Mount Rinjani Trekking 2019/2020 – Your Options

Mount Rinjani Trekking 2019/2020 – Your Options

Mount Rinjani trekking. Unlike late 2018 and early 2019, it is possible to go trekking on Mount Rinjani again. As of July 2019, you can go trekking to the Crater Rim and there is even a possibility to get really close to the Summit of Mount Rinjani. Slowly by slowly all the trails to the summit of Gunung Rinjani are opening again. In this blog post, you can stay up to date of the latest news. 

For years a Rinjani trekking has been a popular outing for backpackers who want to sweat out some of the party liquids they have been enjoying elsewhere in South East Asia. Trekking on the second highest volcano in Indonesia has been on the bucket lists of plenty of backpackers and visitors to Indonesia.

Mount Rinjani, in Indonesian known as Gunung Rinjani, is an active volcano on the island of Lombok in Indonesia. The volcano is 3,726 m (12,224 ft) high and on the top, you can find a 6-by-8.5 kilometer caldera, which presumably is 200 meters deep. For the Sasak tribe and Hindu people, the mountain is sacred and religious activities are often done on the mountain. Rinjani is, however, receives the most attention from trekkers. 

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Rinjani, an Active Volcano

Every year, thousands of people find their way to Gunung Rinjani National Park and trek to the crater rim of Gunung Rinjani or find their way to the peak. For years the mountain provided a living for many people on the lower slopes; in the villages of Senaru and Sembalun, plenty of people make their living from the trekkers and backpackers who have found their way to this side of Lombok. 

Being an active volcano, the trails to the peak have been closed from time to time. It wasn’t however until the morning of the 29th of July 2018 that all the Rinjani trails were closed for what felt like an endless time. The long wait is over! Are you ready to conquer Mount Rinjani? 

Rinjani Trekking in 2019 in 2020 – What are your possibilities? 

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Ever since the earthquake of 2018, it has been unclear if a Mount Rinjani trekking is possible. For almost a year all trails in Gunung Rinjani National Park have been closed. In June the news came that it was possible again to summit Rinjani, but although this wasn’t false news, the Gunung Rinjani National Park soon had to release a statement that Rinjani trekking is only possible up to the crater rim. 

In July 2019, however, the news reached us that it is possible again to go further than the crater rim. Rinjani Trekking Center has an option that will take you to 3.500 meters above sea level. This is about 200 meters lower than the summit. Currently, the authorities of Gunung Rinjani National Park are restructuring the trails which lead to the summit, the last bit of the trek that Rinjani Trekking Center has on offer. 

As Close to The Summit As Possible

“Currently we only have a 2-day fast ascent available. This trek approached the summit but doesn’t take you all the way to the peak. At the moment, the trail to the peak is still way too dangerous. Our capacity is limited as we can not always get crew for this trek, but nonetheless, we can offer the trek”, says Putu of Rinjani Trekking Center.

If you want to get as close to the summit as possible, you should book this 2-day Summit Trek. Note that it doesn’t go all the way to the summit, but it does get very close.  

“The point we trek to allows you to enjoy great views all around. It honestly is the best you can get on Rinjani at the moment. The sunrise is mesmerizing from this point and you can see the entire caldera and lake,” Putu says excitedly. 

If you want to see your possibilities for trekking to the crater rim, you can check our options here. Below you can find an itinerary for the 2-day trek which takes you as close to the summit as possible. 

Rinjani Summit or Crater Rim Trek – The Differences

There are two main options to consider when you are interested in a Mount Rinjani trekking. When doing your research, you will read the words Summit Trek and Crater Rim again and again. The differences are not always as obvious as they may seem. The Crater Rim is at an altitude of 2,641 meters and from here you can see Segara Anak, the lake in the caldera, and the summit of Mount Rinjani clearly. The Crater Rim trek can be comfortably done in two days and one night. It is the easiest route for a great impression of the volcano in all its splendor. The sunset from Mount Rinjani is unforgettable. 

