Sunday, July 03, 2011

Mount Rinjani - The Peak (Part 4)

Please click here to view photos to the summit by courtesy of ChooTS ... do click Slideshow/Full Screen and hit F11 key for bigger display.

I woke up a few times before 2:00 a.m. – the agreed wake up time for the final ascent to the summit. The wind was blowing the whole night that caused the tents flapping as though someone was trying to wake me up. Wearing three layers of clothing and tugged in the conform of the sleeping bag to ward off the cold, from far, I could hear the wind howled all night; I was wondering how the group would go up the peak with the strong wind.
A wrong wakeup call delayed the ascending journey. After a simple breakfast of Indo instant mee goreng, the group is ready to start the journey at 3:15 a.m.; by then, the wind has calmed down much.
The loose, black sand/stones underfoot made progress very difficult. For every step forward, one would slide backward about the length of one's shoes. Plodding up the steep slope slowly, for every step, I have to thrust the trekking stick into the gravel to prevent further slipping down.

It took four hours of tough ascent before we reached the peak at 7:15 a.m.
 A magical spectrum of colours from the sunrise at 6:30 a.m. while we were still another 45 minutes to the peak

 A fabulous sight to behold -- the shadow casts from the peak of Mt Rinjani

In better perspective of the steeply slope -- walking on a ridge that is fatal if one slips and falls on either side. It requires good balancing ability and also not fearful of height to be able to come thus far!

Choo TS - on top of the world feeling

 Mission Accomplished - At the peak of Mount Rinjani ... Chiew Hong, ChooTS, PK Chan, Rocky, KC Leong, Sharon Tan, Jean Soh, WongKC, Sylvia Chong
In full mask -- Yours truly (KC) and Chiew Hong

While going up, not only that I worried about the steep slope, overcoming coldness, the cross wind and the sliding backwards movement due to the loose sand/stones, I was also thinking hard how to descend the mountain later.

With a technique told by Chiew Hong (heel land first with shoes at 20 degrees incline), it was a pleasant surprise that descending the mountain was easy and with enormous fun. Each time my foot sank safely into the gravel, I could launch the next step without having to halt completely (anyway, it was not necessary). With the downward momentum, much less energy was needed and at the same time, covering a bigger stride. One catch – a lot of dusk was kicked up in the process; besides, sand and stones would get into the shoes where gaiter would provide the necessary protection.

Surprisingly, the descent only took two hours to return to camp site - half the ascending time!!

 Walking on the ridge with the narrowest width stands at about 5 feet wide

  Up Close - Mount Rinjani was last erupted three times on 22 May 2010 ... PK Chan, ChooTS, Rocky and KC Leong
 Yours truly (KC) ... the first camp site (Day-1 trekking) was at the peak of the opposite end of the crater rim

 Perfect shot by ChooTS (refer to the enalarged display in the photo album ... can you see the moon and a lone trekker there?)

The trail to the summit from far ... it really looks scary with the steep slope

Posted by KC Leong

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