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Start with Part I and Part II of this series.

Just because I was too much of a wuss to make it to the summit of Rinjani doesn’t mean you all should be denied the stunning views. Anders, being the mountain man that he is, practically sprinted to the summit — while occasionally stopping to do one-handed push ups — to take all these photos for me. Okay, that’s a possible exaggeration. It was either that or he went up the normal way and came back and collapsed face first back into our tent from exhaustion. I can’t really remember the details. Let’s just move on then, shall we?

Mount Rinjani Summit

Mount Rinjani Summit

Mount Rinjani Summit

Mount Rinjani Summit

Mount Rinjani Summit

Mount Rinjani Summit

I’m so very glad that I remembered to hand Anders my camera when I turned back. Didn’t he do an amazing job? Seeing these photos did give me a pang of regret — it truly is an unbelievable view from up there, and what a fantastic feat to accomplish.

And then I look at these two photos, and realize that getting to the top would have meant three hours of ascent, the last of which would be spent slogging through this:

Mount Rinjani Summit

Mount Rinjani Summit

Our guide cracked me up. Once everyone was back at camp for breakfast, I made him and Anders stand together so I could get the picture I had been dying for since we set off the first day.

Sadly, photos of Anders and I aren’t too far off this.

Trekking Rinjani Guide

If you decide to trek Rinjani, be prepared for monkey overload. I loved them — they reminded me that we were somewhere exotic, as truly the rest of the scenery wouldn’t be out of place in North America. However, they did seem to border on aggressive and they were pretty hardcore scavengers of anything left out in the camps.

Monkeys on Mount RinjaniYou can see Bali’s peeking through in the background!

Monkeys on Mount Rinjani

Monkey at Mount Rinjani

Camping on Mount Rinjani

Once again we were on of the last camps to get going, so once we had packed up and were waiting on the porters and guide, we filled the time with what else… taking pictures.

Crater Rim Rinjani

Trekking Mount Rinjani

On the right Anders is doing an excellent demonstration of the classic, “Please don’t take any more photos, I’d rather go back to the summit again than sit here for one more single moment” face.

Rinjani-Last-Day
Rinjani-Last-Day

One thing we were very sad to note was the amount of garbage not only at the campsites, but also by the lake, on the trails, etc. It was really devastating to see such a beautiful place desecrated like that. I wish we had brought some trash bags.

Garbage on Rinjani

Finally, it was time to get moving. Anders, along with most of the group, had already done a three hour ascent and a two hour descent before breakfast. We still had another five and a half hours of downhill trekking ahead of us to reach the nearest road. We said goodbye to the beautiful views and off we went.

Trekking Mount Rinjani

Rinjani Trek Day Three

While I normally quite enjoy downhill hiking, as I’m not out of breath and therefore able to carry on a conversation, this was quite brutal. My muscles were so tight and sore from two prior days of up and down, and so I ended up doing a very attractive “robot-walk” all the way down the hill as my knees didn’t really want to cooperate with bending.

We were very, very ready for a lunch break when the time came.

Rinjani Trek Day Three

Rinjani-Last-Day
Rinjani-Last-Day

so were the monkeys hanging out with us

Unfortunately we were pretty stressed for the second half of the day as we realized there was no way we were going to make the last public boat to Gili at 4pm. And then I realized that I had lost our keys and had to walk in stony silence for an hour to keep from bursting into tears. Exhaustion does funny things to a person.

Rinjani Trek Day Three

Flowers on Lombok

I was never so happy to see a road in my life. Victory! We all piled into a pickup truck for a ride back to the shop where we started, and then another very long ride to the pier, where a private boat was waiting for us. Why our guide did not convey this situation to us remains a mystery — I can only conclude that the man was a serial information hoarder that rejoiced in the confusion of his foreign charges.

But we had made it. Mission accomplished.

Lombok Sunset over Bali

Lombok Sunset over Bali

Are you planning to trek Rinjani as well? Awesome! I had a hard time finding information on the trek prior to our departure, so I wanted to be sure to share some of the tips I was looking for.

