Climbing The Magnificent Rinjani – Part 1

The Majestic View from a-3706 meter height peak

There is something spiritual about being outdoors. Especially when you get away from the sprawling madness of the city. The incredible feeling of going on a hike is priceless 🙂 . I have climbed a couple mounts and it got me addicted ever since. Like seriously.

Every time I ask some experienced hikers about the most beautiful mountain in Indonesia, most of them answered: Rinjani. Since then, Rinjani became top of my bucket list and Alhamdulillah, I finally could make it happen this year. Yuhuu. I, who are just an occasional climber, decided to visit Rinjani along with a few friends. I book the flight 4 days before and the price was pain in the ass 😆 . It is even higher than the price of a whole trip itself. hahaha. I should have prepared well next time.

Map of Rinjani Trails (picture is taken from here)

Talking about the trek, Rinjani offers a complete kind from blazing savanna, steep rocky terrain, slippery sandy hills, solid ground, Rainforest, etc. It was interesting yet torturous. People usually travel through two different routes. The two most common are Sembalun and Senaru trails. I choose to start from Sambalun and return through Senaru gate. The consideration was that Sembalun has gentle trek with incredible view although it was very long and blazing. You can also reach the summit first before go down to the lake, so you would be fit enough. In contrast, if you start from Senaru, the trails is cool as the it is predominantly a dense rainforest jungle but a little bit extreme. You can enjoy the lake first but if you want to reach the peak, you need extra stamina after days of up and down especially passing through the lake, which has a very challenging trail.

Sembalun lawang

Stunning wide savanna all the way in Sembalun trail
Stunning vast savanna all the way in Sembalun trail

Most hikers (especially Indonesian) start from Sembalun Gate. The trail was gentle at first 3 pos (shelter may be the right term) with unique and beautiful landscape that is predominantly a gorgeous vast savanna. For me, It’s like heaven on earth. I never see such a nice view from the other side of the country. It will entice you instantly like you cannot get enough taking pictures. However, It was extremely blazing especially in dry season. Beside that, there are several dry river and valley that make the view more magical. If you start from here, I will suggest you to get enough water supply. You’ll be get thirsty easily. Also, you are advised to bring lightweight stuff in your backpack and get your camera ready all the way up the mountain.

Another side of Rinjani's Sembalun Trail
Another side of Rinjani’s Sembalun Trail

Due to peak hiking season, I could not go further than Pos 3 Sembalun, some porters and guides who went down the mountain informed us that there were NO space in Pelawangan Sembalun. NO WAY! 😯 900 tent were on board and porters from 4 villages have been fully booked 😯 . I was really shock how crowd the trails was. Not surprising when my team did not get any porters available that forced us to carry along the tents, food and water supplies in each of our backpacks. How tough we were, huh? 🙂  Oh, I forget to mention my camera bag (including tripod) as well. Carrying DSLR is kind of dilemma especially when you did not hire any porter. But, it’s gonna be worth it.

It was not too bad spending night here. The view is gorgeous as always.

Sunrise at Pos 3 Sembalun Trail
Sunrise at Pos 3 Sembalun Trail

Hills of Regret

Another challenging trail you need to get through is here. People name it “The seven hills of regret” means that you’ll be too late to feel regret since you have gone that far and it felt like never ending. You have no choice but keep moving forward. Seriously 😆 . There are around seven hills which ascents brutally. Each hill promises you a fake hope of the top. If you have had the trails of Kalimati – Arcopodo of Mount Semeru, It is pretty much identical but may be sevenfold in distance 😯 . I did not count the hills exactly. but it’s kind of many. No worries, you’ll be entertained by the natural charms all the way up the hills. The only obstacle is that you’ll too tired to get your camera ready (DSLR for instance). Truly challenge.

the seven hills of regret
The seven hills of regret. Never ending torture.

It is recommended to get some food and get ready for another trekking as early as possible. I started climbing at 9:30 AM from pos 3, which I guess that was very late, and arrived at 15:00 in Pelawangan Sembalun. I think you’ll get tired easily when climbing too late.

Sembalun Caldera Rim

Campsite of Sembalun Caldera Rim
Campsite of Sembalun Caldera Rim at around 2639 m above sea level.

