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Published: November 16th 2017
Mount Rinjani - our Everest!
3726 m - we came, we saw, we conquered!
It's good to test your limits every now and again. This is where Mount Rinjani stepped in! After a relaxing week in Kuta Lombok and further beach days planned for Gili Trawangan, signing up for a 2 Day 1 Night hike seemed the logical thing to do!
Mt Rinjani, an active volcano on the island of Lombok, is the second highest in Indonesia standing at 3726m (beaten by Mount Kerinci at 3805m). With Mount Agung on Bali on red alert it was the obvious choice for us.
Day 1: We set off from the mountain village of Senaru in the back of a pick-up truck where we met the other members of our group for the hike. As we navigated the windy roads, we were tossed from side to side - getting a workout before the hike had even started! A few motion sickness tablets wouldn't have gone astray although given the sedative effects, we were probably better off without considering the two days of hiking that lay ahead of us!
Starting off fron Sembalum we felt energetic and ready to tackle the 9km hike towards the crater rim of Rinjani. We couldn't but admire the porters who
overtook us on the climb with a load of c. 25kg on their shoulders (and flip-flops on their feet). We carried little backpacks of maybe 5kg and were glad we weren't carrying any more weight!
The walk to Post 1 along the sprawling savanna of Rinjani was relatively easy. Unfortunately, the summit of Rinjani was covered in cloud so we couldn't see how high we had to go. At Post 1 our guide ominously handed out rain ponchos to the group. Initially we thought he was trying to lose some weight from his backpack but shortly into our hike to Post 2 the rain began to fall.
Our lunch break at Post 2 turned into a rain / downpour break as the heavens opened! It was so bad that some people in other groups decided to turn back! Not us though (despite Mau voicing her concerns)! Thankfully, the rain stopped and the sky brightened shortly into our hike to Post 3.
The steep incline to the crater rim began in earnest from Post 3. The cloud cover was so thick that we didn't know we were at the rim until we literally saw the ground flattening out!
We were disappointed that the picture perfect views that we had seen online were hidden by cloud cover. BUT luck was on our side and for a brief few moments at sunset the clouds cleared and we got our reward for continuing through the rain. Below us we saw the crater lake while above we got views to the summit (which probably wasn't a good thing)!!
The one disappointing thing that we have to acknowledge was the disgraceful amount of rubbish at the crater rim. Fot such a natural beauty it is a shame that the only contribution that humans make is to pollute it.
That night was very cold on the crater rim and drinking copious amounts of tea to stay warm isn't a good idea as Donal found out the hard way as he spent half the night up and down to our toilet tent - a hole in the ground with a tent around it! After retiring to the tent when it got dark (about 7pm), and with the alarms set for 1:45 am, it wasn't the best preparation for a sunrise summit hike!
Day 2: At 2:30 am we left the crater rim
and guided by the moonlight we slowly tackled the last 4km to the summit. It took us three hours to reach the top. The last hour was torturous. The gravel was so loose that for every 2 steps forward we made, we slided one step back! Mau led the way like a mountain goat and we were elated to reach the top in time for sunrise.
At the top it didn't take long for the body temperatures to plummet but all thoughts of the cold left as the sun rose in the horizon. Sunrise was simple epic as the sky began to brighten and the sun lit up the clouds that lay below us. Having not seen too much the previous day and having sumitted in darkness we could now really enjoy the views.
Runners aren't the best footwear for such a challenge. They were fine for the ascent but on the descent our backsides hit the ground a couple of times as we slid on the loose gravel!
After a 1.30am alarm call and a 3 hour summit hike, the 13km descent back to our starting point was gruelling. With a few kilometres to go, our
knees had started to give way and our toes were hurting. With one kilometre to go, the heavens opened. At 1.30pm we arrived back in Sembalum village. We climbed into the back of the pick-up truck (in the rain) for the hour long drive back to Senaru. For any sane person that would have been the end of the journey but we had planned to get as far as Gili T that evening. You can imagine how broke and wrecked we were by the time we reached our destination! Luckily the beach days in Gili T provided the perfect rehab!
Sunrise and the views from Rinjani's summit exceeded both of our expectations. Having been apprehensive about signing up in the first instance, we were delighted we pushed ourselves to complete the hike. It's an experience that we will never forget and hands down the most amazing and beautiful sunrise we've ever seen.
Tot: 3s; Tpl: 0.064s; cc: 11; qc: 50; dbt: 0.0445s; 2; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.4mb