I have to admit, I had no idea what I’m up to when I decided to book the trek. I was sitting at the beach on Gili Air. In front of me Lombok and the second highest active volcano in Indonesia, Mount Rinjani. Climbing this volcano was one of the most difficult treks I’ve been on. Mt. Rinjani tests your physical as well as your mental strength during three days of ascending and descending.
On the first day, we met our guide and got a ride to Sembalun to register at Rinjani Information Center.
We then got a brief description of the route and started to walk through open grassland, which was quite easy. After about 4 hours on 1800 m the path became steeper and steeper and after another 3 hours of climbing, we reached the first base camp which was located on the crater rim (2.639 m).
Rewarded with a stunning sunset and a great dinner we decided to go to bed early.
Waking up at 2 am the other day to climb the summit (3.726 m) was not as hard as expected. But the three-hours climb (in the dark with a tiny light) to the summit was challenging. The fact that we were climbing on volcanic ashes made us feel like climbing up a sand dune. Overall though, as difficult as it may be, my group and I did reach the top considerably early when it was still dark. We enjoyed the proud feelings of satisfaction, the breathtaking sunrise views and eventually we got to see the volcano, Lombok and even Mt. Agung in Bali. All the pain went away for a moment there.
Once the amazing colours faded away we returned down the ridge to the crater rim camp for a well-deserved breakfast. The second day was all about up and down and up and down. So we proceeded to go down to the crater lake, which we’ve been seeing from the summit. The steep trail to the lake takes two to three hours. Full with joy we jumped into the cold water and took a swim before heading towards the Hot Springs, our own natural spa.
It was after the lunch break when I suddenly felt very sick. I couldn’t eat anything although I knew I would need the energy for the next two and half hours climb up to 2.461 m again. I still don’t know what happened to me but all in once I felt extremely sick and lightheaded. In the morning everything was alright but it seemed to be just too much for my body. Maybe it was also because I’ve been scuba diving two days before climbing Mt. Rinjani, which unquestionably is not a good idea.
However, I survived the next part, thanks to my amazing group members and our guide who’d helped and supported me a lot. As soon as we arrived at the camp site I went straight in my tent, shivering and having a temperature. After taking some pills I slept the whole evening and night and was more than happy as I woke up the next day, as fit and active as on day one.
The last day was just descending down the long trail through thick tropical forests rich in flora and wildlife. The scenery was amazing but I felt like our guide really wanted to be home soon so we almost ran down the mountain. I tried but did not stand a chance to keep up with the guys but instead took it easy and enjoyed the nature.
After seven hours walk from the rim, the trek suddenly ended. I signed out and just realized what I did. But all I wanted was an ice cold sprite.
One thing left to say.. all this was just possible because of our amazing porters who would carry all our camping gear and food up the mountain. Each of them carries around 30 kilos up to 3726-meter! They’re mostly dressed in little more than flip-flips, shorts and T-Shirts. Some even walk barefoot.