The day before our trekking tour on the volcano Rinjani we took the public ferry from Bali to Lombok.The trip was quite pleasant and after 4.5 hours we reached port Lembar where we have been picked up after a short time. The drive to our hotel, which was near the Rinjani National Park, took another three hours in which we realized the lights on scooters is probably considered as overrated luxury here… Not just once, we could barely dodge a suddenly appearing vehicle. When we arrived unscathed at the destination, the mother of Andrew (the organizer of our trekking tour) had cooked traditional food that we could enjoy with the family at home. It was damn tasty papaya curry with rice, which we ate with a spoon rather than usually here in Indonesia, with the hands. In our hotel we went to pack for our 3 day trip. It was important to have warm clothes since it can be quite cold on 3,700m. The next morning we started after a small breakfast, where we met the rest of our group (Guido and Nadine from NRW), at 7 am by car to the foot of the volcano. At an altitude of 980m we started our ascent. It was quite flat at the beginning but became steeper very quickly.
After three exhausting hours in the blazing sun it was time for the first meal. Our porters in flip-flops who dragged up about 30kg of provisions in heavy baskets that were attached to bamboo poles, even had a blender for fresh fruit juices and thereby also a dead chicken dangling from one of the baskets. So first we got a banana-smoothie, followed by a delicious local dish. Really good, but you shouldn’t look too exactly how it was prepared… Our team, which consisted of a guide and four porters, snipped and cooked diligently in the middle of quite high mountains of garbage for our group. After refreshments another 4 hours of exhausting steep walk were on the program. Shortly before sunset we reached pretty sweaty our first camp at 2.639m and therefore we did 1,700 meters in altitude (often there was also downhill pieces) this day.
We have never made such a distance uphill..not even with our mountainbikes 😉 After our guide and the carrier arrived at the camp, we got a nice dinner and a beautiful starry sky (Yay finally back to an area where the Milky Way clearly can be seen). Unfortunately it was already bedtime because on the next morning we had to get up at 2 clock to go to the highest point of the crater rim of the volcano.
The night in our little tent was quite short and uncomfortable and we had to get up again very soon. The climb up the volcano was more than difficult. In the small glow of the headlamp there went up a very steep path consisting only of loose scree, where you slipped back a half after each step. So you got really sweaty, even at about 5 degrees. The hike was very tiring and like walking in deep snow. After a long strenuous hike, we reached the edge where we waited for the sunrise and had a stunning look inside the large volcano of Rinjani and to the smaller, newly formed, still active volcano Baru.
It was possible to go to the highest point of the crater rim, but since we had more than 1,600 meters of altitude to go in front of us, we decided against it. After returning from the crater rim, we had breakfast at the crater rim and then we started immediately with the descent to the crater lake. We climbed down over many boulders and Nadine and I were glad we had the helping hands of our men who helped us on this difficult path. The descent seemed to go on forever, but after nearly four hours we finally reached the lake. Unfortunately, we could not think of a cool dip, since the area was completely littered with trash. While the lunch was prepared, we went firstonce to the hot springs and relaxed our already pretty battered legs and feet in warm water. If we would have known that after the very busy 10 hours the hardest part was yet to come, we would probably wouldn’t have been in such a good mood 😉
After the lunch (Gado Gado, our favorite food here in Indonesia) we walked a little way along the lake before it was going up steep again. Initially quite manageable, the track quickly turned into a via ferrata for advanced. No helmet and without any security we had to climb up the walls facing a 500 meter drop behind us… Nice that I’m afraid of heights… (and good that we did not know at the time that there are many deathse every year here …). But what do you want to do. Going back is not an option in the center of a volcano. And so we struggled up the crater for another four hours on all fours to the second camp. Despite the frenzied effort, climbing these dangerous parts and not really a good night, it was somehow fun. Not sure if it were the hormone-production or the joy that you are nevertheless more powerful than you dare to think. Completely covered with dust and with real black hands and fingernails we finally arrived the top and were damn glad we were all four still alive and unharmed. The view in the huge volcanic crater was also from this side simply stunning. After another night in the tent we „only“ had to do the descent from the volcano in the village of Senaru. This „way“ was fortunately not quite as rocky and after about 5 hours, and another 2,000 meters of altitude we reached after the most exhausting three days of our lives the border of the national park. Happy and filthy we had overcome more than 6900 vertical meters (downhill and uphill). The next days we will spent recovering,lying around, diving and massaging our sore muscles on the island of Gili Meno.
Checked out our Indonesia video :)?