Monday, May 26, 2014

Day 27-28 (May 21-22, 2014) of the #limbonisASIA trip: Climbing Mt Rinjani in Lombok, Indonesia

Along with 4 other climbing buddies in the Philippines, we flew from Kuala Lumpur to Lombok, Indonesia to Climb Mt. Rinjani.

I must say I did not know much details about this mountain; The only thing I know is that these friends booked me for Lombok, Indonesia for this; And until the day of the climb, I did not really have time to read about what is expected around. 

One climbing bud Erwin did all the researching and arrangements. Then again, it seemed we did not make confirmations as we were trying to see if we can probably get lower prices when we are in the island already.

At our arrival in the airport in Lombok, we did not have any specific transport to wherever. There were private cars offering service but we are expecting that the prices are quite high from the airport. Then again, there was this guy Udin who was so persistent and seem to understand that we are not the nationals who has so much to spend for something. 

We took his service from Airport to Senggigi, and asked to dropped at the office of that agency where we asked (online via email) about the climb packages.

The arrangement was $105 per person for a 3days 2night trek. The original price is said to be $50/day/person, but with the size of our group, they're giving us this price per head (though later, from the couple and the soloist who joined us in the climb, it seemed this is the same price they got; Erwin also told us that if you book it online, the price would have been the regular $50/day/person).

Going back to the story, the $105 package included guide, porter, meals, and equipment (plus a pick up from airport and a drop to senggigi); Since they did not need to pick us up from Airport, they reimbursed 150K IDR (though we actually paid 200K to Udin). We did not get the cash back, but got our first night accomodation in exchange of the 150K reimburesement (2 rooms with breakfast for 5 of us).

Had dinner at the same guesthouse, afterwhich, we were introduced to our guide, and had a little orientation about the expected elevations, durations, and itinerary of the trekk.

We woke up at 6 the following day, as breakfast will be served at 6:30. We are set to leave by 7 and take a provided transpo to Sembalun (our jumpoff point which would take around 1 hour). 

Before heading straight into the jumpoff point, we dropped by the Park Office to do registration. It was about 9am when we started the trekk.

From there, it was almost a brisk walk, except that it's grassland and so very hot. There were a number of (tourist and packaged) groups (and some even bigger) who are on their way down. 

At about noon, we stopped by some bridge and had lunch. We were surprised to see a 2 burner stove complete with a small (probably) 5kg LPG gas tank. 

We had almost about 1 hour for that break. 

Apart from the expats (or Bule as called in Indonesia), there are a number of locals too climbing on their own (Do-it-yourself trip).

Around 1 hour more walking in the brisk, and what followed was an assault in some forest all the way up. It has gotten a bit chilly as low lying clouds would minimize visibilty. The Flora was outstanding nevertheless.

We reached the campsite at about half past 5, just right when sun is beginning to set. From the camp, you can also see the crater and I just could not imagine how much fast we should be to get to the summit in (as said) 3 hours. It seemed more like 4 or more.

The following morning, we woke up at 2am to have some tea and biscuits, and proceed to the summit (which is said to be completed in 3 hours; just about time for sunrise).

Some groups have gone ahead of us, and I could see their lights from afar. I was having some hesitation about how tiring it could be climbing such a steep ascend and that dark.

I was feeling OK, until we got to the ridge. Then, as we get into the more steep ascend right below the summit, tthe ground becomes sandy, pebbly, and slippery; You'd step your foot about 12 inches, but as you move your other feet up, the other feet would have gone and slid 6 inches back; It's even double the work. 

Worse part is it becomes exponentially colder as we walk up. I did not put much clothing on me, as from the campsite, it did not seem to be as cold as said; But around 500m to the summit, my hands are becoming numb, my lips chopping, and i'm just getting a terrible headache out of the cold. 

I would rest once in a while, hiding myself from the wind through the boulders of rocks that we come across with. around 200m to go, and I just couldn't take the cold anymore. I'm so tired, and too cold, such that my muscles won't move anymore. I decided to take some nap and wait a bit for some sun to warm it up a little. 

