The peak of Rinjani stands at 3726m. Summit climb begins at 2.30am from Sembalun rim, and is definitely not an easy climb, requiring copious amounts of mental fortitude and grit. The ascent is approximately 1100m. It begins with soft, loose soil and later evens out onto a ridge of sorts. Subsequently it steepens into a terrain of soft volcanic ash and scree in an extremely nasty gradient (~30-45 degrees) all the way up to the peak.
Most trekking companies will have you leave your large bags in the Sembalun campsite and bring up only what you need in a smaller pack.
Should you attempt to summit? Definitely. The view from the top is worth every step, and even if you can’t make it all the way up, the view from the route up is almost as breathtaking – you get a view of the crater lake and small volcano(Mt Barujari) which you can’t see from the campsite.
Day 1 is the trek from Sembalun
village at about 7+am after registering at the trekking centre. Mostly savannah, so not much shade – sunblock and lots of water absolutely necessary here. It’s still a walk in the park at this point, quite pleasant if not for the sun/heat. It got intense after lunch when we started up the never-ending “7 hills”, and the terrain isn’t kind – quite often it’s dust/gravel on steep, hard ground, so only the best hiking shoes/being on all fours will keep you from faceplanting. We made it to our camp at Sembalun crater rim at about 4+pm. Nice viewsall round, but being right on the ridge meant it was very windy and got cold quickly after the sun set.
Day 2 (part 1): We started on the summit climb at 2am in the morning. Head lamps are dead useful here. So is windproof outerwear, and warm layers. The first part is quite challenging as it’s dark and it’s treacherously steep at some points; the ground is also quite slippery. I think there was about an hour plus of this. Then comes the middle part, which was a relief as this is the more level part of the ridge and the terrain’s much better too. Sadly this was over too soon as we reached the third section – the steep gravelly “one step up two steps back” part that anyone who’s climbed an active volcano would be familiar with. This was interminable. It did not help that the wind was very strong, to the point that I had to prod my hiking stick sideways into the ground for support. It was also bleeding cold – I had on a windproof jacket, a warm hoodie, a turtleneck long-sleeved fleece, a buff, gloves, tights, windproof hiking pants, and two pairs of socks – I was still cold under all that. My nose was dripping and my eyes were tearing from the wind. But anyways, stiff upper lip (fig. but also lit.), kept at it, lots of people on their way down giving us encouragement, made it to the top much after sunrise, but the fantastic views and complete feeling of accomplishment are worth it. also, one plus point of being so slow was that we pretty much had the summit to ourselves for lots of camwhoring. The way down was skiing down the gravel plus some bum-sliding. Got a bit dusty/choky going down – we were lucky to not experience the dust while going up, as it had rained an hour or so before we started the summit climb.
Day 2 (part 2): We got back to the camp at about 9+am, then had to get going after an hour to descend the crater rim. For those doing the 2D1N climb, they headed back the way they came, to return to Sembalun. For us, we were headed to the crater lake, jumping and clambering down some steep rocks and crumbly stairs – god knows who put those in – this took about 1.5h I think. Hell on the knees. Then the next 1.5h or so were a mix of steep, all-fours clambering with flatter walks. Quite tough considering that we’d been up since 2am to climb. It also started to get quite warm. Lunch at the crater lake, popped by the nearest hot springs for a bit (quite underwhelming), then went a ways round the lake to reach the point to start our ascent to Senaru crater rim. This was terribly exhausting – 3+hours of mostly steep climbing, definitely had to haul ourselves up over the rocks using our hands and legs at many points. However, theview backwards of the crater lake and baby volcano was absolutely stunning. Got to Senaru crater rim at 7pm, shortly after sunset. Not as cold as Sembalun crater rim, as the tents are not pitched right on the ridge, so not directly exposed to the wind.
Day 3: The descent to Senaru – I found my hiking stick extremely useful but my friends felt that their sticks got in the way. We started at about 7am, hopping down some rocks. This was relatively fun. After about 45min of this, we got to the horrid steep and slippery section, where lots of sliding and falling happened and I elected to slide down on my bum. Really awful. This was for about 1+h, I think. We then reached the forested section – somewhat better here as there are tree roots to form natural steps and it’s shaded, but there are still some steep slippery parts and some very large “steps” that are also hell on knees, plus many curious bees buzzing around. The forest descent goes on for very long – perhaps 4-5hours. Adding in 1h for lunch, we got to the pick-up point at about 1.30, 2pm. Bruised toes all round, despite our broken-in shoes. You’ve been warned!
Tips from we are:
1. Beware of sharing travel package deals
2. Do not climb in the dry season, many forest fires
3. Bring trekking poles or other stick, very helpful in the field of derivatives.
4. The success when it comes to the peak and up again to the “land” is not a success in conquering the mountain, but the success we conquer ourselves.
5. We used Jou Trekking, all hiking gears included, good foods and best personal service as trek organizer also guide us to Mt Rinjani.
Congratulations to hike Mount Rinjani !!