Mount Rinjani: 3 Days Trekking On Indonesia's Most Picturesque Volcano
Summary Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Summary
In 1257, on the Island of Lombok, Mount Rinjani exploded leaving a hole the size of Manhattan.
The explosion covered neighbouring Bali with rocks and ash, and eventually covered the world with sulphur. Today, Rinjani is still highly active, yet around 100,000 climb it every year owing to its verdant jungle trails, azure crater lake, and ongoing volcanic rumblings.
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Height and Distance
Natural Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Natural Height
Natural Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Hiking Period
There are two trail options up Rinjani. Option 1 takes you to the summit and requires about 3 days to complete, and Option 2 only leads to the crater rim, and takes about half a day to complete.
Difficulty Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Hiking Difficulty
Difficulty Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Terrain
Of the two popular trail options, one provides a scenic walk through rainforests and a visibly changing landscape, while the other requires a greater degree of physical fitness to attempt. Both meet at the crater rim, from where there’s a single trail up to the summit. A combination of the two options is also widely used, with trekkers ascending to the crater rim via one option and returning down the other.
Going uphill from Sembalun takes you through grassy savannahs where the sun is harsh and the inclines gradually become steep as you approach the crater rim. The most difficult parts are the walk up from the crater rim to the summit, and later from the rim down to the crater lake on day 2. Going down to Senaru on day 3 is a little easier, and that’s when some dramatic landscape presents itself with rolling grasslands giving way to exotic rainforests in the last section.
The first part of the walk starts from Sembalum and winds through windy grasslands offering some amazing scenery all around and is relatively a breeze. By starting at a higher elevation you get to avoid the humidity of the rain forests and the walk is pleasant, except perhaps on hot days when the sun decides to beat down on you throughout.
The climb starts becoming steeper from POS 3 to the Pelawangan Sembalun base camp (crater rim). Anticipate a steep 3-hour climb. Tall trees in some stretches offer shade to make it a little easier for you to push through. Navigate this section slowly and steadily to make sure you get to the rest stop in time for the overnight break, while your legs remain ready for the next stretch up to the summit the next morning.
The trek from the crater rim base camp to the summit will test your physical fitness. The trail to the summit takes you over loose volcanic scree, which you will need to navigate in the darkness of the night, whilst fighting the cold winds. Walking over the scree will be like taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back, as the loose rocks and sand make it nearly impossible for your feet to get a firm grip on the ground.
On the way down though, the same scree will be your friend – helping you slide down slowly as every step you take sinks in deep. The climb down from the rim into the crater towards the lake is another steep descent but becomes flatter and easier as you approach the lake.
Finally getting from the Pelawangan Senaru base camp to Senaru Village is a steep, rocky and gravelly path that will require your caution in gaining balance and enduring the strain on your legs. Soon the rocks and gravel give way to vast savannahs though, and to tropical rainforests in the final stretch of the hike.
The easier of the two, this route starts from the village of Senaru and brings you to the crater rim after a 6-hour climb. The first part of the climb is through lush mountain forest, which slowly eases away as you get to the crater rim to set camp for the night.
Difficulty Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Weather
The Rinjani trails are closed from January to March due to the rainy season, so the best time to climb is during the dry months of April to November. Even though the temperatures in the lower altitudes range between 23˚C and 26˚C (73.4˚F and 78.8˚F), this changes when above 2,000m (6,561.68 ft). The nights can be extremely cold at the base camp, even reaching freezing levels at the summit.
Difficulty Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Equipment
You’ll need basic equipment to complete this trek. Make sure you’ve got trekking poles and gloves, and do not hesitate to ask your guide for walking sticks if not. You should definitely carry high-calorie protein snacks, pain relief creams/sprays and other necessary medication in your backpack. Also, make sure to bring clothing for all weather.
Facilities Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Support Facilities
Facilities Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Rest Stops & Facilities
At the trailhead, you’ll find a registration kiosk, food, and potable water.
Along the trail there are rest stop shelters, such as huts, pavilions, etc. Food and water are only available on the trail form your guides and porters.
The summit base camp has toilets/ bathrooms, and shelters for overnight rest. The only food available is that which you or your porters brought with you.
Facilities Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Guides and Porters
Both guides and porters are required.
Accessibility Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Accessibility and Safety
Accessibility Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Location
The nearest airport is the Lombok International Airport, with regular connecting flights from Bali, Jakarta, Singapore etc.
If you’re starting in Senaru village, you’ll be taking a 3-hour drive from the airport circling almost half of the island. To get to Sembalun village, it’s a 2 – 2.5-hour drive from the airport along the east coast of the island.
Accessibility Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Safety
The Mount Rinjani trek is popular so it’s highly unlikely you’ll be doing this climb alone. Though the risk of theft is minimal, it is advised that climbers keep their precious belongings like cameras, passports etc. in their possession at all times.
Volcanic activity: Mount Rinjani is an active volcano so you’ll need to stay up-to-date on local developments before embarking on the trek.
Altitude: It is recommended to climb slowly so that you get accustomed to the altitude. Stopping for a few deep breaths every couple of steps will help ease/avoid any discomfort.
Slips and falls: The summit section of this trek is notoriously difficult due to the slippery terrain and steep climb. Lives have been lost on this trek due to an underestimation of the dangers along the way, so make sure you are prepared.