On a clear evening, the Gili Islands, Bali, and Mt. Agung can be seen to the west. The same you can see from the Summit of course. The Summit trek is for peak baggers, who those want to climb Mount Rinjani. It’s still trekking. You won’t need ropes or anything similar, but it is the most strenuous version of Rinjani trekking. Although it is easiest to do the Summit Trek from Sembalun, you can also do it from Senaru. Most versions of the Summit Trek allow you to spend more time on the mountain. Although a fast ascent of just two days and one night is possible, most packages have a minimum of three days. 

In short: If you want to see the highlights of Mount Rinjani, the Crater Rim trek can be enough for you. If you want to spend more time on the mountain, tag the peak and get some elevation, the Summit Trek is yours. 

Start from Sembalun or Senaru  – The Differences

There are two main starting points for the Rinjani trekking. The one route starts from Sembalun, directly north of Mount Rinjani, and the other route, from Senaru Village, approaches the mountain form the Northeast. 

The Senaru route is a climbing route starting at 600m, going through the tropical rain forest, which isn’t too hot, but it does give you some solid elevation. The route is popular for going to the Crater Rim, to the hot springs and without having to climb the summit.

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The Sembalun route is recommended for when you want to summit Mount Rinjani or come as close to the peak as possible. The route starts at an altitude of 1.100 meters which enables trekkers to do a fast track to the summit. As of July 2019, the treks that approach the summit are best done from Sembalun. Compared to the Senara routes, the Sembalune route is a hotter route. On your way up you are crossing a meadow, which can be quite the humid experience. 

2019/2020 Rinjani Summit Trek Itinerary

The following itinerary is as of July 2019 an option if you want to get as close to the summit of Rinjani as possible. This trek takes you to up to 200 meters below the summit of Mount Rinjani. 

Day 1: Your Hotel – Senaru Village – Sembalun Village – Crater Rim Sembalun Base Camp

A Rinjani Trekking Center driver will pick you up at your hotel lobby between 04:00-04:30 AM and will take you directly to Senaru village. You will then check in at the Rinjani Trekking Center office, have breakfast, and meet the guide and crew for the Trekking Briefing. They will then take you to Sembalun Village. At the Rinjani National Park Registration Office in Sembalun Lawang (1,156 m) your guide will arrange the National Park entry tickets. 

The trek starts from Sembalun Lawang with a gentle ascent, walking through open grassland, commonly used as a cattle grazing site by the locals. You will rest at POS 1 Pemantauan (1,300), and after about three hours from Sembalun, you will reach POS 2 Tengengean (1,500 m), where you will enjoy the beautiful views of Mt. Rinjani’s summit (3,726 m) while having a tasty lunch. After another hour, you reach POS II Pada Balong (1,800 m), where we start the step 3,5 climb amidst the pine-like Casuarinas species locally known as Cemara. 

We might see evidence of wild pigs and the long-tailed grey macaque monkeys on our way to the campsite at Plawangan II Sembalun crater rim (2,639 m). The crew will set up all necessary gear here (tent, sleeping bag, mattress, pillow and toilet tent) and prepare your dinner.

Day 2: Crater Rim Sembalun – Rinjani Summit – Sembalun Village – Your Next Destination

You need to start at 02:00 AM for the hard 3/3,5-hour climb up to the point just below the mt Rinjani’s summit (3,500 m)  over the volcanic screen. Once there, you can enjoy the satisfaction and the amazing sunrise views across the Wallace Line to Bali, Mt. Agung, and Sumbawa. You will have about 1 hour to take photos and then we will descend to the base camp. 

Return to the crater rim camp through the ridge, passing numerous edelweiss plants (Bunga Abadi). Once you get to the camp, you will be rewarded with a well-deserved breakfast. You will then start the 5-hour descent back down to Sembalun Village. Lunch will be served at POS II or POS I. Trekking will finish at the same starting point of the trekking, where the car will be waiting to take you to your next destination.

2019/2020 Rinjani Crater Rim Itinerary

Day 1: Your Hotel – Senaru Village – Crater RIM Senaru Base Camp

A driver will pick you up at your hotel lobby between 04:00-04:30 AM and will take you directly to Senaru. You will then check-in at our office, have breakfast, and meet the guide and crew for the Trekking Briefing. We will then take you to the Gate of Rinjani National Park (about 1km from the hotel). At the Rinjani National Park Registration Office in Sembalun Lawang (1,156 m) your guide will arrange the National Park entry tickets and then the trekking will begin.

