Trekking To The Crater Rim Of Mount Rinjani
The active volcano that is Mount Rinjani is located on the Indonesian island of Lombok. It peaks at 3,726 meters above the sea level and is the second highest volcano in Indonesia, put out only by Mount Kerinci which is 79 meters higher. These are not the tallest peaks in Indonesia however. There are at least ten peaks higher than Rinjani to summit within Indonesia. That should give you some confidence that you're able to make it to the summit of Rinjani, right?
In late July 2018, the island of Lombok was rocked by an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 and a week later an even larger earthquake hit which was the largest ever on record for the island. Sadly a lot of people were displaced, injured and killed from this disaster. This caused the entire trail to be shut down for some time before reopening in 2019 for treks to the crater rim. This shortened the trek from the common three days down to two days and offered a great option for those looking for a scenic multiday trek that would still be a challenge.
I went to climb Rinjani in 2019 so this will be a breakdown of how to reach the crater rim of Mount Rinjani. Which is still a worthwhile and enjoyable trek.
As of April 2020, the summit is open again to the public and operators will now take you to the peak if you wish.
Where To Start
Sembalun or Senaru. These are the two options. Sembalun begins at a higher elevation and is the common start for those wishing to summit. Senaru starts at a lower elevation and winding up to the southwest of the crater rim through forest and tree cover. Senaru is still not fully repaired(June 2020) So starting from Sembalun is the only option until further notice.
Not summitting may sound a lot easier but the crater rim is at an altitude of 2,641 meters. so from whichever location you choose to start from, you will be in for quite a bit of an elevation gain on day 1.
There are hotels from 1 to 3+ star at the base of both treks. Book online or some packages may include the starting hotel.
How Much Does It Cost
Two quick things. A - Unless you are an experienced hiker and have spent time in back-country, I would recommend against trying to summit on your own. For the price and the service you get it is well worth using the experienced guides, porters and cooks. Which brings me to B - Pre-booking your trek isn't necessary before you travel to Indonesia. There are many operators to be found in Lombok or even in Bali. The operators pretty much all offer the same service. Guide, tents, meals, water and equipment porters. It's good to ask for some photos of tents and any photos of their past voyages to get a feel for the service you will get.
For a two day climb to the crater rim you can expect to pay around $150 USD per person for the service. A little higher or a little lower price point may just indicate the quality of your equipment and guide. If you have a larger group you'll likely be able to bring the cost per head down with some bargaining.
How Tough Is It & How Long Does It Take
1000+ meter elevation gain in day in the heat isn't a walk in the park but a moderately fit person is well and fully capable of the climb.
Day 1 -You'll start your hike around 8 a.m. There is forest and shade for roughly a little over half the trek the first day. What's unfortunate is that you'll break out of the shade in the heat of the day. There isn't a whole lot of flat walks during this hike. It's nearly all elevation gain. Water stops and check points along with a refreshing lunch break up the day nicely.
You should arrive at the crater rim around 4:30 -5:30. Enough time to walk around the rim to take in views of Segara Anak crater lake and watch an AMAZING sunset with amazing views of Bali island and the sea or if you're like us, a lush cloud heaven with the tips of Mt, Batur and Mt Agung poking out the top. Enjoy your dinner by dusk light, a bin tang or whiskey night cap and then it's lights out.
Day 2 - Best to set the alarm earlier than 6 a.m. if you want to grab an incredible sunrise. The sun warms up the lake and fields with it glow until it finally peaks over the Rinjani summit and casts an orange glow on everything. If you have a private group it's worth taking the extra time to climb down to the lake and go for a dip. It will depend on your groups hiking strength if you have enough time. Otherwise it's a quick breakfast and back down the mountain.
This can take anywhere from 4 -6 hours. We opted to skip the lunch and keep going down. With a sharp decline the entire time it's worth pointing out to have your toenails clips for the downward. Many people get sore feet, toes and legs from the constant climb down.
What To Bring
This is a light multi-day trek and you will likely need the following.
Outfit for day
Hiking Shorts for the day
Breathable, athletic wear t-shirt plus small sweater for when taking a break.
Light hiking boots or terrain running shoes. You'll want to have these broken in.
Trekking pole (optional)
Outfit for Night
New athletic shirt
Torch or Flashlight
1 pair of comfortable shoes or sandals to change into (optional)
Long trek pants (windproof is recommended)
Best To Have In Your Bag
Light rain coat
Spray for muscle or balm