Gunung Rinjani was the first mountain I ever climbed. And probably the hardest, but not for any other reason than it was where I broke my climbing muscles in so to speak. Once you have climbed one mountain it gets easier. Well that has been my experience.
The mountain is the main feature on the Island of Lombok, the next island travelling East from Bali in the Indonesian Archipelago. The trip took place in 1996, and at that time the island was still largely an agrarian culture, with rich fertile forest reaching from the lowlands, to about halfway up the mountain.
In the featured picture I have used the mountain looks very symmetrical with few feature, but this was not the case. It is in fact an active volcano, and although not erupting, it was still simmering at the time we climbed.
Let’s start with mu dwellings on the island, a typical straw hut, which I found contained some pretty scary insects, a spider the size of my hand, and a hornet living under the bed. Both were removed by a child, probably about 8 years old, the son of the owners. I really can’t think what they thought of me!
Then a shot through the surrounding jungle of the mountain itself.
I met a group of French Backpackers who very kindly asked me to climb with them, They had organised a couple of guides so that made things a bit easier, and it was good company.
In the photo below we are taking lunch on the first day. Sitting here I met my first Rhesus (naughty) monkey close up. He ran in to the shelter and grabbed a packet of biscuits I had and climbed up a tree where he sat eating them one by one out of the packet. Taunting me!
The climb on the first day was arduous, climbing up through the jungle, the way got steeper as we went, until we reached the crater rim of the volcano. This was extremely steep and at the top I met my second Monkey of the day, a somewhat bigger male Rhesus who bared his teeth and hissed at us. We didn’t argue. You may think monkeys are cute, but you wait till see their teeth!
Unfortunately I didn’t take too many photos that day. I was too busy climbing. It was really hard work. We were rewarded once we climbed inside the crater though as a stream runs through with water as hot as any bath you ever got in. A perfect way to unwind tired muscles. Of course with that pungent aroma of sulphur ever present.
We camped in tents and the next morning we made the climb to the summit. Here’s me, getting ready for the day!
A simple task to climb up the ridge you can see rising behind me. Not so simple, the mountain is 3726 meters high. That’s a fair old climb, and the perspective of distance gets misleading with these heights.
Below a shot form the climb, looking out over the clouds below, lightening flashing through them.
Looking back down the ridge.
And of the group of us only me, one of my new friends and a guide actually made it to the top. My fashion sense has changed somewhat from those days!
These next shots are taken looking into the crater below, where we had been the previous evening. You can see it gently simmering, hence the warm stream.
And a couple more of the island taken on the climb
The funny thing is, it took about three hours to climb up that ridge, but 20 minutes scree running back down the side of it. Legs that barely made it to the top felt great with the euphoria of making the climb, gravity assisted on the way down of course.
I hope you enjoyed.