The first hours of the trek are a steep climb through thick tropical forests rich in flora, birdlife and a variety of butterflies. You might see orchids and, if you are lucky, the rare black ebony leaf monkey, known locally as Lutung. Rest stops are taken along the way. Under normal conditions, lunch will be served at POS II.

Depending on your physical condition and weather conditions, the night camp will be set either in the forest at POS III Mondokon Lolak (2,000m) after about five hours climb from Senaru or continue the ascent for another couple of hours through grassy meadows up to Plawangan 1 Senaru crater rim at 2,641m. From the crater rim, you will enjoy sweeping views of the lake Segara Anak (2,00m) and the summit of Mt. Rinjani. Within the crater, Mt. Baru Jari is an active volcano and an island within the lake. It last erupted dramatically in 1994, followed by small eruptions in 2004, 2015 and 2016. On a clear evening, the Gili Islands, Bali, and Mt. Agung can be seen to the west. The crew will set up all necessary gear here (tent, sleeping bag, mattress, pillow and toilet tent) and prepare your dinner.

Day 2: Crater RIM Senaru – Senaru Village – Your next destination

After breakfast, you start your trek back to Senaru village (601 m). Rest stops are taken along the way. Under normal conditions, lunch will be prepared on POS I Extra. After a six-hour walk from the rim, the trek ends at the Rinjani Trekking Center Office in Senaru, where the car will be waiting to drive you to your next destination.

2018 Lombok Earthquake

The island was shaking and as the news emerged, the rest of the world stood still. An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 struck the island of Lombok and 20 people were killed while hundreds were wounded. Just like any day, hundreds of trekkers were on the mountain and as a result of the earthquake, many got stuck and had to be evacuated. A trekker from South Sulawesi, Indonesia lost her life. 

 

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The earthquake was a warmup for the much more destructive earthquake which hit the region a week later, on the 5th of August. This time, a magnitude of 6.9 was registered. This time hundreds got killed, while around a thousand people were injured. Almost half a million people got displaced. This earthquake is the largest and the strongest earthquake to have hit Lombok in recorded history. Gunung Rinjani National Park had already closed the trails which prevented tragedy on the mountain. The mountain lost 15cm of altitude due to the shifting of tectonic plates. 

How To Get To Mount Rinjani 

Get to Mount Rinjani when you are already on Lombok

If you are already on Lombok, you can get to Mount Rinjani by scooter, moped, motorbike or by car. If, however, you are doubting your transport methods, you can also just keep it simple and let your trekking company arrange a transfer for you. This service is included in your trekking package when you are booking through Bookatrekking.com. 

Get to Mount Rinjani by Plane

Mount Rinjani is on the Indonesian island of Lombok and the best way to get to Lombok is to fly directly to Lombok International Airport (LOP), where you can easily find a transfer to the North of Lombok, to either Senaru or Sembalun. Once you are at the airport, your trekking company can fetch you from any village on the island. This service always included. 

Get to Mount Rinjani by Boat

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You can also get to Mount Rinjani by boat. Unless you are sailing the seven seas, most people get to Rinjani by boat from on another island like Bali or West Nusa Tenggara. If you are visiting the Gili islands from Bali, you will easily find a fast boat or a ferry from the Gili Islands to Lombok, where again you will be able to get a transfer to Senaru for your Rinjani trekking. 

Best Season for Mount Rinjani Trekking

From early January to March all Rinjani trekking activities are limited because of the peak of the rainy season. Hiking trails are closed in these months. Any other season is good for your Rinjani trekking. April to October counts as Summer and the rest of the year can be considered the rainy season. The months from April to October are therefore the best months for Rinjani trekking. From July to mid-September it is the high season. 

You don’t have to take into account any potential rainfall as it is unlikely that there will be any. Rinjani trekking is most popular in these months and it is recommended to book accommodation in advance if you don’t have any booked yet. Every trekking company can sort you out with accommodation and if you book a Rinjani trekking package, accommodation is usually included. 

