Mt. Rinjani will be closed to climbers early next year
Mount Rinjani in Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) will be closed to climbers for three months from Jan. 10 to March 31, 2014 because of bad weather.The closure has been an annual agenda of Mount Rinjani National Park (TNGR) to ensure the safety of foreign and domestic visitors.
"We are planning to close the national park for three months next year or until the weather improves," Mount Rinjani National Park chief Agus Budiono told The Jakarta Post Travel on Monday.
"Based on what happened over the last few years, the rainy season will probably peak during those months and constant heavy rain is expected, so climbing the volcano will be too dangerous due to slippery tracks as well as falling trees," Budi added.
The national park will use the closure period to fix the trekking paths such as grip pipes and direction signs along the volcano's tracks including the Senaru track in North Lombok and Sembalun track in East Lombok.
"So that when we open again next April, visitors will enjoy their trip even more," said Agus.
A clean-up process will also be held during the closure.
According to NTB Cultural Agency head Muhammad Nasir, the clean-up will begin weeks before the opening date on March 31 and will involve local communities as well as regency administration agencies.
"The clean-up process will become a routine activity in addition to helping Mt. Rinjani prepare to become one of Indonesia's geo-parks," added Muhammad Nasir.
At present Mt. Rinjani is one of the favorite locations among foreign and domestic tourists who come to Lombok other in addition to the three Gilis islands in North Lombok and Senggigi in West Lombok.
With a height of 3,726 meters above sea level, Mt. Rinjani is the second highest volcano in Indonesia after Sumatra’s Mt. Kerinci. Its peak is located on the eastern part of the caldera, where a new active volcano has emerged.
Apart from its beautiful scenery, Mt. Rinjani has Segara Anak, a lake in its huge crater, which has been formed over time by eruptions. Near the lake, there is an active volcano called Mt. Baru Jari.
The base of Mt. Rinjani is also home to the Sendang Gila and Tiu Kelep waterfalls. It is located in Senaru village, a village where most Rinjani climbing activities start, in Bayan subdistrict in North Lombok and is part of Mt. Rinjani National Park.
Although the Mount Rinjani National Park always closes for three months each year, the number of visitors coming to the volcano has generally increased from year to year.
According to Mount Rinjani National Park , from April to December, the number of foreign visitors has reached a total of 10,400 while 9,100 domestic tourists were recorded. While during the same period last year, the numbers were 8,200 and 10,760.