To Lombok and the Ascent of Rinjani 08:21.77S, 116:07.76E
Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Sat 7 Oct 2023 01:37
Badas to Lombok was pretty uneventful but we arrived at Medana Bay marina to find all of the moorings in use. The anchorage here is deeper that we like so we went around to the next bay for the night and waited for someone to leave which they did in the early morning. The marina staff are most helpful and take fuel cans to be filled, fill gas bottles, arrange for laundry, taxis and anything else you need. Very useful as this is the first place where our New Zealand gas bottles can be filled. The local shops are sparsely stocked and to get to a major supermarket you need a car and driver, it’s about 45 minutes away.
Medana marina open air office
and the cafe
We looked at a local restaurant for a meal on Sarah’s birthday but eventually settled on the marina cafe and it’s basic but good food. The plus side was that they had wine.
While here we decided to do the trek up Rinjani peak, top of the list of things to do on Lombok.
At 3726m (12224ft) Rinjani is the second highest peak and volcano in Indonesia, the highest is Puncak Jaya on the island of New Guinea. This seemed like a reasonable challenge and we found a company, Rinjani Heros, who would pick-up from anywhere on Lombok and return us after the climb, provide an overnight hotel in the area before the climb, and most important an English speaking guide and porters to carry all of the camping kit and food. All we had to carry was a small day sack with clothes and camera. I could get to like this kind of trekking holiday! (Phil)
We were collected by car from the marina and driven to the hotel in Senaru where we had lunch before stretching our legs with a walk to Sindang Gile waterfall. The hotel was basic but clean with a view over the paddy fields and we could sit and watch the antics of the monkeys below us. We were the only people booked on the trek at this point but on our return to the hotel we were told there was another English couple who had made a late booking but were staying somewhere else, they would join us in the morning. It was nice being up in the hills and slightly cooler than sea level but we still made use of the air conditioning over night.
View of Rinjani from the hotel, the high point is the leftmost one.
The other couple were Tom and Eliza who had taken a year off to travel, first in Europe and then SE Asia and Australia. We found them very easy to get on with as they had similar interests, sailing, mountains and the outdoors.
Day one of the climb involved being driven in the back of a pick-up truck along with our three porters and their loads to Sembalun and registration with medicals, pulse, blood oxygen level, temperature and blood pressure. Phil had asked our driver on the way to Senaru whether anyone ever gets turned away at this point and was told no. We all thought that the BP readings were a bit on the low side, maybe that’s done on purpose. Back in the pick-up and a drive up to the start of the walk which starts fairly gently for the first hour or so then steepens up to post 2 where we were served Nasi Goreng for lunch, a platter of fruit and tea or coffee. Not our normal walking lunch of a quick sandwich and slurp of water.
Lunch on the way up
Then as the walk in continued the path got rockier and in places there was a lot of loose grit so two steps forward and one back. The ascent from Sembalun to the crater rim campsite was 1500metres and 10km with the last 600 m climb being steep and loose, we were up there by mid afternoon. Our legs are definitely not used to either the climb or the distance and at this point Sarah decided that she would not be doing the summit climb another 6km with the climb up to 3726 metres starting at 2am so as to arrive at dawn. The tents were already pitched for us and all we had to do was sit and admire the view down over the crater lake and ensure that the local monkeys didn’t steal food or water bottles. We were served fruit, tea and fried bananas and a curry for supper, they really did look after us well. We watched the sunset over the crater and had an early night.
The porters carry 50kg loads over their shoulders in baskets fixed to a pole, most wear flip flops on their feet. The youngest is only 14, when asked whether he should be in school we were told that if he didn’t work his family didn’t eat.
Plenty of monkeys to be seen both at the hotel and the camp site
Our tents were in the front row closest to the crater so we had a good view
01.30 we were up and served with tea and toast, and set off at 2.30 for the climb which took about 3.5 hours there are two steep sections one at the start to reach the ridge and then the final section to the summit, definitely two steps forward and one back, with a regular rests. We were the second group to arrive at the top so I think we did pretty well, although my leg muscles were absolutely solid by this point. About half an hour was spent taking photos and watching the sun rise then back down to the camp for breakfast, a lot quicker going down than up.
Looking up the ridge to the summit, 6km away and 1200m of climb
The volcano and crater lake, looking down from the ridge. The volcano last erupted in 2010
Phil at the summit, just before dawn it was freezing cold
From just below the summit the rising sun cast a shadow of the peak across the crater
The descent from the camp to the bottom was the worst part as we all had stiff shaking legs, by the bottom Sarah’s legs were giving way as we’re both of Phil’s knees despite strapping them for support.
I know we weren’t as fit as we should have been before a trek like this but it probably was one of the most demanding things we have done.
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