Mount Rinjani

indonesia

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 sulfur. Today, Rinjani is still highly active, yet around 100,000 climb it every year owing to its verdent jungle trails, azure crater lake, and ongoing volcanic rumblings.

Country
indonesia
Height
3,726m (12,224ft)
Climbing Height
2,675m (starting from Rinjani Information Centre at 1,051m)
Rank
  • #1 in Indonesia
  • #30 in SE Asia

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Natural Form and History

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - History

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Geological history

Mount Rinjani belongs to a series of volcanoes that developed in the Lesser Sunda Islands because of Indo-Australian crust’s subduction below these Islands. The source of its magma lies at a depth of 165-200 kms. The oldest rocks are from the Mesozoic age. Its caldera formation occurred in the 13th century during what is considered ‘one of the powerful volcanic eruptions since humans learnt to write’ and was subsequently filled by Segara Anak, the crater lake, which till then had been a volcanic mountain named the Samalas which stood higher than Rinjani.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Modern climbing history

Mount Rinjani is a highly active volcano with the oldest recorded eruption happening in 1847. Prior to that this was considered a remote and inaccessible location and hence there is a lack of records with regards to initial expeditions up the mountain. It gained in popularity with tourists after the opening of the Rinjani National Park in 1997, but the park has been closed on several occasions since its opening owing to volcanic activity, the latest being in 2016.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Current popularity as a climbing destination

In 2016, more than 90,000 trekkers were said to have made their way up Mount Rinjani. The mountain and its satellites that form the Rinjani National Park has a wealth of spectacular views on offer – from the lush forests of the lower ranges to the active cone of the volcano, the Gunung Barujari and the startlingly blue waters of the caldera, the Segara Anak – which account for the ever growing popularity of this site.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Overview of the Trail

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Overall Assessment

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Summary of trail accessibility

There are two well established trails up Mount Rinjani with a few newer ones also opening up recently. A serious expedition up the mountain will have you touch base at the crater rim, descend to the warm waters of the caldera and also access the summit of the mountain. Less experienced trekkers opt to miss the summit (given the difficulty of the final stretch up the summit) and limit their trek to the crater rim which offers dramatic views. However, allowing yourself three days on the trek will provide the best experience of the mountain with all its variety of flora and fauna as well as the divergent experiences of the crater rim and the summit.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Trail options

Number of options
2
Summary

Of the two popular options, one provides a scenic walk through rain forests 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 up to the crater rim via one option and returning down the other.

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 forests, which slowly ease away as you get to the crater rim to set camp for the night.

Starting off at a higher altitude, this route helps climbers to avoid some of the humidity of the lower ranges and sets off in a grassy savannah setting. This route has higher gradient though, and exposes you more to the elements - sun or rain. It is generally preferred by trekkers, especially on the way up, who intend to summit the mountain.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Most popular trail

The Sembalun Lawang Route

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Standard itinerary

Number of days
3
Summary

Since visitors are usually put up in hotels in Senaru, the first part of the trip is to get to the village of Sembalun. The first day starts off in a relatively relaxed manner, as you walk up across open fields in the beginning, and mountain slopes in the 2nd part, until you get to the rim of the crater. The second day is where all the action is – when you get to experience the Summit, and then the crater lake. Day 3 brings you back to the starting point towards Sembalun, or down to the other side to the village of Senaru.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Day 1

06:00:  Wake up early, get your breakfast, check-out of your hotel and make your way to the Sembalun village where you will begin the trek.

08:00:  On reaching Sembalun, you will need to register with the Rinjani Information Center which stands at about 1,051m. Then you can pick-up your bags, and embark on the trek. The first part is a gently walk up along open grasslands.

10:00:  Arrive at POS 1, Pemantuaun at 1,300m about two hours later and take a short break. There are drinks vendors if you’re thirsty and would prefer to restock your drinking supplies for the stretch ahead, which could be the case on a particularly hot day.

11:30:  Arrive at POS 2, Tenengean at 1,500m for another short break. The trail in these sections is relatively flat and smooth, which allows for local entrepreneurs to ply motorbikes for tired hikers.

01:00:  At POS 3, Pada Balong, is where your guide will lay out a mat for you to relax a bit, and even set up chairs if you have asked for those beforehand, while he and the porters serve you lunch. Catch your breath and re-enerize yourself, for the climb from here on will get steeper.

