Day 2 on the mountain. (8th December 2016)
The night on the crater rim was very windy and cold. We opted to sleep through the night instead of waking up at 2 AM for the summit climb. We could hardly sleep due to the noise of the wind and it was pushing the tent on us.
We started our summit climb around 8 AM in the morning and took 7 Hours to get to the summit and back to the crater. As per the initial itinerary, we had to descend to the lake after the summit but we decided to stay back on the crater rim as it was quite late by the time we came back to the camp after the summit. Our guide and porters were very accommodating as this was a change from the planned itinerary.
That's where we will be climbing to reach the summit.
Mount Rinjani or Gunung Rinjani is an active volcano in Indonesia on the island of Lombok. Administratively the mountain is in the Regency of North Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (Indonesian: Nusa Tenggara Barat, NTB). It rises to 3,726 metres (12,224 ft), making it the second highest volcano in Indonesia.
On the top of the volcano is a 6-by-8.5-kilometre (3.7 by 5.3 mi) caldera, which is filled partially by the crater lake known as Segara Anak or Anak Laut (Child of the Sea), due to the color of its water, as blue as the sea (laut). This lake is approximately 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) above sea level and estimated to be about 200 metres (660 ft) deep; the caldera also contains hot springs. Sasak tribe and Hindu people assume the lake and the mount are sacred and some religious activities are occasionally done in the two areas. On 27 September 2016 14:45 WITA Rinjani erupted.
And this is the top view of the cone which erupted on 27th September 2016 and photographed by me on 8th December 2016.
Two steps forward and the mountain will take you back by 1 step. The most challenging climb to the summit as this stretch completely exhausts you.
This is where I sat down to rest and looked up the path. If not for the encouragement from my friend and the guide, I would definitely have turned back! The level of exhaustion this stretch causes cannot be described!
This is not Mordor... It's the path to the summit of Mt. Rinjani.
We were the last to summit the mountain as usually, almost everyone starts the climb to the summit at 2 or 3 AM.
As we started at 8 AM, we were alone on the way to the summit. The cloud cover on the caldera lake made sure we could not capture good shots of the lake from the summit.
Summary of Day 2 on Mt. Rinjani.
Day 4 - Day 3 on the mountain
Climbing volcanic scree... Two steps forward, 1 step backward!
We descended to the lake and in the morning after breakfast. The descent took 3 hours 45 mins (5.21 KMs) and the last 1 hour was in heavy rain which added to the beauty of the landscape around Mt. Rinjani. We spent some time in the hot springs after lunch and began the steep climb to the Senaru crater rim. The ascend is just 4.11 KMs but takes 3.5 hours. The night on the Senaru crater was very peaceful with not much wind. The sky was reasonably clear and we got to enjoy the view of our galaxy which has become a rarity with the amount of light pollution in the cities.
Day 4 & 5 - Day 3 & 4 on the mountain
We camped on the Senaru side of the crater rim for the night. It was the first night on the mountain where it was not windy. This gave us the opportunity to set up the tripods for some long exposure photography.
We woke up around 2 or 3 AM and were greeted with the most beautiful sight we had seen. Our Galaxy Milky Way in it's full glory. Unfortunately, we did not take out the cameras to click any pictures since we wanted to have enough rest for the next day's long descent.
This was a long trek down to Senaru village through forests, covering a total distance of 11.67 KMs and it took us 6 hours 30 mins to reach Senaru. This again was an exhausting day and the trek down through the rainforest was accompanied with very heavy rainfall. As a result, very few photographs from the last day.
Important Points to remember
- The trek is hard and very exhausting.
- Book a deluxe package or private tour for a comfort and setting own pace.
- Warm clothes/mittens are a must during the nights.
- Sunscreen/Balaclava - There were few who were badly sunburnt.
- Pack as light as possible. (We were also carrying tripods and DSLRs).
- A good rain jacket to cover till feet. Our socks got wet in the rain and in turn the water seeped into the shoes from inside even though the boots we were using were waterproof.
- Pack Bandages for blisters.
- Book for a longer package to enjoy the trek than just hurrying to the next point.
- Off-season is the best time to visit.
- In the deluxe package, the porters bring along chairs for the hikers. We rarely used these chairs. It would have been better if there was another tent so that we had space to sleep properly. With two moderately built guys in a single mountain tent, it was very difficult to even move in the tent!