• I wrote down a list of all the things I wish I had with me every night, and that I plan to pack for the Inca Trail: Camelbak Reservoir to make water drinking easier, blister pads for the inevitable, plastic bags for garbage and dirty laundry, a solar iPhone charger in order to access my music, wet wipes, my Scottevest for easy pocket access, a hat for the cold nights, a SteriPEN for sterilizing spring water. And a few things I was SO grateful to have: flips flops to change into at night, cashew nuts and peanuts, and sunscreen and chapstick.

• Bring sunscreen — and wear it! I ended up with the nastiest sunburn I’ve had in years on the third day. High altitude equals serious burns.

• Definitely bring some high protein snacks along to supplement the provided food. I found dinner and breakfast to be a decent mix of rice, noodles, and some vegetables and eggs. Breakfast, however, was just white bread toast and an (inedible, in my opinion) pancake.

• Be sure to have explicit understanding of exactly what is included in your fee — but also bring money to tip! We paid one million rupiah each, or about $100, for our three day hike. We specifically asked if jackets were included and were told yes, though when we arrived in Lombok the company tried to charge us for them. We stood our ground as we needed the cash we had to tip the porters and guide.

• I realize this tip is laughably vague, but here goes — if you are traveling via Gili Trawangan, I highly recommend booking through the no-name shop that sells the fresh banana coconut bread, across from the smoothie stand. I was a frequent customer of theirs during my time on Gili, and they are always fair and friendly. Other shops charge 1.3 million and you have to bargain your way down to 1, but these guys just give you the real price right off the bat.

• Wear broken in shoes. I definitely think hiking boots would be preferable over sneakers — especially for reaching the summit — but what’s even more important is wearing something broken in. I wore my comfortable, well-loved sneakers and skated by with the bare minimum of blisters.

To wrap things up, I’m too excited to share this video Anders made of our trip using nothing but his GoPro! I might be biased, but I think it’s a must-watch — my favorite moments are our Vodka Joss toast at the crater rim, the bubbling waters of the hot springs, and my teeth baring contest with a monkey.

Would you hike Mount Rinjani?

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125 Comments...
  • Skúli
    August 30 2013

    This is something I might do! Just came from Mount Merapi in Java and loved every second of it…well maybe not climbing in volcanic sand at a (probably)50 degree angle.
    Absolutely stunning photos and I look forward to seeing the video when I get a decent wi-fi.
    Skúli recently posted..Kandy and the Hill Country of Sri Lanka

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      Wow, sounds like quite the climb! I’d love to make it to Java at some point. Hope you get to good wifi soon (I know that struggle all too well!)

  • Kristen Noelle
    August 30 2013

    This has been magnificent to read about. Out of this world photography!

    Excellent video Anders!! The background track is perfect.

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      I’ll pass on your compliments 🙂 Thanks Kristen!

  • Bryan Lowry
    August 30 2013

    Video turned out great. Gopro’s are so nice and easy to take along.

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      I can’t believe the quality that comes out of such a small camera! It’s really amazing.

  • Ron
    August 30 2013

    I enjoyed this entry!

    Too bad the trail has so much garbage, a real shame. I hike a lot in Colorado, and ski, and seeing trash is rare. Other countries should follow this example. I carry a bag and pack out trash if I run across any. Growing up we had the ‘Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute!’ slogan. Corney, but I grew up with it and live by that silly motto to this day!

    Aside, the video locked up my computer. I was able to watch it on the Vimeo.com site no problem. I really enjoyed the video. Say thanks to Anders.

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      You are right, the US Parks system does a really wonderful job of keeping our National Parks quite pristine. It’s one thing I would love to see other countries take up as an example. Though as that famous scene from Mad Men where the family leaves all their garbage behind blowing in the wind after a picnic shows, I don’t think we were always so enlightened!

  • Rika | Cubicle Throwdown
    August 30 2013

    Holy epic video Anders!! That looks awesome. Such a shame about the trash though. I love the photo with the guide haha. We have a dive site called Too Tall Too Small and it made me think of that 🙂
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..Capture the Color Contest!

