Opened my door to a stunning view of Mt. Rinjani majestically standing as the sun slowly blessed the mountain peaks with its rays. I sat and watched in awe at the beauty in front of me. I would be at the rim of the mountain tomorrow morning as I receive the same warmth of the sun.
After breakfast was done, dry bag packed, off I went with Ditte and Pak Alam (our guide) to the start of the climb. It wasn't such a steep start but I could feel my knees starting to hurt, and mind you, it's just the start! 40 minutes in and we got to only the Senaru gate where the climb actually starts! What did I get myself into?
"We did the Sembalun route yesterday to the peak and we tried to climb this route today but it's really tough. Plus my dad found it hard to breath so we turned back"
"Really? This one is tougher than the other route?"
"Yes. We climbed Mt. Kinabalu and this Senaru route is tougher than that. Also it's best if you can run down when you descend as it's less pressure on your legs. Other wise you won't be able to stand the next day"
Okay, now I'm starting to really get worried! Tougher than Mt. Kinabalu? Seriously?
Ditte said that a few times before I had to tell her to stop as she was really making me have second thoughts. I pushed it to Pos 1, which was an hours climb with a rather easy terrain. Took a quick 15 minute break before heading 1.3 km to the Pos Extra, which is a stop point between Pos 1 and Pos 2. Now the hike starts to get really challenging from this point onwards. There is not a defined step but rather tree roots used as steps. Some really high, some steep and in some places it's a steep 45 degree climb on slippery dirt track without any 'steps'.
At this point I could really feel the pain from the fall and my wounds were now starting to open up again plus with the sweat, it was just disgusting and horrible. The porter plus Ditte went forward while Pak Alam kept me company as I ascended slowly. He kept reminding me to take my time as we wound be camping at Pos 3 and not the rim tonight. An hour and a half later, we were at Pos Extra. From here to Pos 2 was another hour and a half, and it just got worse. Ditte and I always went ahead without the porter or the guide as we took our time to climb while they preferred to play catch up. They are really fast climbers, they do this climb almost 3 times a week during peak season!
From Pos 1 to Pos 2, the vegetation is dense but beautiful. If you take your time to climb up, you'll enjoy the change in flora as you go up. It's really beautiful.
As soon as the rain died down, one group carried on with the climb while we stayed back and tucked ourselves into lunch. These Porters and guides are amazing. The cook a simple but very delicious meal, packed with vegetables, protein and carbs for all our meals. Plus I noticed that the porters and guides from the company (Ahmed's expedition) I used are really conscious about the environment. They would pick up and rubbish left behind by others and make sure no rubbish was left behind. Some operators don't bother to clean up after themselves or event their climbers.
After lunch, we continued, what seemed to be a nightmare of a climb up to Pos 3. The path just got worse. It was slippery from the rain and the terrain was just, like I said, a nightmare gotten worse. Some way up the port and the guide caught up to us. At this point I asked them to help me look for a branch to use as a walking stick. Seen many climbers having one and I know it would come in handy when I climb up gravel. They did manage to find me one and boy was it a big help.
Looking for a clearing to pee in it not such an easy task in the forest when you have bugs flying around. Plus having to pee in the dark is just scary. Looking for a clearing and minding the bugs while knowing full well the monkeys are watching you, is just not fun!
We manage to have dinner before it got too dark, plus there were dogs around which kept the monkeys on the trees. Don't know where they came from but I was glad they were here. Ditte spotted mountain mice and there were so many of them too!.
At this point of the journey, we were both really filthy. But as I have learned before wet wipes are a great way for a substitute shower. So wet wipes it was for the two of us before bed. I was glad I took a long sleeved hoody top as it was pretty cold up there'd during the night.
Soon I heard the porter calling for us and serving us tea and cookies before our last leigh of the climb. When I got out of my tent, I was just amazed at the night sky. It was filled with twinkling stars and the clouds stayed clear long enough for me to admire their beauty. Soon we were off.
With torches and my trusty walking stick, we started the climb up. Think it was really challenging as the track turned to gravel. I could really feel it now but I still pushed forward. So many times during the climb I thought to myself that I might stop at Pos 3 and not get to the rim. Even half way up to the rim I wanted to turn back but I knew I didn't come this far to back down. I don't care if I miss the sunrise but I'm still getting up there no matter what. Plus Pak Alam kept reminding me to take my time and not give up as I'm almost there.
The descend however is another story all together. Pak Alam had to help me get down as the gravel was just a pain. I managed to part run, jog all the way to Pos 4. It was steep and it was just crazy to run but I had too if not I knew for certain my legs would give away at mid point. As I ran down the gravel, I took in the warmth of the sun and the view. As you climb up and down, the flora changes and it's just amazing how high up I've climbed. The views are breath taking, you need to get up here to understand what I mean.
Stopped at Pos Extra for early lunch. We were making really good time as we got there about 11 am. I could feel all the muscles in my legs, they were screaming in pain. Perhaps the stop wasn't such a good idea. Think it was better to just keep going than to take the break as trying to make the descend after is far more painful as you have to make up the momentum again.
On the plus side, if you're looking to loose those extra pounds in 3 days, do this climb. I can guarantee you'll loose weight! Everything I packed on from my Sydney trip, I lost it on this climb! Talk about instant weight lost.
Now for a night of relaxation, and waiting for the guys to get here before the islands!
Next up: Gili's! Dive, dive, dive!