Sunrise on a volcano

Who would have thought that Lombok is so different from Bali. On Bali I was accompanied every day by hundreds of temples made of black volcanic rock. This was rarely on my visit of Lombok. Numerous mosque characterize the island image.

Yet tourism is not suffering. Numerous resorts are located along the white sandy beaches. Likewise, Lombok is the gateway to the three well-known Gili Island: Trawangan, Meno and Air.

On Lombok I decided to do some more challenging stuff. The island is of volcanic origin and home to the 3,726-meter high volcano Rinjani. Rinjani is the second highest volcano in Indonesia. In October 2015 he had his last eruption. The volcano belongs to the Sunda trench (island arc volcano) – a group of islands that was produced by tectonic plate shifts. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sumatra and Java and the small Sunda Islands belong to these as well.

Rinjanis appearance is shaped by a huge caldera, a crater lake of 230 depth and the small volcanic cones Barujari, which lies in the crater. In the lake are actually fishes, which are eaten apparently by the locals. Furthermore, hot springs for swimming are nearby as well. Surprisingly in this hot water are living fishes as well. They are of a special kind, because they tend to nibble at people. I speak of course not of piranhas but of these species of cleaner fish, which are also used for therapeutic purposes – at least I hope so but I have no damage or so after I was besieged by about 50 fish who have been partly bigger than the length of my finger.

But that was the relaxing part of the three-day trek. The climb itself was more than exhausting. Hordes of backpackers were driven up the mountain. And hordes of porters un flip flops brought 20kg luggage and more to the mountain campsites – tents and food and cooking stuff. They had no single gram fat sandtuck at their body and were often in a better mood than the part-time trekkers who reached panting each milestone.

We started to ascent to Rinjani, the highest point of the Caldera, at 2am in the morning, with a breathtaking starry sky, where one even could see the Milky Way. 100 of flashlights tormented high the caldera to see the sunrise at the summit. This was not so easy, because the path only consisted of scree and sand and had a steep slope, in which one must not be frivolous. In principle, one went two steps up and slided one back down the mountain. 1000 height meters and four hours.
My companion and I brightened up our mood with music, so that we reached on time the Sunrise at the top and wrapped ourselves in the sleeping bag to enjoy the view. The descent went quickly because we applied the just slided down like in powder snow. In the further course of the day we had to descent 1000m to the crater lake and then on the other side climb again the caldera because there was our next campsite.

This link represents what crossed our mind (the ascent to Rinjani is not represented here, but imagine just a few more curses, thoughts of giving up, frustration, motivation talks and the joy and glory on the summit):

I can really recommend the tour to anyone who wants a challenge and a breathtaking view. However, the sight of waste and sewage is annoying. I have often wondered why I pay as much entrance fee, when they do not even have a garbage recycling system. Although Porter and visitors are encouraged to keep the park clean, it still looks like aweful – especially on the campsites.

As always an integral part to enjoy trekking are the people around you. I was lucky because I was with a cool force. Likewise my tent buddy Boris was always a guarantee for good mood, so it never got boring or cold. We met again on Gili Trawangan. But more about that in the next blog post.