06:00:  The last section on day 1 is the most difficult part of the day, for the incline picks up. But there are rest stops along the way for you to catch a breath. Walk steadily though to try and arrive at Pelawangan Sembalun at the crater rim before the sub sets down, and set up camp for the night. Being on the edge of the crater, this location offers a breathtaking view on both sides. One faces the way would have come up from on the first day, and looks over small villages in the distance that will twinkle at night. The other stretches across the crater lake whose waters will have a faint silver glimmer if the moon is moon is up. Your guide and porters will serve you hot dinner here, which is best had out in the open as clouds are moving in for the night.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Day 2

02:30:  Rise early to start the walk up to the summit. If your alarm clock doesn’t wake you up, the footsteps and early morning chatter of fellow trekkers walking beside your tent will. Start the ascent to the summit after a cup of hot tea.

06:00:  The walk up the summit is a gruelling 3-4 hour stretch, the most of difficult part of it being loose rock and sand, also called scree, laid all along the path as you get close to the summit. Struggle through this part though, and you’ll be rewarded with one of the most beautiful views you can get at a sunrise anywhere in the world – with the island of Bali on one side, Gili islands on the other, and the calm ocean stretching out 360-degrees around you. Start walking down after spending some time at the summit, and admire the beautiful views of the crater lake slowly emerging from the shadow of the mountain as the sun rises up in the sky.

09:00:  Arrive back at Pelawangan Sembalun base camp and have breakfast that your guides would have prepared for you. Catch a break while you admire the day-time views on both sides of the crater edge.

10:00:  Pack your bags, and begin the 2nd part of the day as you descend down to the Segara Anak crater lake. The climb down is not easy either, as you step down over big rocks. But it’s a special feeling a few hours later when you’re resting by the side of the crater lake, or even taking a swim in it. There is also a hot water spring for you to dip into if you feel like it – the sulphur-infused thermal waters are supposed to have healing properties and many locals associate them with divine powers.

13:00:  Lunch and rest beside the lake.

15:00:  Pack up again and ascend to the other side of the crater rim – Pelawangan Senaru.

18:00:  Set up camp for the 2nd night at Pelawangan Senaru base camp, from where you get another angle of the glorious sunset over the mountains, this time from a different side.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Day 3

07:30:  Sleep in to recover from the first two days, and get breakfast once you’re up and ready to begin the final day.

09:00:  The descent down to the Senaru village starts with a steep path, and for the first few hours you will need to balance carefully along the trail down.

12:00:  Get your lunch at rest stop POS 2 on the trail down. From here, the difficult section of the trail will slowly give way to vast savannahs and in the final stretch you get to the tropical rainforests rich in flora, bird and butterfly varieties. Look out for honeyeaters, cockatoos and tailor-birds as also the rare ebony leaf monkey.

14:00:  Arrive back at Senaru village, and head back to the airport or to your hotel for a well-deserved break.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Climbing Difficulty

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Terrain

Number of distinct sections
5
Summary

Going uphill from Sembalun takes you through grassy savannahs where the sun is harsh and the inclines, while gentle in the beginning, 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 rain forests in the last section.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Sembalun to POS 3 Pada Balong
The first part of the walk starting from Sembalum winds through windy grasslands offers some amazing scenery all around and is relatively a breeze. Starting off at a higher elevation, you get to avoid the humidity of the rain forests and the walk, covering POS1 and POS 2 on the way is pleasant, except perhaps on hot days when the sun decides to beat down on you throughout.
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - POS 3 to Pelawangan Sembalun base camp (crater rim)
This is where the climb starts getting in every sense, uphill. Anticipate a steep 3 hour climb over steeper terrain. Tall trees in some stretches offer shade to make it a little easier for you to push through. Navigate this section slowly and steadily though, to make 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 next morning.
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Pelwangan Sembalun base camp (crater rim) to summit
This is the part of the trek where your physical fitness and trekking experience will really be called into play, the part that you will have traveled from around the world to this remote location, and the part that gives Rinjani its signature experience. The trail to the summit brings you over loose volcanic scree, which you will need to negotiate in the darkness of the night, while fighting against a cold wind blowing across the mountain edge that drops down on both sides. 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 onto 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.
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Pelwangan Sembalun base camp (crater rim) to Segara Anak crater lake to Pelawangan Senaru base camp
The climb down from the rim into the crater towards the lake is another steep descent, as you step down rocks that can be 2-3 feet high. The trail becomes flater and easier as you approach the lake. The ascent therafter takes you to the other side of the crater rim along a similar route.
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Pelawangan Senaru base camp to Senaru village
The first part of this final section is a rocky and gravelly path that is steeply inclined and will require caution in balancing and ensuring your legs endure the strain. Soon the rocks and gravel give way to vast savannahs though, and to tropical rainforests in the final stretch of the hike.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Weather

