lima, peru
The toughest volcano trek in Indonesia
November 2, 2015
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Cookies? Tea or coffee?

It was only 2am and pitch black when the tour guide approached my tent to wake me up. I had been freezing all night and had barely slept. Hell, yeah! I could use all the caffeine and sugar I could get my dirty hands on in order to summit Mt Rinjani.

Tents set-up at the Sembalun Crater Rim Camp of Mt Rinjani
Sembalun Crater Rim Camp on Mt Rinjani

I hadn´t felt that tense in a long time and struggled to stay optimistic. After 7 months of backpacking, I wasn´t in great shape. I had started he trek from Sembalun the day before and was already exhausted from hiking up to the crater rim at 2.639 meters. And that had only been the easy part of the adventure.

Trekking up Mt Rinjani
The “easy part” of the 3-day-trek

No wonder I was nervous. In almost 3 months of traveling around Indonesia I had heard plenty of stories that fellow travellers had told me about the toughest volcano trek in Indonesia.

A porter climbing Mt Rinjani
Porter carrying our food up Mt Rinjani
“The trek was challenging, but rewarding. I recommend enough snacks. Just a positive mind and make the most of it.” Angie from the UK showed me where to find the best pineapple porridge on the beautiful Pulau Weh island
Beer on sale at 2.639 meters
Beer on sale at 2.639 meters
“The trek was amazing for the view from the summit and the varied landscape. I found it really hard.”
Guillaume, a Canadian world traveler I met while I was looking for Orangutans with in the jungle of Bukit Lawang
Stunning views from the crater rim
Stunning views from the crater rim
“The hardest physical challenge I have ever had. And still worth it. Lots of sand and very very dirty. The dirtiest I have ever been, but also the best views I have ever seen. Cover your hair. Don´t think too much about it and just do it.” Lynsey, a psychologist from London I shared a fun Baywatch moment and dark room with in Labuan Bajo
Dirty and exhausted climbing the Rinjani volcano
I´d kill for trekking poles!

“Take more warm clothes than you think. I nearly froze to death on top waiting for the sun to rise.”
Guillaume from France who I will be eternally thankful to for his support on day 2 of the trek

Stunning sunrise. On the last meters to the summit.
Stunning sunrise. Only a few hundred meters to the summit
“The trek was much harder and more dangerous than expected, but also a trek I will never forget and happy I did it. Be prepared to be really sore for days afterwards.” Victor, an Australian musician & DJ I met chilling in Gili Air

Take two steps forwards, slide one down again
“Absolutely wonderful. Really exhausting. But once you make it to the top, there is no other feeling, there is no words to explain how happy you are to make it to the top. The view that you have of the lake is incredible.”
Izy, a Canadian globetrotter based in Australia, we struggled having dinner during a bumpy boat ride to Komodo
At the Rinjani summit at 3.726 meters
Yay! Looking into the crater from the Rinjani summit at 3.726 meters
Only two weeks after I returned from Mt Rinjani the volcano erupted for the first time since 2010.
 

Walking on the narrow crater rim of Mt Rinjani
 
When the volcano erupted, Izy had only reached the crater lake and had to turn around the same way she had come from while the volcano erupted 5 times, bigger and bigger every time. Lynsey wasn´t allowed to continue to the top due to strong winds. Victor had to be evacuated. Their suggestion:
 
Check the weather forecast for wind and eruption warnings.
Back from the summit. Exhausted but happy
I made it! No words
“20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn´t do than the ones you did do.” Mark Twain