Plawangan Sembalun campsite, 2:30 AM. My cellphone alarm rang several times. Although I enjoyed my good night sleep, I should really get out of the sleeping bag, it was time for summit attack. I asked my friend Ichi “Dude, what temperature is it?” He answered “6 degree Celsius”. Since our tent had a very good insulation, it was estimated the temperature outside probably 3-4 degree Celsius. At 3:30 AM, the other guys were already gathered outside the camp, eating cereal for breakfast.
After the breakfast, we headed into the dark. Lots of glowing headlamps were filling the trail to the summit. Most of the climbers were doing summit attack as early as 2 AM, so that they’d able to see the golden sunrise on top of Rinjani’s peak. The weather was really good, the sky was clear filled with glowing stars. Since I had a low cold tolerance, I wore 4 layers of clothing: a base layer, a polartec vest, a polar fleece jacket and a soft-shell windbreaker. Underneath my waterproof pants, I wore polar long tight pants and cargo pants, those stuffs were heavy, but kept me warm during the summit attack.
The team took off at 4 AM. After 2 hours of slow walk and several small stops, we finally arrived at the edge of vegetation zone, it was all gravel and rocks with small plants all the way up. The wind blew so hard (probably at 40-50 km/h) that I had to stab my trekking pole deep into the ground to make a firm position.
The last 400 meters was the toughest, it was more exhausting than yesterday when I had to scale 7 bloody hills to Plawangan Sembalun. Rocks and volcanic sand dominated the path to the top of the peak, the 45-60 degree angle track was more challenging because it offered no steady footing. Every 2 steps I made, I had to lose 1 step because of the sandy track. My shoes often buried deep into the sand that I had to give some extra efforts just to continue to walk. The combination between chilling wind and the flying volcanic sand, which slammed my face, made the climb more difficult.
At 9:00 AM local time, I finally reached the summit. I probably had the speed of a snail but I made it anyway, standing there at 3726 meters above sea level, above the clouds, with a spark of victory. I wasn’t conquered the mountain, I was conquered myself.