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Overview of climate

The Rinjani trekking trails are often closed from January to March when the rainy season makes the already challenging climb a dangerous one as well. Temperatures in the lower altitues of Mount Rinjani, like the rest of tropical Indonesia remain in the range of 23 to 26 degrees celcius whatever the season (and can even feel hotter if there is no cloud cover). But above 2000m, this scenario changes. Nights tend to be extremely cold at the base camp and can reaching freezing levels at the summit.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Best time to climb

The best time to climb are the dry months from April to November. Even so, the early months of the dry season can still be prone to some rain so an ideal time would the latter part of the season.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Common weather challenges

Rain:  Some amount of rain can be expected in any season in the mountains and it is always advisable to check local weather conditions before embarking on your trip as treks tend to get cancelled in the last minute in the event of rain. If it happens to rain while you are on the trail, watch out for loose gravel and slippery mud.

Temperature:  Rinjani will expose you to both extermes – the hike starts in grasslands where under the hot sun you’ll need plenty of water and sun-screen to keep your wits together. Close to the crater rim though the temperature gets as low as 10 degrees and the visibility can also reduce if the weather becomes misty. Mornings and night can get colder depending on the wind. Make sure to carry warm clothes for the trek, but make sure you can take them off and on easily as you move between sections.”

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Safety tips

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Climbing safety

Volcanic activity:  Mount Rinjani is an active volcano and it would be a good idea to be appraised of local developments before you embark on the trek.

Altitude:  Altitude sickness for travelers not accostomed to high altitudes is comon. It is recommended to climb slowly so that you get accustomed to the conditions. Stopping for a few deep breaths every couple of steps will considerably ease the discomfort. Make sure you have medicine to fight head-aches.

Slips and falls:  This is a notoriously difficult trek especilaly in the summit section where the trail goes up along a slippery edge of the mountain, which drops down on both sides. Make sure to bring trekking poles, and do not hesitate to ask your guide for walking sticks if you are not carrying trekking poles. It is advised to carry high-calorie protein snacks, pain relief creams or sprays and other necessary medication in your backpack. There has been losses of life on this mountain before, and in most cases these have occurred due to underestimating the dangers hidden in the steep boulders and paths. Follow the advice of the guide and stay on the recommended paths to avoid danger.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Personal safety

The Mount Rinjani trek is popular and finding fellow climbers is very common. Though the risk of theft is minimal, climbers are advised to keep their precious belongings like cameras, passports etc. with themselves all the time.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Safety for women travelers

Many solo women as well as women’s groups attempt the Rinjani trek regularly. Lombok is still a relatively conservative corner of islamic Indoensia, so make sure to familiarize yourself with local customs if you’re spending time on the island before or after the trek.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Recommended equipment

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Footwear
  • Waterproof hiking boots. Be sure to use a well-worn pair that you are comfortable with rather than a new pair that may cause unexpected blisters or pain.
  • Hiking socks
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Clothing
  • Lightweight waterproof clothing. At least two pairs recommended if you’re traveling in the rainy season – one that you are wearing and one packed into the backpack for the next day or in case one gets wet.
  • Waterproof windbreaker
  • Scarf:  for protection against cold and wind
  • Gloves:  for protection against cold, rain, and to facilitate holding on the guide ropes
  • Warm cap:  for protection against cold
  • Warm inner clothing, for the overnight stay at the base camp tent if you are planning to trek up in the middle of winter
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Bags
  • Waterproof backpack
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Weather protection
  • Rain coat / poncho
  • Waterproof cover for backpack
  • Waterproof cover for camera
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Sun glasses
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Climbing support
  • Hiking poles
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Navigation tools
  • Headlamps
  • Flashlight (optional)
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Medical equipment
  • Basic first-aid kid, for cuts and bruises
  • Medicines for altitude sickness, headache
  • Insect repellent
  • Knee/ankle supports
  • Muscle-ache relief creams / sprays
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Food
  • Drinking water
  • High-calorie dry food items – chocolates, energy bars, etc.
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Hygene sanitation
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper
  • Wet and dry tissues
  • Toothpaste + toothbrush
  • Personal toiletries
  • Disposable plastic bags for waste collection
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Connectivity
  • Mobile phone(s)
  • Portable battery charger
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Documents
  • Passport (and other IDs): for registration and emergencies

