Mount Rinjani – 3726 m

I saw it coming

It all started in Ubud almost four years ago. I was about to go back to my rice field bungalow when I ran into a couple of beers and a german with an idea to climb Gunung Agung that same night. 10 hours later we were watching the sun rise from the top of Bali, and that was the first time I saw Rinjani. Living and traveling in Indonesia for almost two years now, I’ve been watching the 3726 meter high volcano from different surf spots in Lombok and West Sumbawa. I’ve been wanting to climb it for a long time, and now the timing was finally right. My brother and I set out on a 3 days and 2 nights trip to the top of Lombok.

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I took this picture from the top of Gunung Agung in Bali in June 2013. Rinjani revealed itself on the horizon. That was the first time I saw it.
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This is Rinjani seen from the neighbor island to the east, Sumbawa. This was our breakfast view on a Easter surf mission in 2016.
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I don’t know how many times I’ve surfed Gerupuk Inside, but Rinjani usually shows up for the morning session.

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Rinjani seen from a morning drone flight in Ekas Bay.

16 beng-beng

I generally don’t walk too much in Jakarta, so as a preparation I went to Singapore to walk around the city for two days. A week later, on my way to Lombok, I realized I forgot to put a memory card in the camera. Luckily I found out in time and was able to pick one up by the side of the road on our way to the mountain. We stopped on a gas station to pick up 8 beng-beng, I bought 8 more during the hike. I didn’t even consider the possibility of rain, and I packed accordingly. Luckily I had a raincoat to wrap around my camera gear when the rain started pouring down. Everything got soaked. Thanks to the porters for packing our tents and sleeping bags in plastic. Good shoes is a huge advantage. You don’t really need the most hardcore hiking shoes, but they need to fit you well. I used my old Nike sneakers. My point is you can finish this trip without preparing too much, but you will enjoy it much more if you do.

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Breakfast view from the hotel on the first day.
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When we stopped to fuel up, these locals took advantage of the situation and practiced English with us. We got just passed “Hello mister” before we had to go.
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This is a picture of a map that shows the hike we did. We started in Sembalun and ended up in Senaru.
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After 1 km the first person in our group had already puked. The porters were just warming up.
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On the first day there were plenty of chances to buy beng beng (a chocolate) and drinks.
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First break, first nap. Waiting for lunch to be served.
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Roni was our guide.
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We made it to the crater rim and the camp site (2600m).
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Between stars and stones

The second day started at 2600 m. At 2:20 we started our ascent to the top. It took my brother 2 hours to reach the summit, he was the first one up there. I showed up 40 minutes later, still plenty of time to freeze my ass off before sunrise. These 1100 meters of elevation before breakfast is mostly a mental challenge. It feels like you’re walking up an endless hill of sand, and the only thing you see is all of the universe above you. You just have to keep going up until there’s no “up” left. The view from the top was great!

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They told us to wake up at 1:30 to get ready. At 2:00 I had to wake the guides up. At 2:20 we ditch the camp and started walking. This picture is just to give you an idea of what we were looking at on our way up.
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Lars was comfortable in his sleeping bag on the top of Rinjani. Most people were turning blue.
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I brought all my camera gear on this trip. This was one of the few pictures I took using the tripod. Photography is a heavy hobby.
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Proof.
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Proof.
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Selfie brothers.
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We weren’t alone.
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The famous Gili Islands seen from the top of Rinjani.
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The camp site seen from the top of Rinjani.
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The top of Rinjani.
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Me in front of the active volcano inside the crater.
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The clouds rolled in over the edge of the crater.
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Another shot of the camp site.

Sandals and sticks

This was probably the hardest non-army thing I’ve done. According to my phone we walked 54 km over the three days. It was extremely steep. We started at 1156m, camped at 2600m, summited the top at 3726m, went down to the lake at about 2000m, spent the last night up at 2600m, and ended the trip at 600m. The most painful part was watching the flipflop-wearing porters running by us with all the equipment tied to a stick on their shoulders.

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After the summit we went back down to the camp for breakfast, then we started the descent down to the crater lake.
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It was steep. And beautiful!
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We thought about swimming in the lake…
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But went for these hot springs instead. Easily the highlight of the trip! (The air is pretty cold up there, and the water was perfect +)
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On our way up from the lake it started pouring. This picture was taken the last time I had a dry outfit.
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Sunset from our camp on the second night. After the heavy rain.
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The last day was all down hill. Steep an far. The porters came running past me, wearing flipflops and carrying our camp on these sticks.
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Roni on the way down through a magical monkey forest.
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Another porter ran past me, by this time I had started limping.
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We had our last meal just a couple of hundred meters from the pickup point. The food was generally very good the whole trip.

For information about different options for hiking Rinjani, check this page: http://www.hikingrinjani.com/. If you have any questions you can always ask me…

I’m planning some more hikes the next few months. First planned trip is Gunung Gede. Tambora and Semeru are high on my list as well.  If anybody wants to share some experiences about hiking Kerinci, I would be very happy.

Ronny

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