Indonesia / Climbing Rinjani: Day Three

Our final day on the mountain

Day Three – We woke early, to views of Gunung Barujari from our tent. After breakfast (and planting a tree) we headed for the crater rim, stopping by the lake to stare in disbelief at just how far we’d come from the summit.rinjanithree1rinjanithree2rinjanithree3rinjanithree4rinjanithree5A beautiful morning as we began our climb to the crater rim.rinjanithree6rinjanithree7rinjanithree8So much respect for these guys, who carry equipment and supplies up the mountain, down steep tracks, set up camp every night and walk over 35km, some barefoot, some more than once a week. They leave their families for days on end, and this is their job, every week of the year. rinjanithree9rinjanithree10rinjanithree11rinjanithree12This was our final view of the crater before we headed down the mountain to Sembalun. rinjanithree13rinjanithree14rinjanithree15rinjanithree16rinjanithree17rinjanithree18rinjanithree19After two hours of downhill, and an unexpected storm – aka tracks-turned-waterfalls – we made it back to base, soaked and happy.

All I can say is, the hike was damn hard but really worth it!

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Indonesia / Climbing Rinjani: Day Two

What goes up…

Day two – We woke at 2.30am to make it to the summit for sunrise, so by the time we reached the top we were exhausted and happy. We were rewarded with the most incredible views.

Little did we know what was ahead of us.

The climb down began by navigating our way down the steep track of loose stones, making good use of BOTH hiking poles. We met some monkeys – living at crazy altitudes – and stopped to take in the views along the way, constantly changing with the light as the sun rose higher in the sky. rinjanitwo3rinjanitwo4rinjanitwo5rinjanitwo2rinjanitwo6rinjanitwo7rinjanitwo8rinjanitwo9rinjanitwo10rinjanitwo11Those were the last photos I took before putting my camera in my backpack to protect it. Parts of the track were steep, with large boulders and sheer drops.

Eventually, the track flattened out as we hiked through the forest and open fields headed for camp.rinjanitwo12rinjanitwo13rinjanitwo14We arrived at camp late afternoon, our tent already set up for our second night under the stars, and just in time to soak our weary bodies in the nearby hot springs before sunset, then it was back to our tent for dinner and an early sleep.rinjanitwo15rinjanitwo16rinjanitwo17rinjanitwo18rinjanitwo19rinjanitwo20rinjanitwo21Read more – Indonesia / Climbing Rinjani: Day Three

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Indonesia / Climbing Rinjani: Day One

Two years ago, I climbed my first mountain, Mount Bisoke in Rwanda. A 3711m volcano, and home of the Mountain Gorilla. It was one of the most incredible and challenging things I’ve ever done.

Until Rinjani.

That day on Bisoke ignited something in me, and I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since. It’s addictive, standing on top of a mountain, high above the clouds. Knowing that your body (and mind), got you there. Every feeling is magnified and your mind is clear.rinjanione2Gunung Rinjani is an active volcano on the island of Lombok. It’s the second highest volcano in Indonesia (3726m), with a 190m deep crater lake, Segara Anak (Child of The Sea), named after its ocean-blue colour.rinjanione3

The Hike

Day one – We began our climb in the cool hours of the morning, hiking across the foothills. It didn’t take long for the sun to heat things up. For the next few hours, we walked, mostly in full sun, with an occasional break from passing clouds.rinjanione4rinjanione5rinjanione6rinjanione7rinjanione8rinjanione9rinjanione10rinjanione11rinjanione12rinjanione13We chose to climb with Green Rinjani as our guides, based on their environmental, low-impact focus. Green Rinjani is one of only a few companies that bring their rubbish back off the mountain – which is pretty sad really. The amount of rubbish along the trail and at the campsites is horrible. With an estimated 90,000 visitors per year, you can imagine just how bad it gets. Another company worth checking out is Rudy Trekker – I’ve heard good things.

The hike got harder after lunch, as we moved up the steep mountainside into the forest. The temperature dropped off, and there was no end to the uphill climb in sight. Just as we reached the peak, and what we thought was the end, the mountain stretched further up into the clouds.

When we did finally reach Base Camp though, it was all worth it.rinjanione14rinjanione15rinjanione16rinjanione17rinjanione18

The Summit

Day two – We woke around 2.30am to begin the summit climb.

I had read a few blogs on the climb. I had read stories of the narrow ridge – with sheer drops on either side – pitch blackness and crazy winds. Millions of stars in view, we set off in the 3am darkness. The sight of climbers and their head torches, silhouetted by the moon and trailing along the ridge to the summit, was out of this world. My fears were quickly replaced with wonder.rinjanione19The photo below sums up the next few hours…rinjanione20About halfway up, our guide disappeared, lost in the groups of people huddled along the trail – smoking, sleeping (yes, sleeping) and sitting around small fires to keep warm.

We eventually gave up looking for him, but we’d already lost time. We didn’t make it to the summit for sunrise, just before, but the views were pretty incredible from where we were.rinjanione21rinjanione22rinjanione23rinjanione24The deep, loose stones and dirt made the final summit push hard. Everything I’d read was pretty accurate – one step forward, two steps back. One guy was playing Feels Like We Only Go Backwards by Tame Impala from his phone. It was perfect. For the next half an hour, we just focused on our feet, stopping to take in the views. rinjanione25rinjanione26rinjanione27The hard work paid off.rinjanione28rinjanione29rinjanione30rinjanione31rinjanione32rinjanione33rinjanione34rinjanione35rinjanione1rinjanione36

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