via truck with our trekking team (1 guide, 3 porters and 1 porter in training). On our way out of Senaru we stopped at various places to pick up supplies for our trek. My favorite was our sitting mat, which was taken from under a small boy watching TV.
After all our supplies were loaded we continued on to Sembalun, where we registered for our trek, strapped on our shoes and set off. A couple hours later we stopped on a shaded bridge and sat down on our mat to await lunch. In the meantime we were given “Pocari Sweat” which one man had told us a few days ago was “for when Indonesdians sweat”. It’s basically Gatorade/Powerade without the dye and flavor. Then our food showed up, Nasi Campur! That’s basically rice with a fried egg, fried chicken, stir fried veggies, tempe and “prawn chips”. A feast, followed with freshly cut pineapple. Some of the other companies provided their clients with similarly well prepared food, but one large group across from us got plates of rice to share and instant noodles with some veggies in it.
That afternoon we walked into camp on the rim and were rewarded with nice views peeking through the clouds. Before bed we had a nice dinner and a briefing on the next day’s plan… The summit!
By the way, bed was in a large tent with two pretty cushy sleep pads, inflatable pillows and 3 season sleeping bags.
Day 2 – 2:00 (am) wake up call, 2:15 quick breakfast, 2:30 off to the summit. After 6 hours of uphill (1,100 meters vertical) the previous day and a few hours sleep we were setting off in the dark on tired legs to do another 1,100 meters pretty much straight up. This time in 3.5 hours in order to be on the summit for sunrise. It was grueling. The winds were cold, the scree-field that served as the trail for most of the way made every step a challenge and the air at 3000 meters was rather thin compared to the sea level environment we’d been living in for most of the last 5 months. The trail of headlamps behind us was impressive. The stars above were spectacular. At about 5:30 I started seeing the pre-sunrise color on the left side of the ridge, and the stars still vividly bright on the right. It was incredible.
Just 15 minutes from the top we rounded a corner and found shelter from the wind, Sarah was so relieved to be out of the wind and not slogging up through scree that I had a hard time convincing her to stumble up the last few meters.
At the top we sat down (finally!) on a nice outcropping and waited for sunrise. It was gorgeous. We then set about taking pictures of the view in various directions. From here we could see the whole island of Lombok, the Gili islands, Bali’s Mt Agung and a few other islands. I think it was worth it, though not everyone agreed at the time.
So we turned around and headed back down, at the rim we had second breakfast (oh yeah), a brief rest and then hiked 3 hours down (about 600 meters vertical) to the crater lake, where we soaked in hot springs, watched every local in the crater fish the lake (which is stocked by the government), had a nice dinner of *GET NAME FROM ADE* and went to sleep.
Day 3 – We had been told breakfast would be at 6:30 or 7:00 and we would leave at 8:30 or 9:00, so we were up at 6:30 and ready for breakfast, which came around 7:15. We still enacted our plan of going to the hotsprings after breakfast. It was nice to soak again and try to convince our legs we didn’t hate them.
After our soak we packed up and headed up to the other side of the crater rim. It was only a 2.5 hour hike, so we were there before noon and had the rest of the day to relax, enjoy the stunning views and rest up for the last leg of the journey. Due to our early arrival we got THE prime campsite with excellent views of the crater and (when clear) the summit. This meant we had several visitors throughout the afternoon.
It rained that afternoon, so we played cards in our tent, but before bed it cleared up and we got in some EXCELLENT stargazing. We’ve been enjoying seeing new constellations that we simply can’t see in the northern hemisphere, especially Crux, AKA The Southern Cross. Out over the ocean towards Bali there was a thunderstorm and I really enjoyed watching the clouds flash and glow.
Day 4 – Our lovely campsite was invaded around 6:00am by other trekkers hoping to see sunrise. That was fine, we sat on our mat and drank coffee and tea while they milled around us. By the time breakfast came we were completely surrounded. We waited a few minutes to eat and took some great pictures.
After breakfast we packed up and started down the mountain to Senaru, our endpoint. At about 11:30 we got to Position 1 where we had lunch, from there it was about an hour to the end of our trek, where we had a cold drink, changed out of our boots and hopped in the car to be taken to our next destination, Kuta Lombok.
The drive was really cool. We wound through hills and mountains covered in tropical rainforest and passed through little villages and the islands biggest city. It started raining as we passed through a section of jungle and the rain turned into a downpour as we got into a small town. The streets had perhaps a foot of water in them and many motorbikes pulled off to wait it out while others waded through hoping the water didn’t kill their bikes.
Eventually we made it through the storm and into clear skies. We passed rice being harvested, herds of water buffalo, and strange trees. Our driver delivered us to a hotel of our choosing and thus ended our trek!
It was an awesome 4 days. If you want to do what we did… http://www.rinjanifun.com/climb-rinjani-summit-4-days/