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      He will love reading all these comments, thank you 🙂 And yes, really sad about the trash, I wish we had known and brought garbage bags… though it would have been just a drop in the ocean.

  • Amanda
    August 30 2013

    Love the video!! I have a GoPro and I have used it a grand total of two times… I really need to break it out more since I’ve seen some awesome results, and I love the fun fish eye of it. My boyfriend went scuba diving here in California recently and he was swimming/playing with sea lions. I’m so mad I didn’t make him take the GoPro!
    Amanda recently posted..Colorado Bound!

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      Ahhhh, I am dying to dive with sea lions in Lima! It’s very high on my Peru bucket list. Sounds like an awesome experience!

  • I just can’t get over how beautiful this place is…it truly has to be one of the most amazing places in the world!!! Looove the monkeys!!!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Andi’s Pick: Palmetto Bluff

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever been!

  • Sarah Somewhere
    August 31 2013

    Hi Alex congratulations on completing this challenging adventure! I really do encourage you to not see your very real anxiety as a weakness!! Whilst I am all for overcoming fear, sometimes we have to accept and even embrace our limitations on certain things. I had a very unexpected, extended panic attack on a scuba dive that was completely out of my control, yet absolutely loved sky diving! Sometimes it doesn’t seem to make sense why certain things don’t agree with us and I commend you for how far you got and for taking care of yourself!! Big hugs!
    Sarah Somewhere recently posted..Thank You

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      Thanks as always Sarah for your wise words. I’m sorry to hear about your scuba diving experience, though glad you didn’t have the same panic I did over sky diving 🙂 I like what you’ve written here and I’m going to use this phrase — embrace your limitation — often!

  • Steve
    August 31 2013

    Great photos and video. It was as though I was there, without the aching limbs.
    Steve recently posted..Photo of the Week – National Day, Budapest

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      Ha, and without the three days of sweat, dirt, and sulfur water caked on 🙂

  • aftri
    August 31 2013

    I looooove the video! nuff said!
    aftri recently posted..Perjalanan ke Swedia Part 3

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      Thanks Aftri 🙂

  • Heather
    August 31 2013

    Great honest post about your experience, I really liked the lack of sugar-coating. Thanks for the tips too, sometimes it is really difficult to find out info before you do stuff like this! Well done and congratulations all around. 🙂
    Heather recently posted..Chinatown Street Festival

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      Yup, it is — believe me, I looked! Sometimes I’m shocked when can still I discover things that haven’t really been blogged about 🙂

  • Dad
    September 1 2013

    Terrific three part post, stunning views, and the video was frosting on the cake. I am sure anyone who reads this before launching on this same adventure will be better prepared as a result. Good work!! Love Dad

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      Thanks Dad! I’m so grateful to Anders for doing that video so I could just focus on photography. It was perfect teamwork for this series!

  • Melanie Fontaine
    September 2 2013

    What amazing views! I really love hiking, so I would love to hike Mount Rinjani one day, but at the same time I’ve never gone on a hike quite that strenuous, so that’s a bit intimidating. It looks amazing, however!

    xx
    Melanie
    Melanie Fontaine recently posted..Weekly Wishes #7 – Stop caring about what other people think

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      With enough time to prepare I think most people could make it to the Crater Rim of Rinjani! I was able to manage it and I was pretty out of shape for my body at the time. The summit, however, is another story!

  • Hogga
    September 3 2013

    wow this sounds amazing!

  • Sky
    September 3 2013

    Those photos at the end are absolutely stunning!

    Monkeys make me uncomfortable – they look so cute but they can turn aggressive quickly and I’m always afraid of being attacked!
    Sky recently posted..Things I Love: Beaches and Sunsets

    • Alex
      September 5 2013

      Ha, that is true. Stay away from the Monkey Forest in Ubud and every part of Lopburi in that case!

