Hello readers, welcome back! 🙂 First of all, thanks for the patience. It actually took me quite a while to upload the photos in preparing this part 2 post on my Mount Kinabalu Climb in Sabah, Eastern Malaysia in July 2013. So without further a do, let’s read on~
So after I had a rest in Laban Rata rest house for about 5 hours of sleep, I quickly get myself ready at around 2am in the morning. I didn’t really sleep well but my anxiety and excitement overcame my tiredness to get awake fast. I could feel my whole body aching especially my poor legs. What was worst was that it was drizzling out there and the weather was freaking cold!! All these factors seemed to be like acting against my motivation. Fortunately, I still managed to garner my determination and to sound out within me, “Hey this round 2 will be all the way up to the summit! The last leap, give it all your best!!” Just when I had successfully motivated myself, it was kind of sad to hear that only one of my climb buddies (group of 6) decided to take up the challenge with me. The other 4 friends suffered from altitude sickness and were also too tired to proceed on with the summit climb. Although we felt it would be a pity that we could not complete it as a group, we didn’t want to push them too hard as our guide warned us that the second half will be more challenging than the first part. Hence just left the 2 of us suit-up in our winter clothing and with our strap on headlight checked, off we go to hit the ground for the second part of the climb!
It is not the bad quality of this picture. It truly reflect what it was like – really pitch dark everywhere!
As you can see from above, it was pitch dark everywhere. Although the initial climb was brighter (with everyone strap on headlight on), but as you move further up the light intensity get lesser as other climbers either went way ahead of you or way back behind you. There were also people backing out from the climb along the way.
Tips: For the summit climb, is a very different climb from part 1. Part 1 to Laban Rata is more of a trekking kind, but part 2 to the summit is more of a mountaineering activity! Yes mountaineering! You will face with the challenge of walking on granite grounds which tend to be slippery when rained, steep height and ropes for repelling or climbing. Hence there is a few items that you definitely need to take note:
1. You will definitely need a good strap on headlight. It will have to be waterproof, at least to have 4 LEDs and able to secure tightly onto your head.
2. Bring along your winter gloves, as not only it will get your hands warm but also serve as a good protection against rope burn. Remember I mentioned that you will use rope quite a lot in the summit climb.
3. Be light! Meaning, do not carry unnecessary items such as your bag, your trekking stick and other non essential stuffs (like clothing etc). Leave them in the rest house. You will need to minimise weight as you will need to be agile and as small profile as possible for your climb.
Just 10 more steps to the peak
As you can see from the above picture that although we looked still quite alright, but I must say our climb is definitely not an easy one. It was dark, freezing cold and worst of all, it rained very heavily. To a point, that my guide told us that if it continue to rain this heavily, we will have to call off as no one will be allowed to proceed due to the slippery and wet granite ground. But we still make it! and both of us just wanted to sit and rest while waiting for the sun to rise and cheer with us! My buddy was so cold that he can’t wait to make his way down back to Laban Rata.
Tips: From our attire, you should get a clue on type of clothing protection needed. Winter clothing is a must. If you can, get a waterproof one. As it might rain during your climb, a waterproof attire (including shoes) will make your climb less arduous. You will also feel much warmer up there as you stay dry. My friend on the other hand was not waterproofed. That was the reason why for his countless shivering and complaining too! haha! Oh ya, if possible, bring a small vacuum flask filled with hot drink too. You will be grateful that you had a good hot drink up on top of mountain in the cold weather.
Waiting for sun rise but it did not appear
All the climbers waited but was disappointed as the sun did not appear as a yellow yoke. It was shrouded by thick clouds perhaps due to the earlier rain. But the view was just as magnificent with its absence: The view at top of the mountain, staying above the clouds and looking at the other shorter peaks was just amazing!
A must take picture with the signage
As my friend could not take the coldness anymore, we decided to take a quick snap with the signage as it is a must take picture! Along the way down, I took a couple more pictures:
That’s how slippery the ground can be
The way down. Look at the slope. Imagine we were climbing up this gradient of slope in the dark!
Making way down by holding the ropes.
Not all road with ropes are good, is better to use alternative path. Look at how difficult it is to make the way down!
If the above picture didn’t convince you enough, look at this! Look at the tiny space that you have for your feet. Just one mis-step and that’s it, down the slope of the mountain! Scary
Tips: A good pair of shoes with good grip is a must for the summit climb. You will need to hold on to the ropes tightly when walking down dangerous pathway. My friend almost slipped and fall off the slope! Luckily he did hold on tight to the ropes as per advice. But not to worry, your guide will be beside you to guide you along, looking after you.
Sayat Sayat Checkpoint: Where there will be an officer taking checking your climb pass to verify your presence. This so to prove that you indeed climb your way up to the summit. This is also the point where if the rain persist on, we will be ask to turn back from here.
Tips: You need to make sure you displayed your pass and have your number ticked on his list in order to get the certificate of accomplishment later.
So after a tedious 2 hours way down, we reached Laban Rata rest house. We were so hungry that we quickly asked our friend to pack up fast (even though everyone still took quite some time in packing -.-) so that all of us could have a warm breakfast at the restaurant and proceed on with our journey down all the way to Timpohon Gate.
Climbing down was much faster, it took us on average 4 hour 30 minutes to complete. However, do take note that although you won’t be feeling as breathless as climbing your way up but your knees will be the one ‘suffering’ this round. Climbing down will cause impact to your knees as each step is quite steep.
Tips: Your trekking stick comes in handy again! Use the stick as a support with every step to minimise the impact. This can save you much later pain when you are back to civilisation! In addition, along your way down, you will get to see other climbers going through what you had been through yesterday, climbing up the mountain! Give them your support and cheer along the way. Trust me they will appreciate your effort and reciprocate your kindness with a smile or weak breathless “thank you”.
I have come to the end of my sharing. I hope you have enjoyed the 2 posts just as much as me when I was typing it out.
I would say Mount Kinabalu is definitely in one of my memorable trip list, taking into consideration that this trip is different from my other travel trip which usually consist of only sightseeing, museum hopping and shopping. To me, I felt that this climb was like an adventure trip, an accomplishment made. I would not forgotten the moments when how the mountain challenged my endurance and determination, making me a much stronger person both physically and emotionally.
I would strongly encourage all able person to give the climb a try, especially if you are still young. There is no excuse as I personally witness elders who went all the way up to the summit as well. Through this trip, not only you will be rewarded with a sense of satisfaction, the view up at the summit is also worth climbing for. It will provide you with opportunities for you to learn more about yourself and definitely make you a tougher guy or lady after the climb.
So what are you waiting for? Start asking your friends and planned a trip to conquer Mount Kinnabalu now! More details can be found at : http://www.mountkinabalu.com.
Last but not least, we were so surprise to bump into our university friend on our flight back to Singapore. She also went for the climb a day earlier than us and she stayed on in Sabah for an additional day. It is a small world after all. 🙂
3 of us holding our certificate of accomplishment with a pride and happiness!