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Support facilities

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Resting stops and facilities

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Rest stops

There are 3 major rest stops along the trek before the base camp at the crater rim. POS 1 at 1,300m, POS 2 at 1,500m and POS 3 at 1,800m. The first 2 rest stops are within easy walking distance of each other and offer short stops for drinks and tea, and will even have local vendors from whom you can replenish your liquid stocks. Lunch and a longer rest break are taken at POS 3 so trekkers are refreshed for the hard climb ahead. Subsequent rest stops along the way are just huts for you to take a break before you lumber on ahead.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Base camp

The Semabalun crater rim at 2,639m is the most popular spot for overnight camping. Your guides will set up a tent here for you to spend the night, and even set up a makeshift toilet is also available for a comfortable – as much as it can be when you’re this high up – night stay.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Guides and porters

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Do you need a guide?

As per the safety regulations at the Rinjani national park safety, it is a must for climbers to take the trek with a licensed guide. It is recommended to book a guide before arriving for your trekking adventure.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - How to find a guide?

A lot of tour operators provide trekking services through their online portals. A quick online research should yield leads to dependable and recommended guides.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Tips while working with guides
  • Read reviews from previous climbers before confirming a guide. Make it known to the guide if appropriate how you heard about them and offer to write a review if you like the experience. This might give them the extra incentive to be attentive to your needs.
  • To reduce costs, look to join groups and share their guide. Some tour operators may also provide discounts on guides during certain months for climbers.
  • Opt for a local person as your guide since they have better understanding of all that the trek can offer. Check beforehand though if the guide can speak good English, so they can engage with you along the journey.
  • Ask for the guide’s ID proof before beginning the trek.”

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Porters

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Do you need a porter?

Porters are generally required while trekking Mount Rinjani as all the facilities from camping to food are arranged prior to the trip. Having a porter take them up for you would ensure you do not have to carry a heavier backpack than what is warranted, especially since you’ll be on your feet for 3 days straight.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - How to find a porter?

Porters will generally arranged be arranged directly by your guides.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Tips while working with porters
  • Communicate with your guide beforehand to ensure that there are sufficient number of porters who will accompany your group to the top, depending on the amount of baggage to be carried.
  • Make sure to communicate a special request to your travel agency, that your porters should bring up portable chairs with them. They will really help to give your legs a break during the rest stops on the way up and down.
  • If you need to have a porter on your team, understand their rates and conditions before embarking on the trip.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Food & water

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - At the start of the hike

Your hotel at the overnight village before you start the treak will offer you breakfast. If you miss it, there is also a restaurant at the Rinjani Trek Center where you can have breakfast before starting the hike on Day 1.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - During the hike, along the trail

At the first two stops on the route, snacks and tea are available for purchase. Hot lunch will be served at POS-3 on the way up – cooked fresh by your guides and porters. Climbers may also wish to carry some high-calorie dry food items such as chocolates and energy bars along for extra nutrition.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - During the hike, at base camp

Full meals – hot and fresh – will be prepared at camp sites by your guides and porters. They usually bring along the equipment needed for cooking so you will not generally need to worry about not having enough to eat along the way.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Network connectivity

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Phone and data (3G) connectivity

There are only few network providers in select parts of the trail, so connectivity will generally be limited. At the crater rim, there is no mobile signal.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Accessibility

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Getting there

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Nearest airport
The nearest airport is the Lombok International Airport in Praya, Lombok, with regular connecting flights from Bali, Jakarta, Singapore etc.
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - From the airport to the starting point

If your start point is Senaru village then you can reach there by taking a 2.5 to 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. Airport pickup and drop facility should be available within your trek packages.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Climbing permits

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Is a permit needed?
Prior permits are required for climbing the Mount Rinjani as limited facilities are available at the base camp. Entry fee is Rs. 150,000 (approx 12 USD) per person.
Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - How to get a permit?

If you have booked your tour in advance through an operator, they will help you in getting the required permit at the Rinjani Information Center right before you start the trek.

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - Special Tips

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - For amateur climbers

tbd

Climbing Mount Rinjani Indonesia - For advanced climbers

tbd

Weather Right Now