That night I woke up at two o’clock. As we were warned the first part was murderous. Very steep, dusty. Groups hiking next to each other formed huge clouds of dust, there was no air to breathe. People were sliding two meters down, often falling, you had to pay attention not only to yourself but to others. It was the only part when we were able to go together in the group. When we got the ridge of the volcano it was quieter for a while. A moment to take breath and then further hiking up. It was dark and more and more cold. Despite being on the move it was easy to cool down duo to a fatigue and very strong wind. It would be hard without headlamp. It was better not to look sideways, because the path was narrow. We had to support one of our teammate, she got so nervous about a false step and fall into the abyss, two times she did not want to go any further. In the dark imagination can play tricks. Indeed it was steep, you could fall down, but you would need a bit more than one false step. Once we descended from the summit she said that in the day light it looks completely different.
The way seemed very lengthy, we had to carefully put each step. From a certain point we no longer waited for each other, everyone had to start a fight with himself. The last approach was like the beginning. People moaned, fell on each other, slid down and straggled. Those who still have some energy joked that they will cry if they reach the summit. It was easy to connect with strangers in pain;) My trekking poles went into motion. Despite their help still after each step I slide down, the fine volcanic dust was ankle-deep. It seemed that it would never end. I was additionally burden by the sneakers, I had inside – as I later laughed – half Rinjani volcano; D. Well, it’s good that from the childhood I hang around barefoot, otherwise I would not have survived. I felt every stone on the way, and during the descent fingers hit every rock.
In addition, I did a trick to myself. At first it seemed to me that on a distant summit I already see the lights of the headlamps and flashlights of the first conquerors. It is likely that indeed it was the case. So then I looked at these lights in front of me and I told myself that a little more and I get there. To my disappointment, the time passed, and the brightest light was very far away. I started to fight in order not to surrender. After some time, someone suddenly started talking to me in the dark, that he realized that it seems to him that this torch on the top is a star and he asked me whether it is really not a star. And bam, revelation! : D All the time I was chasing a star. Even though we still had some energy to laugh and so we moved on.
The very summit peak was not easy to reach, you go through a mini maze, sliding down along the walls. The fatigue did not allow to enjoy the success at the beginning. I took a seat among the friends and we waited for the sunrise. It got terribly cold, apparently something around 4 degrees Celsius. There was a strong and icy wind. People began to “sing” something like “sun, damn, come oooon, come on, plizzzz”. I was shaking like a leaf despite trekking trousers and leggings underneath, T-shirts, sweatshirts and jacket, scarves and hood on the head. Gloves I put on already during hiking because I was not able to keep the poles in frozen hands. I missed the hat I lost on the Kawah Ijen.
The sun finally put first beams over the clouds. The scene was beautiful, both sunrise and the crater, which we could see from the top in all its glory, in addition painted with the rays of the rising sun. Cold quickly convinced part of the tourists to leave and people could peacefully shoot photos and movies of the views and themselves.
The descent was not easy, but you could slip down to move faster. Knees barely gave any response, but luckily I had two supports. After reaching the tents, eating a lunch, we cleaned a little bit ourselves from the dust and we went down. It was however the least pleasant part of the trek. The route was steep and covered with gravel. You could not do a single “normal” step, each one ended up slipping. Once even I landed on my butt. Leg muscles were confused not knowing what was happening. I have also seen the spectacular collapse of a porter (there was a myth that such things do not happen). It reminded a crash test aircraft in the desert, which I saw on TV. Fortunately there was no injuries and I was not caught along the way, missed by about a meter. He flew about eight meters down and loosing his flip-flops.
After a long journey we arrived to the end of the trekking in Sembilan. A colleague from Malaysia despite the lack of strength was very brave and reached the top. We supported her, and were glad when she did it, unfortunately, it heavily delayed our trekking. Descent also took her a lot more time and finally we had to revise our further plans. It was so late that there was no chance of getting to Bali, so we decided to stop after three days of hardcore in a nice and small hotel in Senggigi to rest. The stomachs had to recover after accidental drinking of a puddle water (we grabbed the wrong one, instead of drinking water we got the dish washing water). We saw the sand a few swallows later. In a dark tent we could not see that the water in the bottle is yellowish;)). At the end of the trek we took a ride to pick up the backpacks and then another ride to the hotel in Senggigi.
Summary: IT WAS GREAT AND I RECOMMEND TO EVERYONE!
Gunung Rinjani, an active volcano on the island of Lombok in Indonesia; belongs to stratovolcanos.
Geographic coordinates 8 ° 25’S 116 ° 28’E. The height of 3726 m above the sea level
Oval crater measuring 6 x 8.5 km in the west of the crater 230 m deep Segara Anak lake.
The first recorded eruption in 1847., the last in 2015.