Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mount Kinabalu 2012

Scaling the highest mountain in South East Asia has always been one of my childhood dreams. And unfortunately for me as the youngest kid in my family it's always difficult for me to attempt anything adventurous. Like many of my recent trips though, my parents were oblivious of my Kinabalu adventure.
A piece of advice: if anyone out there wants to book a slot, make sure you do it at least six months ahead. The best time to visit, according to the mountain guide, is around April, when the rain is few and far between.
We were extremely lucky because September is supposed to be the rainy season, but there was no rain when we were there. Do exercise, train your muscles and prepare your mind for the trip.

2 hours 37 minutes!
The journey I must say, was INCREDIBLY exhausting, especially while carrying a 10kg backpack and a swinging lunchbox behind me. There were a lot of resting huts along the way so we rested as much as we could. When we arrived at Layang-Layang hut it was already so cold we could not walk around without our windbreaker.

This is what you get for going up to Laban Rata everyday.

Pitcher Plant
Oppan KK Style.
Along the way I kept looking for signs of mushrooms and butterflies but there were none. I was expecting at least some butterflies up until 2000meters above sea level but all I could notice was rubbish. Okay there were not a lot of rubbish but still I could see them.

That night at Gunting Lagadan Hut, Kai Wen and I tried to take a shower before sleeping. I failed. The water was so extremely cold I felt numbness creeping into my bone. But Kai Wen went ahead and dipped himself like a boss. I really have to compliment him for his courage and determination to clean himself before sleep. As for me, I could only wet the towel and wipe myself clean. But even that was almost too much for me, I had to rest the towel on my hand to raise its temperature before wiping it on myself.
Low's Peak. Named after Sir Hugh Low.

We woke up at 1:30am the next morning and heard it was -3 degree outside. It was dark, cold, and slippery. The final 1.6km was... if there's anything like hell on earth, I bet this is it.
I reached the false peak at around 550am, and walked slowly towards Low's Peak. At one point I was so tired and cold I thought about the possibility of dying there, if there were nobody around and my windbreaker got blown away by the strong wind--seriously, if you're not prepared, you will die there.

It took us only 1:30 hours to descend to Laban Rata for the breakfast, and another 2:30 hours to reach the Timpohon gate. The downward journey is always easier, but the constant impact on my knee prompted involuntary jerking and ligament pain which lasted up to three days after returning to KL.

I spent the next day venturing around KK town, searching for food, visiting the state museum and local market.

Inside the Philippines' Handicraft market
These seated people take orders to mend your clothes
Gaya Walk

It was a short but deeply satisfying trip. And most importantly, I've come to realize first hand how weak and vulnerable humans are in the face of Nature.
But again, I'm really glad that I made it to the top. What a way to celebrate Malaysia Day =D.


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