The start of our family trip to Indonesia in the June/July holidays 2013 – my dad comes up with the brilliant plan for him, my siblings, my sister’s boyfriend and I to climb Mt. Rinjani in the week before mum is to join us (clever lady)… something he tells us will be a “nice little trek”. Needless to say, he entirely misunderestimated this volcano, and the four days that followed were a fully-loaded, at times gruellingly tough, but incredible adventure. The view from John’s Adventures Rinjani Master accommodation, the morning of the ascent.

Starting in the foothills with high spirits.  Quentin and the little bro soaked through with sweat after the first hour and a half – we haven’t even really started climbing up yet. Cheeky lunch thieves. The porters who came with us carried enough water & food for 4 days, tents, tarps, a toilet tent, firewood, cooking utensils, sleeping bags & mats, and even fold-out chairs and were some kind of superhuman race… They made us feel like struggling weaklings as they would constantly overtake us, even after packing up the campsites every morning, and charge straight ahead, some of them barefoot, chain-smoking local clove cigarettes and somehow manoeuvring the treacherous trails with these insane, surely uncomfortable, wooden beam and basket structures balanced on their shoulders. We remain in awe. The trek would’ve been impossible without them. Q bumming a kretek from one of our porters as we stop for a breather. The first of a few torrential tropical rains that immobilised us during our trek. We had thankfully paused at a small, broken down shelter for a water-break when the heavens all of a sudden opened up. Here there are maybe fifteen of us (two different hiking groups) trying desperately to stay dry whilst standing on a rickety metal platform and huddling like penguins under a tarp one of the guides had the sense to tie down over the meagre corrugated iron ‘roof’. We stayed like this for over an hour, myself only daring to pull my camera out for a few snaps before sheltering my little backpack from the deluge around us. Once it was calm enough to proceed, we continued to ascend steeply, boots sucked into the mud whilst brown rivulets continued to flow down the volcano’s side. Arrival at the crater – it is very cold and the winds that pick up overnight threaten to blow our tents away. Little sister Malika awaiting sunrise after the most challenging ascent any of us kids have experienced. We woke up at 4am and tackled the steepest and most tiring leg of our trek from the crater to the summit. On the summit, awaiting the sunrise.

First light.
Mt. Rinjani’s shadow in the sunrise projecting a shadow pyramid behind it’s summit.

Stunningly vibrant volcanic rock and ash minerals
Relaxing in natural hot spring during our descent. Campfire toasting weary climbers

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