  • TammyOnTheMove
    September 5 2013

    Amazing! I would love to hike Mount Rinjani. I love the photos from the summit. And those monkeys-sooo cute! Which tour operator did you book with? Can you recommend them?
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Going native – A traditional Khmer photo shoot

    • Alex
      September 7 2013

      Hey Tammy! I just booked with a random travel agent in Gili — the guy I bought coconut bread from every day! Ha! There aren’t really distinctive operators. You just book with an agent in Gili and they send you to another one on Lombok. It’s hard to know who you will end up with.

  • Pamela
    September 6 2013

    It looks way too awesome! Makes me wanna go hiking in Mount Rinjani to see those amazing views. However part of me is not sure if I am able to complete it considering what you have posted in your previous entry, I am afraid I do not have the stamina.

    What kind of training should one do before going on these kind of hiking trips?
    Pamela recently posted..Statistics and Thoughts concluding United Kingdom 2013

    • Alex
      September 7 2013

      Hey Pam! I am gearing up for hiking the Inca Trail right now and other than breaking in the shoes I am wearing, I am just doing my regular routine of short-distance running and basic weight training. I think being generally fit will make the entire experience more pleasant. I’m sure you can make it to Rinjani too… good luck! 🙂

  • Kristin Addis
    September 7 2013

    I just did this! I have to say, the trek to the top was A LOT more than I had bargained for. Definitely a test of will. For each 2 steps forward I took one back. It was frustrating but worth it!
    Kristin Addis recently posted..Everything I Travel With

    • Alex
      September 11 2013

      You go girl! I’m amazed by anyone who tackles this bad boy.

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    September 10 2013

    While we were diving Komodo (!) we shared our dive boat with a guy from the Netherlands who had done the Rinjani trek and while he said it was quite beautiful, he also said that he had never experienced a trek as busy as that one AND he was really put off by all the trash he encountered on the paths. After a year in Asia, I’ve come to realize that it’s more unusual to visit places without garbage, but his report was the first I had heard of the rubbish problem. I’m glad you mentioned it, because while the pictures you have shared are really gorgeous, if the garbage is as pervasive as you’ve shown, I can imagine that many people would show up and feel a bit scammed.
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (& More!) About: TAIWAN

    • Alex
      September 11 2013

      The campsites were definitely busy, though I guess I wasn’t too taken aback as it was peak hiking season. And when we were actually on the move I rarely saw other people…. maybe they were too far ahead, ha! The trash on the other hand did shock and sadden me. It is weird to have to angle your nature photographs so that they don’t include heaps of garbage…

  • Camels & Chocolate
    September 11 2013

    Wow–amazing views! I’ll have to add this to my trip plan, too.

    • Alex
      September 12 2013

      Ah, I would love to read the Camels and Chocolate version of this! I’m sure you and SVV would be much more prepared than I was 🙂

  • Lindsay
    September 19 2013

    I like the videos you have been adding!

    • Alex
      September 19 2013

      Thanks Lindsay! I definitely have Anders to thank for that. 🙂

  • Lisa
    September 19 2013

    Hi,

    Thanks for the post, came back from the hike yesterday and used all your tips, even booked at the place you recommended. Trying to recover from sore legs on gili t today :).

    • Alex
      September 20 2013

      Hey Lisa! So glad you found this useful! Good luck with the recovery, and congrats!

  • Candice
    September 24 2013

    Hey Alex, wonderful blog! I’ll be doing Rinjani next week – thank you for all your helpful tips. I’m super excited after reading about your experiences. And great video by your boyfriend!

    • Alex
      September 25 2013

      Good luck Candice! So glad these posts could help a bit! You’re going to love it 🙂

  • CarlaZ
    September 25 2013

    I love the video! I know it will be difficult to add this to a trip (so little time!) but I am sure I will never forget those pictures

    • Alex
      September 25 2013

      You are right, doing video takes so much time and effort! That’s why I am so luck to have Anders there to do them for me sometimes 🙂

  • Jaanus
    October 5 2013

    Exactly as I remembered it 🙂 Good post!