Slowly I go on fluttering. Two steps forward, one step backward, always sinking into the thick layer of volcano ash. My legs and hips are hurting. A vague feeling of sickness comes into me. On my left and my right side people have to give up because of altitude sickness. I don’t wanna give up, but the pain becomes harder and harder. Now I am twohundred meters away from the top of Mount Rinjani. So close but also so far away…
Today you can find my unforgettable experience about the climb to an altitude of 3726 meters at the top of Mount Rinjani, Lombok, and I’ll offer some tips you can use in order to prepare for this adventurous trip.
The day before the Rinjani Trekking
Our driver is already waiting when my son Bas en I appear in the lobby of our hotel Kebun Villa’s. It’s about 14 p.m. and the day before our trekking. After a ride of two hours – which takes us through several bays and rice fields – we arrive in Senaru, a village at an altitude of 800 meters and starting point of the climb to Mount Rinjani. In this village we’ll spend the night in Sinar Rinjani Cottage, a simple accomodation with a beautiful mountainview. This area is very green and rice cultivation is an important livelihood. Here we are welcomed by Dawell of Dawell Trekking and from him we receive a briefing of the three days trip.
In the evening time we cross the village by walking. It’s very dark outside and we use our flashlight for some shine up. The echo of the evening prayer is coming out of the speakers. Except some locals sitting in front of their shops nothing is happening here. We decide to sleep early in order to make a fresh start next day.
The first day of our Rinjani Trekking
Our alarm clock rings at 6 a.m. and we have our breakfast before leaving. I had a bad sleep, especially because of excitement. Mr. Dawell told us in his briefing that we’ll pass through some abysses on our route. He assures us to walk in the footsteps of our guide. Although I am aware of this issue it was in my mind all night, more than I expected. Actually I suffer from fear of heights. Okay, we consume our pancakes and then we meet our guide Surya. The meaning of his name is Sun.
The Trekking till Pos 3
At 7.30 a.m. our carriers come and take us in their small pick-up. Bas, our guide and the carriers jump into the back of the platform. My place is in the front next to the driver. Through a winding road we are driving within one hour to the village Sembalun at an altitude of 1100 meters. We are registered in the Rinjani Information Center and will start our trekking a few hundred meters further. Temperature is already high in the early morning. Bas took his JBL loudspeaker and it plays the song ‘I would walk 500 miles’, which is stimulating not just ours but also other walkers’ mood. Our guide Surya appreciates this music too.
We are walking in a hilly area and watch the top of Mount Rinjani far away. Bas and Surya’s speed is high. I am following steadily. After two hours of walking from hill to hill we arrive at Pos 1. There we eat a muesli bar and take a drink. In order to avoid cooling down I don’t want to have a long break and continue to Pos 2. This track should take about one hour in a comparable area. The dry grass looks yellowish and is that high that Bas is almost vanishing in it.
After our arrival at Pos 2 we take another short break en continue our way to Pos 3. The hills are getting more steep and we feel quite dusty now. The air is bone dry and when other people are passing sand is sputtering up. After one more hour we arrive at Pos 3. Here we take place under one of the small shelters and lie down smoothly. In the meantime our guide and his carriers prepare a lovely Rinjani lunch for us consisting of rice, chicken, eggs and fruits. On our way we receive energy bars and cookies for enough power in our bodies. In short, nothing to complain for us.
The trekking from Pos 3 to the crater rim
After one hour of break we are recovered and depart in the direction of the crater rim. This is the most heavy part of this day and from here we don’t speak about walking anymore, but about climbing and scrambling, from one hill to the other one. Now we are situated in wooded area and the more we rise the more we arrive into the clouds and this makes the temperature much lower.
Slowly I go on scrambling and arrive at 15.30 p.m. at the crater rim, where Bas is already waiting for me during one hour. Bas goes very fast and his way of walking is very flexible, it’s really outside of my power, but it’s not a problem at all. I don’t feel any burden or pain and do feel okay. After arrival uphill our guide puts a plaid on the floor. As soon as we settle down we notice our own dirtyness. Our legs, arms and face full of dust. With a baby wipe we try to get rid of the worst dirt.
