The Arduous Trek – Gunung Rinjani (Part 2)

Day 2 Rinjani Summit!!! 
Surprisingly, everyone was up and ready at 130am! All the “see how tomorrow” were gone overnight.. haha.. but, but, but…  our guides were not ready! I’ve been awake since 1am, just lying down in the tent waiting for morning call from our guides but in vain… we decided to show ourselves to them by coming out of the tent and stand around in the cold…
 

All ready to go..

At about 2am, we saw a large troop from other camps walking past our tents towards the start of the summit. Us? waited for another good 15mins or more before we were served coffee and sugar crackers.. simple but I must say it’s divine at that moment.. Finally, our summit trek started at 250am.

The Start of the Ordeal
In single file, we walked quietly, following closely behind Samon. It was soft loose soil at the start and it’s always up and up.  I did not get to look around the surrounding, just concentrating my every steps. Occassionally we stop to catch our breathe and to wait for the rest to catch up. After an hour or so, Samon stopped and told us the hard part was over, it will be gentle slopes before we hit the really difficult summit trail.

Still we continued quietly, the road up was winding in a way, narrow path with big rocks.  People overtook us along the way.. well, no hurry for us.  My target for the moment was to reach the big rocks which Audrey mentioned that they hide there first for sunrise before hitting summit.  Ok, there’s many big rocks around that I don’t really know which was which.. At some rocks, we saw trekkers and their guide hiding (guess they don’t intend to summit), there’s even a couple sleeping in foetus position at one of the big rock..

Tired-looking Chris vs enthusiastic Tony

As we got higher, the wind got stronger.  My pace started to slow down, I am panting really hard.. Than before I knew it, the path opened to the rocky part of the summit climb.  It was loose big stones all the way and looked really steep (think was like 45 degree??) Every 3 steps I took, I will slide down 2 steps. Tiring.. no matter how much steps I took, I am still very far away from some of my friends and Samon.

The group

In the east, nice red-orange hue lined the horizon, it’s nearing 6am and it’s still a long long way to the summit (erm.. I actually can’t see where’s the summit from here).  After about 30mins of hard climb, I finally met up with the rest who with Samon were all resting by a big rock resting, eating orange, biscuits.  The sun peek out from the clouds, blazingly smiling brightly at us.  It’s about 300m elevation to the summit from here. From afar, we can see Mt Agung (Bali) standing tall. We stayed there for quite awhile, watching intently at the beautiful sunrise and we decided to take a group photo here with the Singapore flag we brought along.

Sunrise!

View of Mt Agung from Rinjani

The Final Push
The sun had risen, the path is so clear to us now. Of course, the path up was still steep with loose big stones, it was very narrow at some point that only 2 people can stand side by side.  A wrong steps to either side, you will either fall to death at the forest or at the crater lake….  Tony was now urging everyone to start the final push to the summit.  Yes, better start now, if not I don’t think I want to do it anymore.

Arrgh… the stones here seems to be looser than before? I just kept sliding down, sometime I can’t even stand properly.  It did not help with the strong wind howling at us.  Worst, some inconsiderate trekkers coming down from the summit just zoom past us… can’t they have the courtesy to just stop or slow down when sliding pass us?  Whenever they slide past me, the impact of the wind was so great that i just swayed to the side.. the sand storm they created sometime blind me as well… $#*$@&%@

Top view of baby volcano aka Barujari

Finally, I reached another rest point (another rock) where Tony was standing there resting and waiting for us.  From his watch, it’s another 260m away. When I looked up, it seemed a mirage.. is it for real, it looked so near yet so far.. Tony encouragingly told us, that massive rocks up there is the summit, let’s buck up!

Hitting Summit
I am already physically drained by now. Fatigue started to crawl in, my every steps became redundant, I don’t seems to be moving at all..  it’s really mind over body now, I not going to give up now, not when I am already so near (really??).. I started to run, yes.. run about 6-7 steps up, thou still slide down about 2 steps, but at least I achieved a 5 steps increment.  Yes, this seemed to work for me, after the sliding back, I will just stop and pant hard with the 2 trekking poles supporting me than start over again.  Before I knew it, I reached the massive rocks and Tony did not bluff me, it’s really the summit!

I continued on, saw 2 trekkers coming down, said hi.. than I am out in the open again, I saw Samon stretching out his hand, I walked faster to him and gave him a high 5!  I’ve reached! I’ve reached the summit! Gosh! it was 750am and I am at Rinjani Summit!  I walked further in, taking in the beautiful sight infront of me.. I can feel the tears at my eyes.. gosh.. this was really surreal, I felt the adrenaline rush.. no words can better describe how I felt at that moment standing high at the summit especially after such a painful climb up….

The 6 who finally reach the summit. Well done all!

It was funny actually, other than Samon and myself, there was nobody in sight.  Where’s the rest of the trekkers who had earlier overtook us?  Did they not make it to the summit? I don’t recalled many people coming down while I tried to go up. Anyway… by than Yin, Mike, Zhix, Wz and Tony arrived with the triumphant and relieved grin on their faces.  Especially Zhix & Mike, they were really enjoying by becoming cam-whore at the summit.  Oh, oh… and thanks to Zhix & Mike for carrying up the Soju and shot glasses, who all had a celebratory toast at the summit… Cheers!

I love this photo of Zhix & Mike :p

My battered shoes
~ to be continued ~
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