Perhaps it was having already done tough climbing on Kilimanjaro and the Himalayas, or perhaps it was the acclimitization to altitude that helped us. It could also be that most people who climb Rinjani are young and unprepared backpackers on their gap year, trekking in Toms and their layered beach clothes. Whatever the reason, we didn’t find the summit push as difficult as billed. It was simply a long slow trudge through deep volcanic ash and scree, and as long as you accepted that progress would be slow and that it would be cold, it was just a matter of putting your head down and taking one step at a time for a few hours, turning your brain off and your legs into flesh pistons.
Still, it was an intense workout, and arriving at the top just as dawn began we looked a little rough.But that sunrise!
Reflections in Jesse’s glasses.
There was no wind as we sat at the top in the quiet and stillness (in between camera clicks and occasional whoops of joy/relief from other climbers reaching the top), enjoying the gradual brightening of the pastel Monet sky into a late dawn glow.The backside of the mountain.
Adi had brought up some Bintangs for the hike. He encouraged us to drink the beers the whole way up (I think he was used to the backpacker mentality) but we told him we just wanted one each for the top… cold beer never tasted so good. As we were the only group around that had gotten this luxury option, we received a lot of envious looks.A finger of humanity at the summit overlook.
After the sun was well up we started the descent down.We were surprised to find so many people still making their way up.Since it was easier to ski scree down at a run, us descending trekkers began to raise a cloud of volcanic dust.We found ourselves densely covered in this dust, the pervasive fine grains even finding their way inside our clothes.Halfway down we found a scenic rock, where we stopped for a quick photo session.And decided to practice our new pose.We reached the rim with its ridge of tents in less than an hour.We had delicious banana pancakes and then planted our trees.We ran down the rest of the mountain, reaching our starting point around 11am. We couldn’t wait to dunk our tired and dusty bodies into the Indian Ocean: the trekking part of our trip was now officially over… The relaxing on beaches section had begun.