Climbing Mount Rinjani in Indonesia.

by Kristine, Co-Director, Jakarta

I find that being in Jakarta really opens up options of places to go around Indonesia for me.  Because it is basically the hub of the country, I can easily catch a flight to just about any other place in the country.
And so it was that a couple of months ago, one Saturday evening, I caught a flight to Lombok because I had convinced myself that climbing Mount Rinjani was a great idea.  Forget the fact that I hadn’t exercised in months, since arriving in Indonesia, in fact.  For some reason that I cannot fathom now, I thought it was a great idea.  I think it was maybe something to do with Indonesia being a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and I thought it would be cool to climb an actual active volcano.  I wasn’t nervous before I started; all I felt was great anticipation for what was ahead.

I booked a 3 day/2 night Mt. Rinjani climbing package and, I must say, my tour operator and climbing guide and porters offered excellent service.  But 2 hours into the climb, I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. At first, it was idyllic – gentle slopes, grassy fields, and a herd of cows with bells around their necks gently clanging as they mooed and meandered and grazed; I felt like I was in The Sound of Music.  But then the slopes became less gentle and the cows disappeared and I was sweating and heaving my way up the mountain.

This would mark the next 3 days of my life.  Going up, there were parts of the trail that were so steep and slippery that I genuinely didn’t know how I would make it because I kept sliding back down.  Like everyone else on the mountain, I slipped and slid my way up and was relived to make it alive and with all my limbs intact.  Descending was just as difficult, and I confess that by day 2 as I stared at yet another ridge to climb in order to get off that darn mountain, I passionately hated myself, since I could have, at that very moment, been binge watching Game of Thrones in a luxurious hotel room somewhere.



Eventually, after much misery, slipping, sliding, scrambling, and American Ninja Warrior style rock-climbing, I made it off Mt. Rinjani.  I hated every minute of those 3 days but I’m still glad that I went even just because I heard the volcano rumbling like thunder then saw it belching out smoke, while I clung to a broken railing trying not to break my fool neck as I snapped a photo.

Sigh.  It was beautiful.


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