Living in montaneous Switzerland we are used to difficult and long hikes but climbing the volcano Rinjani in Indonesia almost made me collapse of exhaustion. Not even hiking ten days to the Annapurna BS in Nepal came close to the fatigue I felt while ascending Rinjani . Mount Rinjani is so far my hardest climb!
2-4 days hiking to the summit of Mount Rinjani is something “everybody” does when backpacking in Indonesia. David and I were two of them. It was an one-time-but-never -again-experience because it’s not worth going up there twice…only if you a freak!
A freak because it’s was hard climbing the second highest volcano in Indonesia ( 3726 m)!
There are two different route for you to choose from to the reach the summit. Either you start from Senaru or Sembalun. I don’t really know what is the best but we did our 3 days 2 nights trek from Senaru. I can’t remember how much we paid or with what agency but the guides and the porters were all super friendly.
Day 1– 2000 m up
We started from the Senaru park entrance at 600 m and walked 2000 m up in one single day! At 2600 m where we spend our night we had a beautiful view of the lake and the two volcanoes. The summit felt so close but I didn’t know then how far it actually was.
The porters impressed us as they were walking up in flip-flop with ease.
The mini chef cooked us delicious meals!
It was time to sleep but some were still working…
Day 2 – 600 m down then 700 m up
The next morning we walked 600 m down for a swim at the lake and the hot spring. The hot spring was a bad idea because we totally relaxed and all we wanted to do was to lay down and sleep. But instead of sleeping we had to walk 700 m up to our second camp. We had a very short short sleep because at 2am it was time to wake up…
Waking up with the sun.
Hot spring and beers = bad bad idea for a trek.
Day 3 – 1000 m up and 2500 m down, the hardest day!
At 2am we were up on our feet again and this time our goal is to reach the summit of the volcano before the sunrise….1000 m up in 3hours! Have you ever tried to walk on sand…but upwards? It feels like you never advance no matter how much you try!
Some in my group gave up already by the tent. Some had the technique of walking slow but never stop. Some seems not to be walking at all. David and I just keep walking with minimal stops. In the dark you hardly see anything but people’s flashlights. I don’t remember what was my motivation for reaching the top. Perhaps I saw myself with a firmer beach body? Haha! I can’t remember but I made it! David, a guy from the group and I were the first one arriving within our group.
The sunrise was not very extraordinary and it was frozen up there. But the feeling after achieving something massive like this is priceless!
Now what? The day is not over! What, you thought a helicopter was picking us from the top?
The hardest part, the descending…2500 m! For some walking down is harder on their knees than walking up. unfortunately I am one of them! My legs were shaking all the way down and for each step I felt like my knees were popping. One girl in my group had the idea of walking down backwards! It didn’t work for me.
Another hard part was the path we were walking on was covered with dust. It made a cloud of dust all the way and it was hard to breath. But luckily it started to rain.
Eventually we made it back down to a village where a jeep was waiting to take us back to our accommodation.
I think I was the happiest girl in the world at that moment…
The sunrise at the 3726m. Not the best sunrise but the best feeling.
As you can see some were still walking up.
I hope I have not scared you with my post! The trek was hard but it has to be done because it’s really once in a life time experience! I know I said I wouldn’t do it again, but if I got the chance I would love to redo it!
Ps. Please give the guides and the gang a huge bonus at the end of hike.
Please tell me, what is your most difficult hike you have done so far?
The Zewandering frogs trekking in the Baliem Valley.
I found an amazing trek I wish to do one day! A trek in Baliem Valley in Papua! Get inspire by the Zewandering frogs and read their Guide to Baliem Valley Trekking: How to prepare your Papua trip.