Lombok’s Mount Rinjani: Only for the truly adventurous

View of Mount Rinjani taken from the crater rim.

Mount Rinjani is an active volcano and one of the highest peaks in Indonesia, located on the beautiful island of Lombok.

If you use a reliable travel agent, he will make all the arrangements and supply the guides, porters, camping equipment and food you’ll need on your trip. More importantly, the guides and porters will take you safely to the summit and back.

The trek to Mount Rinjani will take three days and you will have to spend two nights camping at sites around 2,600 metres on the crater rim.

This area provides magnificent views of Mount Rinjani (3,726 metres) and, far below, of the huge crater lake known as Segara Anak Lake.

Rising out of the lake waters will be the smouldering cone of the volcano itself emitting a constant cloud of grey steam and ash and, from time to time, an angry rumble or two.

Day 1. You will enter the Gunung Rinjani National Park via the Rinjani Trek Centre near the village of Senaru, about two hours’ drive from the main tourist area of Senggigi Beach.

You will then hike uphill for about five hours through a rainforest before emerging above the tree line (and above the clouds) for another two hours’ walk across grassy terrain.

Arriving on the lip of the crater, you will have a chance to relax and enjoy the fantastic view of Rinjani while the porters set up camp and prepare dinner.

Porters start to erect tents before light fades.

Day 2. Be prepared for a day of ups and downs. Descend the steep slope from the crater rim down to the lake. Be careful as there is a story of how an Italian tourist had fallen to her death on this very stretch.

At the lakeside, if you’re feeling brave enough, take a dip in the icily cool and clear water followed by a soak in some hot spring pools nearby.

After lunch is the climb to the second campsite on the crater rim at a location closer to the base of Mount Rinjani.

The route is steep and tiring. Another early night to prepare for the final push to the summit.

Day 3. Up at 2:30am and wrapped in your warmest clothes, you will be strapped with headlamps to begin your climb up Rinjani.

Best to be prepared for strong winds, and the bitter cold and damp as you rise into the clouds.

The final 1,000 metres is basically a huge steep-sided pile of volcanic ash meaning that for every step forward, you will slip back a half-step. As you can already guess, this is completely exhausting and will likely be the hardest thing you have ever done physically.

You will reach the summit around dawn but if the clouds are thick, we won’t be able to see anything, and given the piercing wind and cold, you’ll be rather eager to turn around and head back to camp.

Coming down will be fast, very fast. You will very likely slip and slide your way down, falling over a number of times. In some steep stretches, it is almost impossible to stop.

You will reach camp in time for breakfast, after which you will pack and begin the long seven-hour trek back to civilisation via the Sembalan Lawang exit.

The clouds clearing on the way down.

A word about the porters. A party of six hikers will be looked after by two guides and five porters who will carry all the camping and cooking equipment as well as food in baskets hanging from stout bamboo poles.

The porters wear flip flops on their feet as they gallop up and down the mountains. Their stamina and agility is impressive and their cooking skills, good too considering they can whip-up delicacies like gado-gado, banana pancakes, fried rice and noodles.

Please tip them well.

This article first appeared on thriftytraveller.wordpress.com