As you arrive in Pelawangan Sembalun, go find a space to set up tent quickly. The camping site is in all the way in Sembalun caldera rim. This is where you can see Segara Anak Lake – a volcanic crater lake at altitude of 2000 m asl- , the top of Rinjani and some of shoreline of Lombok Island. However, you might not get the rewards instantly – seeing the beauty of the lake – as clouds most likely stays around since 10 AM. So better get rest, enjoy the incredible landscape or prepare for next journey such as get enough water supply, etc. The water source is located near the summit trails. It was much fresher than in Pos 3.

For those who enjoy milky way hunting, Sembalun is a great place for that. It was light-pollution-free. But, It is supposed to be conducted when all the people sleep for better result. Anyhow, you need get rest early prior to go summiting in next day. Dilemma.

Summit view from Sembalun caldera rim campsite
Summit view from Sembalun caldera rim campsite.
Milky-Way over the sky of Rinjani
Milky-Way over the sky of Rinjani

Summiting days
People usually get up at 00:00 AM to conquer the summit. Since it was a peak hiking season, some of us get early start at 11:00 PM. Wow. I started climbing at 1:30 AM, again it was late :mrgreen: . It was queuing for some times in several spot, not because of I was tired but more likely waiting for those who get tired in the first line.

At early trek, there were very steep trails for around 1 hour ascent towards the main caldera rim. After that, we hike through the main caldera rim of Rinjani until the peak. It was a long slippery sandy and rocky trails. If you have visited sandy trails of Semeru, Rinjani has less-steep but torturous in term of distance. The trails is also dusty so you must put the mask on. Also, remember to use Trekking Pole and Gaither to ease your climb. As the strong winds always occur, use head cover and thick jacket to get yourself comfortable. In Addition, get occasional stop to prevent any injury but do not too much. As you keep moving, you’ll warm your body automatically.

the summit of Rinjani
The summit of Rinjani
Steep ascent to the summit
Steep ascent to the summit
The Summiteers tried to conquer themselves (not the mountain) :mrgreen:
The Summiteers tried to conquer themselves (not the mountain) :mrgreen:

Hill by hills passed by, but seems the peak was a long way to go. It was 5:00 in the morning, the sun about to rise as the yellowish golden color about to appear. I did not think I can make shubuh prayer in the peak due to crowd space and the time would not be enough. So, I made it while sitting near the peak. Alhamdulillah. That was really something 🙂  . Since I did not want to miss the sunrise, I speed up my step while some super chilly wind hit me like no mercy. I got occasional stop for sure to prevent  sore of my knee. Finally, after 4.5 hours ascent in total, I could make it to the top of Rinjani exactly at 06:00 🙂 . Yiha! Congratulation myself.

No longer after that, the sunrise welcome us like the best gift I ever had. So Fantastic! 🙂

Sunsrise at the peak
Sunsrise at the peak

The peak of the goddess Anjani stood at 3726 m asl and is the highest point of the island of Lombok. You can see the stunning Segara Anak Lake, Mount Agung of Bali, Mount Tambora of Sumbawa, All Lombok’s shoreline as well as the famous Gili Islands. It was there most of us forget about our pains. Seeing the wonders of God’s creature there will make you literally moved , or may be I’m too melancholic 😆 . The strong chilly wind will no longer be problem when you were there. Everything was just awesome. Since I was the one who get ahead than my entire team member, I waited for them for group picture beside the queue to the summit point was crowded like crazy. I better get some picture, record movie or whatever. In addition, the best time to get picture in the peak is around 08:00 AM when the sky turn out to be stunningly blue and Segara Anak Lake start to be obvious.

Finally, the peak of Rinjani.
Happiness is here, at the peak of Rinjani

6 thoughts on “Climbing The Magnificent Rinjani – Part 1

  1. I love your photos. I cam here specifically because of your cavings photo, but I got to see all your other awesome pics! I wanted to know if I attributed the photo to you could I possibly use the cavings photo that you have on your blog? Thank you.

  2. Thanks Jessica….yes, you can use the caving photos 🙂

  3. Hi. Nice writing! Love the magnificent view of Rinjani! I’m just writing about my journey to Rinjani.

  4. Thanks Nadzirah, I just came across your blog. All pic are amazing. I like the milky-way pics. really nice.

  5. Iri 😔

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