In the meantime our tent is getting pitched en food prepared. It tastes delicious. It’s getting colder and colder, time to put warm clothes. Slowly the clouds are vanishing and we receive a great sunsetview on the lake.
The overnight stay at the crater rim
At about 19.30 p.m. we are so cold and get into our tent, in which a mattress, pillow and sleepingbag are waiting for us. Our thermal clothing and emergency blanket are protecting us during the whole night against any coldness. But we need to leave our tent sometimes for toilet visit. Our toilet consists of a dug pit in the middle of another tent. The air is clear and thousands of stars banter in heaven. Everybody is sleeping and except some snoring of a person in another tent silence is complete.
Day 2: first part
The climb to the top of Mount Rinjani
At 2 a.m. we are awaked with a breakfast of a kind of sugar bread and a cup of tea. After this – and after putting our head lamps – we start our climb at about 2.30 a.m. In order to reach the top we need to climb three hills. These are very heavy, much more than the day before. Fortunately I don’t feel any muscle pain, this would make everything much harder.
Pain and nausea
Bas is rising like a rocket ship but is slowed down by waiting for me. I am getting a bit sick too, but fortunately this doesn’t continue. Even Bas is getting problems after one hour: his kidney. Before I told you that because of his kidneyproblem Bas was in a hospital in Australia. A medical examination showed that his ureter is narrowed and as soon as he’ll be back in Holland he will be operated. Till that time he needs to take care not to drink more than 1,5 liter per 24 hours.
This is quite hard when you do an effort like climbing a mountain, he notices. I am asking Bas if he wants to stop this, but because we almost smell the top he badly wishes to reach that top. After this he wants to cancel our two days trekking to the lake and the fountains. We discuss this issue together and decide to return after reaching the top. It’s a pity, but his health absolutely prevails.
No sunrise for us at the top
Because of taking a long break we don’t manage to reach the top before sunrise. Step by step we continue our way, Bas still faster than me. This is so very hard, especially the part of thick volcano ash. This makes two steps forward and one step backward…
We are passing a young guy, who also walks this trekking together with his mother. They are very good walkers, by the way. This boy is sitting in the lava ash and tells that he is not able to put one more step because of vomitting: nausea. He is just a few steps away from the top. This is a hard thing to him.
The top of Mount Rinjani: YES, we did it !
Finally I scramble out of the ash and am expecting to reach the top, but in reality I need to continue climbing between two rocks. My complete body is so very stiff now, every part of it hurts, but alltogether I manage to scramble uphill again. And then I am standing on the top of Mount Rinjani, where Bas is already waiting for me. This is so special to enjoy the phenomenal view together. Sun is shining brightly on the volcano and the lake is even turquoise.
Day 2: second part
After being on top of Mount Rinjani during fourty minutes we decide to descend to the basecamp and after to our starting point. This means that we have to go the same way back, but downwards. A trip of one more eight hours to go, outside of the hours we need to walk to the basecamp at the crater rim.
I descend in a skating way and then I fall down. My hips are hurting and my legs are stifff. With effort I hoist myself up by means of my walking sticks. In the meantime I walk like a penguin. It sounds weird, in my mind I feel like a girl of twenty, but I also realize at this moment that my body isn’t that young anymore and I am older than fifty indeed.
This also means that I cannot continue these kind of trekkings till eternity and I am grateful about this possibility now. Especially together with Bas this is an unforgettable experience. I go on fluttering and shuffle at the crater rim with deep abysses, which I didn’t see on my way uphill in the dark.
Arrival basecamp at the crater rim
At 11.30 a.m. we finally arrive in the basecamp, which still is deserted now. Our tent and our guide’s one are still there, but that’s it. I feel bad and am in the middle of a double struggle. Ten years ago I ran the Berlin and Amsterdam Marathon, was running almost daily and super trained. Even though I didn’t run record times I arrived in the middle of the crowd of runners. In those years my plan was to stop running as soon as I would be the last runner arriving. Did this moment start now? I boost myself with words like ‘I am still just doing it’ and ‘I don’t need to be the best girl in class anymore’. Too many people even are not able to run or climb anymore at all.
Another thing, I am really astonished about the big garbage here. It’s not the first place on earth I watch people dumping so much garbage. There is a long way to go solving this worldwide problem. Fortunately our garbage is cleaned up.
