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.
I don’t know how many times I’ve surfed Gerupuk Inside, but Rinjani usually shows up for the morning session.
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 at 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.
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!
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.
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…