It was midnight when I woke up hearing the alarm-clock in my neighbor’s tent. My sleep was not good that night, it was quite noisy. many excited people have been preparing for the upcoming hike and talked until late. But somehow, I was excited, too.
In the evening it cleared up and I saw Rinjani peak with lots of beautiful stars in the sky. That night we stayed at on the southern mountain ridge below the Rinjani peak, Plawang Sembalun at about 2640 m. We, that was my guide Adi, the porter Hyan and myself. Besides us, about 150 other people stayed on the ridge, all the tents lined up like pearls on a neckless.
The day before we have started the climb at 7:00 am in Sembalun village. It was a beautiful day, blue sky from the early morning. The temperature had dropped about 10 degrees in this week and cold, clear air had entered the valley.
After having our breakfast at the homestay, we hiked about 8 km through savanna grassland. The trail leads from the south towards northeast side of Rinjani. It was hot and there was no shade. To optimize our weight, we carried limited water. In my backpack I carried my camping gear and camera equipment – which can be considered as the most heaviest stuff we brought up to the mountain and my clothes.
My guide carried a small backpack with his personal belongings. The porter carried the food, cooking equipment and a plastic plane for making the sleeping place for the guide and himself. That was how we set off and I was surprised to see that the porter was wearing only plastic sandals and carried all things in two cradles connected by a bamboo stick.
I reached Pos 3 at about 10:45. From here the way became steeper. Some time ago I already left my guide and the porter behind – thinking they might catchup while I take picture, which didn’t happen so far. I decided to wait for the guide and porter because I was running out of water and didn’t know where the next spring was. My guide arrived almost 2 hours later – but still no signal from the porter.
From a small hill near Pos 3 we got handphone contact. The guide called the porters village to inform them and soon we received the information that our porter was found with a leg problem. The village already had sent someone to support him and another porter.
At around 3:00 pm they reached Pos 3. Our porter insisted to continue the hike but not carrieng anything except his sleeping bag. Another porter accompanied us up until the ridge.
Meanwhile all hikers which I meet on the way, already knew our situation and have been waiting us on the top of the ridge.
After setting up the tent, my guide and porter immediately fell asleep – I just managed to provide them magnesium pills before they lay down.
Most other hikers go to Rinjani in groups and bring only small luggage. I was used to go hiking alone and normally don’t use porter. For Rinjani this is an requirement, otherwise you will not be allowed to enter the park. My original idea of being faster to have more time for taking pictures didn’t work out – but it was a great day anyhow.
It was 0:30 am when I started the hike to the summit of Mt. Rinjani. I left my guide and porter sleeping in their tent thinking they absolutely need the rest.
I passed the other tents on the ridge. Most of them already lighted – the porter served hot noodle soup and tea to the groups.
After passing the ridge, the trail became steeper for about 250 meters – then it continued up. It was dark, and the half-moon delighted my way. Not to cold, only a mild breeze was blowing.
I was the only person on the trail at this early hour. The view was amazing with uncountable stars above me. What a experience walking up the mountain in this beautiful night!
I reached the top at 4:00 am. The headlights of the other hikers formed a long line from the ridge towards the peak. Like a glowing worm it slowly moved upwards.
The peak itself is only several meters square. It falls off steep towards the crater. Absolutely stunning view! No further comments – see the pictures!
After sunrise I went back to the ridge. Porter Hyan and Guife Adi already up and feeling much better. The leg recovered – sleep and magnesium helped.
After having fried egg, rice and pineapple for breakfast, we descended towards the crater lake. It is a beautiful walk done there. Near the lake many people camp for one or two nights. There are plenty of fish in the lake which are welcome for dinner.
A short walk down from the lake following a small stream will lead you to hot spring area. At two places hot water coming from the mountain. We lay down in the stream and enjoy the relaxing heat. SUPERGOOD!!
The night was clear and we spend the time watching the milky way and the crater lake with a small growing volcano inside. I staid only one night and would recommend to stay at least two nights at this beautiful place.
Next morning we walked near the lake towards east and then up the ridge. From this side the view on Rinjani and the lake below is stunning!
After passing the ridge, the way lead down, down and down until Senaru village. This was the end of the beautiful hike and next day I took the speedboat from Lombok to Bali.
Sembalun village 7:00 am 1.160m
Plawang Sembalun (Ridge) 4:30 pm 2.640m
Start summit hike Plawang Sembalun 0:50 am 2.640m
Summit Mt. Rinjani 3:50 am 3.726m
Plawang ridge (arrive) 8:45 am 2.640m
Plawang ridge (leave) 10:15 am 2.640m Crater lake campside 12:30 am 2.045m
Start Crater lake campside 8:50 am 2.045m
Plawangan Senaru Crater rim 11:00 am 2.640m
Senaru village 3:00 pm 600m