07.08.2010 - 09.08.2010 28 °C
I bagged it! It was hard yakka too.
The first day started with a 5am pickup at the wonderful Beach Club Hotel. Only the guy came early at 4:45am. Just as well I was ready. We picked up a couple more people than headed for Senaru village a couple of hours away. Here we were given banana pancakes and waited around while the porters got the gear ready. There is a lot of waiting around in these places. Originally it was just me a French guy but at the Senaru office was another young French couple. They had wanted to do the trek the opposite direction to us but were told they couldn't so they joined with us. They were upset to begin with - its the expectation vs reality thing - but I think they enjoyed themselves in the end. And it was nice to have a group of four - me and four French people. There are loads of Europeans here. Not many kiwis!
Finally we were taken to Sembaluan village and after more waiting around began walking at 10am. The first half of the first day was a gradual ascent through grasslands. There were loads of people doing the trek and there was a bit of leap frog going on. The second half of the walk was up fairly steep hills. We had an ascent of about 1100m. I just put my head down and slowly and steadily made my way up to the crater rim. The porters were ahead of me and had set up the tents and started making dinner. They are quite strong and walk in flip-flops. They get paid 100,000Rupiah a day - about $20. The rest of my group finally arrived and we had a quiet and early evening.
Day 2 started at 2:30am with a snack and cup of tea and then the hard work began. It is 1000m from the crater rim to the summit of Mt Rinjani. The lone French guy didn't even start as he wasn't feeling well. And it didn't take long for the other two to fall behind and then realise they weren't going to make it. So the guide stayed with them and lit a fire to keep them warm and I continued alone. But not really alone as most other people were heading up too. I was feeling a bit ill myself but kept going and finally made the summit a bit after 6am. Nice views from the top. Mt Rinjani is the second highest volcano in Indonesia (3726m) so we looked down on the clouds and over to Bali where we could see Gunung Agung.
A couple of hours later and I'm back at camp for breakfast and then we pack up and descend a few hundred metres to the crater lake. This took about 3 hours as it was quite steep and we had to be careful. There is another campsite at the lake but we were only stopping for lunch. While the porters made lunch (they cook from scracth over an open fire) we had a soak in a nearby hot springs. Well - I dangled my legs in them while the others had a soak. The campsites are pretty disgusting with loads of rubbish and crap (literally) lying around.
After lunch and a short rest we started off again to climb to the crater rim on the other side. Most people camp here but we descended 15 mins to another rest area as it was slightly less crowded. Still dirty and disgusting though! Had great sunset views looking over towards Mt Agung again.
And on the last day a fairly easy descent mostly through rainforest to Senaru village. Where after the customary waiting around we were transferred back to Senggigi.
That is the brief account of my Mt Rinjani trek. Summary: it was hard work! But good to get to the summit and the route we did had a bit of variety with a nice way to finish (ie easy last day).