On my trip to Mount Rinjani in Lombok, which at 3,726 meters is the second highest mountain in Indonesia, I experienced how thin the line is between life and death.

On Mt. Rinjani
On Mt. Rinjani

It’s been a year ago now that I was on top of Mt. Rinjani. It feels like it was today in the morning…my heart rate is up, it has been a long walk from there for the past year. Just a few of you know what happened on Mt. Rinjani. Today I want to share my experience so that hopefully nobody else ever needs to go through it again.

On 7th November 2016 I started a 3-day hiking trip to the top of Mt. Rinjani. Some of my friends had suggested to do the tour as they had been there about 2 years earlier. They told me that it was one of the best experiences of their lives. The spectacular thing about Mt. Rinjani is that at approximately 2,000 meters above sea level it contains the crater lake Segara Anak and also some hot springs. Within the crater is another little volcano named Gunung Baru Jari which last erupted on 29th September 2016. Every year the routes are officially closed from December to March because the routes are even more dangerous when wet. Also, due to the last eruption, the Rinjani National Park and the routes to climb had been officially closed indefinitely but tourists are not informed about it by the trekking tour companies.

The 3-day-tour up on Mt. Rinjani is usually organized into different parts:

1st day: hiking and climbing from the starting point in Sembarun (600 m) up to the base camp on the rim (2,600 m) starting at 8 am and getting to the base camp at 4 pm including rest stops.

2nd day: Getting up at 2 am and start walking with just a head lamp to get to the peak for sunrise at 6 am, then go back to base camp, walk down to the lake before going up to the rim again. Around 11 hours of non-stop walking that day!

3rd day: Watching the sunrise at the rim before starting a 7-hour hike down to Senaru.

It sounds exhausting and that is an understatement. A girl I spoke to who had already done it, told me that when she reached the top she cried from both exhaustion and happiness. I decided to except the challenge and to find out about my own limits. Little did I know that I would end up experiencing my limits in another way…

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Juliane Boll

Juliane Boll was born in Berlin, Germany and never missed an opportunity to travel around the world, get in touch with foreign people and to learn new languages to communicate easier with locals. With her 27 years she visited already 27 countries and lived in 5 of them for longer (Germany, Canada, Belgium, Spain and Brazil). She is a medical doctor but decided to go see the world instead of working in a hospital right now. She will write about her experiences travelling alone.

  • Ang

    Wow.. what a powerful testimony. I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve never met Max, yet he gives off real good vibes looking at his smiling face in the photos you’ve posted. Such a tragedy. I came across your blog post as I was searching the Internet for testimonies from others who have climbed Mount Rinjani. Whilst I am “only” climbing to crater rim and not all the way up to the summit, I’m still a little nervous about going. How would you rate the climb up, and descent back down from the crater rim? Is it dangerous, or would you still recommend it? Many thanks.