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Hiking Mount Rinjani – to summit or not to summit?

DSC_0780I like to think I’m not competitive, but friends who know me warts and all would probably disagree. I’ve always been a happy loser when it comes to a variety of stuff – like team sports, drinking games and life threatening leaps of faith. But when it comes to hiking I’ve had my own kind of inner competitiveness going on, and for those people that love hiking mountains you’d agree, that getting to the top is the whole point right?

DSC_0791Over the years I’ve hiked a whole lot higher than Mount Rinjani and for a lot more days to get there. I’ve felt the buzz of the Nepali Himalayas at high altitude and the feeling of losing my breath in the high peaks of South America’s Andes. This hike would be different and I knew it from the start. I had set my own mission to get to the crater rim – if I happened to feel amazing I would hike the extra six hours in the dark up treacherous volcanic rock to say I’d made it to the summit.

It seemed that along the Rinjani trail every person I met was asking the same thing “Are you doing the summit? Have you done the summit?” I felt the collective hype and kept walking.

DSC_0798When it came to camping on the second night, cold and exhausted with a thick fog of cloud as my view I knew for sure that I didn’t really care about getting to the top for once. I would sleep in until 6am while a few people from our group (waking at 2am) sweated it out doing “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” Happy in the knowledge that me and my bung knee were chuffed enough with our effort and almost identical view from the summit (only 700 metres lower).

Not to mention finally realising that sometimes it’s not about reaching the top, but relishing the point in life where you can say – “good job you, let’s not fall off a cliff in the dark at 4am just to know we tried.”


I do admit to reading way too many reviews from people that freaked out and turned back attempting the summit – lots of mention about loose rock and sheer cliff drops – but maybe I’ve stopped taking so many risks as I head in to my mid forties, maybe I’m finally listening to my body, or maybe I’m just not pushing myself hard enough. Whatever it means, I know I’m doing whatever feels right in the moment and the only person I have to agree with is myself.

I still spent the third day walking about seven hours downhill through rain, slippery mud and general volcanic gorgeousness – grateful to know that with an extra six hours in the same day, I would have been crippled for a whole lot longer than I was!

Would I do it again – absolutely.


For all the wonderful people I met on this trek that busted their pelotas climbing the Rinjani beast – all the way to the summit – WELL DONE! I appreciated your buzz just as much when you returned for that hot cup of tea as if I’done it myself .

For the previous entries about the Mt Rinjani hike you might want to read day one and day two.

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