Rinjani Mountain Guide

Mount Rinjani Trekking Guide And Porter
About Mt. Rinjani
Mount Rinjani (Gunung Rinjani) is an active volcano on the island of Lombok. It’s Indonesia’s second highest, after Mt. Kerinci on the island of Sumatra.
Rinjani is the most picturesque volcano we’ve ever seen, as if taken straight out of a picture book. Its summit reaches 3726 meters above sea level and dominates the landscape of the northern part of the island. The crater rim surrounds a sunken caldera with very steep walls and a crater lake with dark blue water. Out of the water rises a perfectly round volcanic cone formed by the last lava eruption in 1994. Inside the caldera there are a few cold springs with drinking water and hot springs that you can bathe in.
Rinjani is a sacred mountain for the Hindu and Sasak people who live around the volcano, and several times a year there are religious ceremonies practiced on the crater rim and on the summit.

Climbing the Rinjani Mountain
Katja and Bojidar climbed Mt. Rinjani in September of 2014 after a long Internet search of the possible routes and the companies organizing the treks. Since there are many contradicting reports online, we wrote this detailed post which hopefully will clear all confusion.
With a guide, in a group, or alone?

For tourists it’s easier and far more practical to join a trek organized by a commercial company. You get a complete package including the entrance fee, guide, porters, food, water, tent and sleeping gear as well as transport to the mountain and back. You can book these packages at any tourist office in any city on the island of Lombok, and they will pick you up from your hotel, do the tour with you, then drive you to the Gilis, Sengiggi, Mataram, the Airport or Kuta afterwards.

How many days and how many nights?
The most popular package is 3D/2N. This means “three days and two nights” and lets you experience two different points on the rim, the crater lake, the hot springs and the summit.
If you cannot spare the extra day or are just making your first experience with higher mountains, then you might want to investigate the 2D/1N package. You will only be able to see the rim and not the lake or the summit, but that’s still an awesome experience.
You can also go on 4D/3N or 5D/4N tours which allow you to see some caves as well as climb slower, but our favorite package is definitely the 3D/2N. On this one you can experience virtually everything that the area has to offer, and you will be rewarded by two sunsets and two sunrises, each extraordinary in its own way.
Actually there is an extra 1D/1N added before the start of any of the above packages, but since it’s not part of the trek, it doesn’t get officially counted. The extra day is needed for traveling from your last location to the starting point of your trek and the extra night is spent at the lodge or hotel of the company organizing the trek. You will have to buy your food on that day, but all other expenses should be included in your climbing package.

How Fit Do You Need to Be?
•    The climb is not for everyone, but if you are healthy, fit and not horribly afraid of heights you’ll probably be OK. Bojidar (age 43, BMI 28) found the climb very strenuous, but doable. On the day of our climb to the rim about 100 other people started and we didn’t see anyone turn back.
•    The biggest physical challenge is reaching the rim on day one. To check if you can do this find a tall building then go climb stairs for 3 hours without a long break. If you find it extremely boring but doable, then you are good to go.
•    Climbing the summit is very difficult, but it’s optional. You can tell your guide if you want to attempt the climb, or if you prefer to stay in the tent and sleep instead. You can even attempt the climb and turn around partway if you don’t feel like continuing. From the 9 people in our group 6 attempted the climb and only three completed it. But everyone had an unforgettable experience!  
•    Descending is even more strenuous than climbing up, and on day three you’ll have to descend through 2626 or 1539 vertical meters (including and excluding the summit descent). That’s a lot, so don’t force it if you have troubles with your knees or ankles.

How much tip is appropriate?
The amount depends mostly on your experience and on how much the guide and porters cared for your safety and well-being, but to us it seemed appropriate to collect enough from the entire group so that the guide and each porter got about 10 EUR = 15 USD.
Do’s and Don’ts
•    Visit the Singgang Gila and Tiu Kelep waterfalls in Senaru on your free afternoon before the trek.
•    If you think you’ll make it up the rim but are unsure of the summit book the 3D/2N package anyway. Days 1 and 2 will show you if you are fit enough to attempt the summit in the darkness. If not, just sleep until 8 am and have breakfast with the rest of the group.
•    Book with a company which provides a level of service fitting to your needs.
•    Check and if necessary recharge the batteries of your headlamp and camera.
•    On your trek take only the things that are absolutely necessary.
•    The descent is long and steep, so cut your toe nails immediately before the tour.
•    Get to know the people in your group — many of them have great travel stories to tell.

Necessary Equipment
•    Good hiking boots or at the very least stable trekking shoes.
•    A headlamp is essential for the evenings and for climbing the summit. Your batteries should last for at least 4 hours, otherwise bring spares.
•    2–3 layers of warm clothes for the nights and for the summit climb. Ideally a down jacket as the top layer.
•    Also for climbing the summit: thin gloves and (if you don’t have enough warm clothes with you) your sleeping bag. You can thank us later. 
•    Sun screen, sunglasses, a hat and a long-sleeved thin shirt to protect you from the sun on days 2 and 3.
•    If you put value on sleeping comfort and are going with a low-budget company you might like to bring your own sleeping bag and sleeping mat.
•    A small package of moist hygienic towels (wipes, towelettes, tissues) for “washing” yourself before slipping into your warm sleeping bag.
•    Dust mask for the summit and the steep dusty descent to Sembalun (will be provided by the more expensive companies).