Mt Rinjani climb

Trip Start Mar 31, 2010
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Trip End Mar 31, 2011


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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Thursday, July 8, 2010

We did a 4-day climb to the top of volcanic Mt Rinjani, which is Indonesia's second highest mountain and was probably the hardest climb we've ever done.  Not to mention the fact we were sleeping in a tent for 3 nights - on our honeymoon!
The first day started somewhat surreally for a mountain climb with waking up at 5 to walk to the 'harbour' on the island and wading out to a little boat which was meeting us to cross to the mainland of Lombok and wading onto shore.  We met our guide and brilliant porters who carried our food, tent and sleeping bags, and cooked all our meals, put up our tent for us and occasionally did some fast walking in between cigarette stops. 
The first day was 6 hours uphill climbing 2,000m to the crater rim which was extremely tough.  From the top we could see down to the sea, the Gili islands where we had been lying on the beach, and across to Bali.  Looking over the other side, the original volcano's crater rim stretched around us and 600m down was a lake and a new volcano starting to rise out of it, constantly smoking and occasionally spouting lava. 
The next day we descended to the lake for a dip in the hot springs, which were quite orange and very hot indeed, then climbed up to the opposite side of the crater rim ready to climb to the summit the next day.  While we were soaking in the hot springs, our porters had raced up to set up our tent.  When we arrived it had just started to rain, and we very rudely jumped straight into the tent and sheltered from pouring rain, thunder, lightning and strong winds for about an hour and listened to some people who'd spent a little longer at the hot springs arriving very cold and wet and miserable.
The climb to the summit started at 3am, seemingly mandatory for any Asian climb, and climbed a long ridge; the surface was was almost like black volcanic sand, which made going up extremely hard, especially combined with freezing temperatures and howling winds; it made us wonder why we think we enjoy doing this kind of thing.  The view at the top was of course very impressive, especially seeing the summit of the volcano on Bali sticking out of the clouds, but the best sight was seeing lava spouting from the top of the new volcano in the centre of the lake while it was still dark on the way up.  Coming back down the slippery surface was a hoot as you could slide about 5 feet with every step.  After getting back down, we went to a very cold spring to try to have a wash - our porters and guide found our obsession with trying to keep clean bemusing as they were all perfectly happy in the same clothes for 4 days, sleeping on a pile of grass at night.
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