In the meantime we are sitting on a plaid on the floor and our lunch is delivered. I don’t feel hungry but I cannot refuse because our guide is doing his best for us so much. And Bas wants me to eat for new energy in my body to start our way back. He is right.
The tour downwards
Yesterday our main activity was climbing and scrambling. Now we need to do the opposite and descend the same way. This goes slowly and I am getting passed by carriers walking on flip flops. My low speed is not a pleasure to Bas, but I cannot manage to speed up. Most of you wouldn’t mind to descend, but to me this is real horror. It’s so steep and one moment I really slip and fall down in horizontal position. This results into a bruise on my bottom and a scratch on my leg. Bas, who has startled, decides to take my bagpack and we continue to descend together for hours. On our way we receive a big lunch.
At about 17 p.m. we finally arrive in the village after fifteen hours of walking. In the evening time we are taken back by taxi to Kebun’s villa, where Sylvester is waiting for us and has arranged a lovely massage.
The climb of Mount Rinjani at Lombok: an unforgettable experience
During our trekking Bas has filmed everything. I assembled this film and it was my first time doing this. So…
Tips for climbing Mount Rinjani
In the first instance we had packed our big backpack, which Bas had used during his one-year journey through Australia. This seemed to be too heavy, so last minute we changed this into our daypack. And finally we didn’t take many things too. Try to take as less as possible, because you have to carry your own luggage. Tents, foods and drinks will be taken by the carriers.
Dress yourself warm on the way to the top of Mount Rinjani. You will feel too cold otherwise. We wore three layers of clothes and the first layer was our thermo shirt and legging. The second one was a long sleeve shirt with a windbreaker as a third layer over it. I was wearing a runners’ legging because I can easily move in this.
The first day and the second part of our second day we were wearing short pants and a shirt. During the night we were wearing our thermo underwear. Because we became cold during our sleep we put the emergency blankets on our sleeping bags.
Because you depart at 2.00 a.m. in the night to the top op Mount Rinjani it is important to take a head lamp.
Both of us took a daypack with the next articles:
– toilet supplies
– toilet paper
– painkillers (paracetamol)
– blister plasters
– Cap / bandana
– small towel
– head lamp
– two / three T-shirts
– short and long pants (runner’s legging)
– thermo underwear
– woolen cap
– mountain shoes
– windproof jacket
– two / three pairs of walking socks
– walking sticks
– poncho (rain)
– energy bars (we didn’t use ours because we received them)
– emergency blanket
– tips voor guide and carriers : 50.000 Indonesian Roepia’s per day per carrier,
75.000 per day for the guide.
Where can you book the Mount Rinjani trekking and how much does is cost?
We booked this trekking at Dawell Trekking. This was not a cheap one but with very good care. We payed US$ 630,00 for the two of us. Included was:
– camping equipment
– certified mountain guide
– foods and drinks (three meals a day and snacks in between)
– transfers to and from your accomodation
– 1 overnight stay in a simple accomodation in Senaru
– entrance money National Park
To me Dawell Trekking is a good organisation because they take care of your desires. I could determine my own speed and that is an important thing. They did very good cooking for us, we received enough fruits and in betweens like energy bars and chocolate cookies. Enough drinks also, like water, energy- and fizzy drinks. Garbage was cleaned up and not left behind in nature. In addition at the end of our trekking we were taken back by a taxi to the accomodation we had chosen en we didn’t need to stay one more day in Senaru.
Even though the climb to the top of Mount Rinjani was very hard it is an amazing experience we’ll never forget. Unfortunately we were not able to finish the three days trip, but I hope you will be able to manage.
Note: deze blog is oorspronkelijk uit het Nederlands vertaald. Omdat Dawel deze blog graag op zijn website wil hebben, is hij vertaald naar het Engels. Nadat ik deze beklimming heb gemaakt kwam er een aardbeving op Lombok. Dawel heeft zijn huis verloren en moet opnieuw alles opbouwen. Ik hoop dat mijn review hem een beetje helpt en dat er weer toeristen naar Lombok gaan. Dit is geen gesponsorde blog en heb alleen mijn ervaring gedeeld.