Rinjani Trekking in One Day or Solo – Rather Not

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Some trekking companies offer a one day option for trekking in Gunung Rinjani National Park. Although this may seem like a great option if you are short in time, it is very important that you realize that this is an illegal practice. You will be entering the National Park before opening times. This is strictly prohibited, especially since the Earthquake of 2018. Park authorities need to know who is in the park and therefore registration is mandatory. It is also illegal to enter Gunung Rinjani National Park without a guide. 

Mount Rinjani Trekking Difficulty

The trek to the summit of Mount Rinjani can be quite a strenuous one. At the moment of writing the summit of Mount Rinjani is not fully open, which means that you are most likely to do a trek to the crater rim of Rinjani. Compared to some old school Summit Treks, a trek to the Crater Rim is an easier option. Right? Well, that depends. The Crater Rim is at an altitude of 2,641 meters and this means that you are likely to hike almost 1000 meters in one go. 

Anyone with reasonable fitness is fit for Rinjani trekking. If you are unsure about your level of fitness and have some time at your disposal, it is recommended to opt for longer versions of your trek. 3 days will be easier for you than 2 days. Having said of all that, make sure that you come to the mountain prepared. You are not on the beach anymore and you can forget to do go Rinjani trekking on your flip flops. Use the below packing list to get fully prepared. 

View Points Crater Rim of Rinjani

Climbing Rinjani isn’t just about the climb, the banter on the way up and the adventure. It is about the endless views you can enjoy on the mountain. Although a picture doesn’t do it justice, we will give you an impression of the different views you can enjoy on the mountain. 

Rinjani Crater Rim View [OPEN]

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View from Rinjani Summit [PARTIALLY OPEN]

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Lake Segara Anak View [PARTIALLY OPEN]

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Rinjani Trekking Packing List

If you want to be adequately prepared for your Rinjani trekking adventure, you should bring at least the following items. 

  • Torch or Flashlight
  • 1 pair of comfortable shoes  (Trekking shoes is recommended but if you don’t have any, don’t get a new pair. Choose a pair which is broken in.)
  • Long trek pants (windproof is recommended)
  • Windproof jacket
  • 2 or 3 t-shirts
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • Glove
  • Light rain coat
  • Small towel
  • Camera
  • Hat/cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Toiletries
  • Sun block or lotion
  • Spray for muscle or balm
  • Insect repellent
  • Trekking pole (optional)
  • Sandals (optional)
  • Binocular (optional)

Porters on Mount Rinjani 

When you are climbing Mount Rinjani you are never alone. You are likely to enjoy the services of a guide and there will definitely be porters on your way up to the crater rim or the summit. Porters are the backbone of Mount Rinjani. Without porters, nothing goes on the volcano. If you have ever met porters in Nepal or on Mount Kilimanjaro, you must know that Mount Rinjani has its own porter culture. On the slopes of Rinjani, porters are dressed in nothing more than clothes and flipflops. Some porters even ditch the flipflops and go barefoot. 

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The majority of porters are local Sasak men living in the nearby Sembalun and Senggigi villages. The porters are usually already working on the mountain at the age of 18. Porters can make a living from the trekking industry on Rinjani. It is the major industry in Sembalun and Senaru. One can only imagine the impact the earthquake of 2018 had on the livelihoods in North Lombok. They earn 250-300 USD on average, excluding tips from trekkers.

Porters have excellent mental and physical power despite being heavy smokers. From years of carrying a heavy load, they have large calluses on their shoulders. With baskets attached to a bamboo pole, they fasten their load and balance it on one shoulder, swapping to the other when they begin to feel the pressure.

What To Do After Your Mount Rinjani Trekking

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The best thing to do after climbing Rinjani is to simply rest your legs. Fortunately, Lombok has a lot to offer for a tired Rinajni trekker. You can go sunbathe on Selong Belanak Beach, Sengiggi or you can go to the Gili islands to get the perfect breakaway. Where Gili Trawangang is famous for partying, Gili Air is good for a little bit more than that. Here you can enjoy the crystal clear water and the endless white beaches. Throw your legs in the air, preferably at a corner of the island from where you can see Mount Rinjani, reflect and relax. Perhaps you will regain your energy to such an extent, that you will feel strong enough to tackle Pergasingan Hill. We can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to Lombok.