Sunrise came at nearly 6. The summit has just shown, and I could see the people trekking very close to the summit.

At that point, I was already having second thoughts of proceeding to the summit. 

I was feeling that I will be getting the same view anyway from where I sit at that moment, so was thinking deeply at what is the point of tiring myself further going up. Well there was that argument of the achievement of getting to the very peak, but that is countered by, what is the point anyway and what differencee is there whether you get to the summit or not; After all, it's just the view that you get from the summit that makes the difference. 

I decided to cut it, and head back down; I descended probably about 50m, and then looked back at the summit. Something inside was pulling me back up. I was telling myself I've paid $105 (the mot expensive trekk, or even trip I've paid for so far) and that was for "summiting" this mountain; Also, I've already trekked about 15hours or so and it feels a big loss to give up at 100m close. Then i turned back and did the assault again.

It took me quite sometime, but yes, I made it. the truth though is, as i got to the summit, I did not have the same energy anymore to even smile for pictures; I'm quite dusted, looking dirty, and dead tired. 

Overall, it took me (and another one in the group) about 5.5 hours to get to the summit. And there was the other challenge of going down; There was that pressure too of some people waiting at the campsite for us, and we're holding them from their expected itinerrary. Going down took us a bit fasterr though, onlly about 3 hours.

It was 11:30 when we got back to camp; It was only then when we had our already cold pancake breakfast. 

Our guide somehow agreed to delay the itinerary a bit.

We will be having another meal at 1:30 and we'll leave at about 2pm for the lake, where we'll camp for our second night. 

The lesson for this 2 days trekk to Mt Rinjani: don't underestimate the cold, and never ever trekk very early especially without breakfast.

There are 2 routes to climbing Rinjani. One starts in Sembalun and the opposite, starts in Senaru. 

For that starting in Senaru, first night camp will be in crater lake, and day 2 is a climb from lake all the way to the summit, plus a descend to the campsite; Total from my pace would be 11.5hours which I think is quite exhausting (compared to the iti of the Sembalun-Senaru route). Day 3 of this route would be a chill though.

Other than the 3days 2nights iti, there are also 2days one night iti (but no summit expected, and only until camp site). There are 4days 3nights itineraries too for those who prefer it more relaxed. 

Other observations: there's too much rubbish everywhere, especially in the campsite. It seems too that Park Administration don't have proper regulation on trash disposal. We saw guides leaving (and also not segregating) trash. Apparently, there are also incinerators in place in the campsite (which shows burning of garbage, including plastic, is recommended). 

Other than the rubbish, vandalisms are everywhere. From what is written, it seems it's mostly locals who do it, although there was something somewhere beetween the lake on our way to Senarru where what is written is (according to the Swiss guy we were with) a Nepalese phrase (which would have probably been done by an expat visitor).

Also, there's (a lot of ) human (natural) deposits along the trail; Toilet papers left and/or flown to everywhere. 

Lastly, there seems too be some handrails set up by the Park, but they are too risky to rely on; Some of it uplifted from it's foundation, and some bent somewhere. I don't think it's safe to use them at all (or at least perhaps test them first before leaving your grip onto these).

There was some orientation at the night before our trekk, and It would have been nice if these discipline would have been raised during that time.  Then again, it don't seem to be much a concern domestically.

This post is part of the #limbonisASIA tripSee here for detailed expenses and more info


  1. Hi Pinoy,
    Is good to read this sharing.. Seem u had a wonderful trip!
    I'm going to climb Mount Rinjani this coming August, with 3D2N package, but still Don't know which trekking agency to choose yet, it just 2 persons of us going there..
    And can you please tell me more about yours in Mount Rinjani? Which trek agency u chosen? And how about the transport from Lombok airport to others place?

  2. we used Qimi Agency ( their package includes pickup from airport


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