Monday, August 31, 2009


Last week, SH was on outstation trip to JB. It's a business trip that he needs to do once in two or three months to meet up with his clients located in JB area. He has this love and hate feelings on outstation trip. He loves it as it takes him away from the office pressure for two or three days. He hates it as it's very tiring and the work pressure is still there when clients from KL call for updates on issues!

He always takes the flight to go to JB. However this time around, he decided to drive as he had to include a visit to a client in Pagoh that he had just acquired. So, I left immediately after Subuh armed with an overnight suitcase.

Along the way, after passing Tangkak he was excited as he saw Gunung Ledang from the highway. He pulled over and took this photo. It was only two weeks ago that he climbed Mount Kinabalu and he told himself that he was hanging the hiking shoes until next year. However, he must say that he misses his hiking activity and he just can't wait to resume it after Puasa.

Gunung Ledang from PLUS highway
This is really a mumbo jumbo entry and this blog has become a diary of of all SH's activities instead of hiking activity! Well, what to do, no outdoor activity during puasa month. He still does his exercise though , however it's restricted to gym work outs and he normally halves the routine. Instead of doing 30 mins of treadmill, he'd do 15. Instead of doing 3 sets of 15 sit ups, he'd do 2 sets, so on and so forth.
Anyway, SH finished his appointments early but he was so tired and not really in the mood to buy any 'juadah' for iftar. He decided to have his iftar with fast foods as below. A can of Milo drink, potato chips, chocolate and a bun from Deli France.

As for my dinner, SH went to Tepian Tebrau located near the new Thistle hotel. It's his third time coming to this hawkers centre. The funny thing is he always goes to the same stall, the first stall next to the signboard to have my ikan bakar.

Tepian Tebrau
Yummy ikan bakar and iced longan
And here too that SH discovered baby crab. It's served deep friend coated with flour. Very nice and crunchy. For the first two occasions, he ate it with the company of a friend/boss and this time around he ate alone and he ordered the same serving of baby crab. After having too much of it, he felt as though he was eating 'cekodok' with crab favor. He He He!

Baby crab

Friday, August 28, 2009


One day before Puasa, we went for an office picnic to Hutan Lipur Sungai Tua, Ulu Yam. Located 20 km from Batu Caves, the Hutan Lipur is a beautiful place suitable for weekend picnic. The place is clean and well maintained. The attraction is the stream with its clear cold water. There is also trail for hiking. I didn't go for it due to constraint of time.

We had games in the morning and the limited time in the afternoon after Friday prayers was filled with 'fun in the water' with colleagues.

We passed Batu Dam before reaching the place. All four of us in the car was screaming with joy when we saw the lake. It's beautiful and very scenic. What else, we stopped for photo shots.

Batu Dam - it was early in the morning and it looked misty

Batu Dam - I took this pic using my friend's DSLR cam

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Day 3
I had a good sleep and rest in our private room facing the mountain. The mountain remained a mystery to me. Mid-way through my sleep I woke up realising that the room was getting warmer. The heater was working and I had to remove my jacket and socks. The heater started at 8pm as per the notice in the room.

I woke up at 1am, very excited to resume our journey to the summit. I knew it then that the mountain especially the peak would no longer be a mystery, in just less than 1 hour we will uncover and conquer it! Yes!

We went down to the cafe for our supper. We had to wait for a while before it was served. While waiting we noticed there were a group of Malay guys and girls (we knew they were Singaporeans on the way down from Laban Rata later on) looking ready for the final push too. By the way, I never mentioned in my previous posting on Day 1 & 2, being at Laban Rata especially the cafeteria was like being in a foreign country. It was full of foreigners especially Caucasians of various nationals. I got acquainted to a couple from England (having a trip around Malaysia that included Endau Rompin and Beserah beach), Austrian couple who spoke good English and a Scottish at the peak who was taking a six month leave touring around globe!

The gate opened at 2.30am and we left immediately after supper at around 2.25am. For the final push, we changed the climbing gear, in my case I wore three layers of clothing that included sleeveless singlet, thermal shirt and windbreaker. Not to forget I also put on winter cap with headlamp strapped to my head. Not sure about the weather at that time but it was very cold, it must have been less than 8 degree Celsius.

At first we had to walk up endless wooden staircases until we reached the rock surface that was strapped with big rope as our guide. Since it was dark and we were not familiar with the trail, the rope helped a lot and we never trailed far from it.

The picture below was taken one hour after leaving Laban Rata. It was raining a day earlier, so the trail was wet.

I must say that it was very challenging for me to ascend to the peak as I felt it was very steep and I was panting and had to stop like every 5 minutes. The weather was getting colder and the oxygen was getting thinner. At times, I could hear my heart beating faster pumping oxygen to the rest of my body. And I could also feel that my brain gaping for more oxygen. I was asphyxiated! When that happened, I stopped and asked my climbing buddies who were ahead of me at times to stop and rest. We must have made a lot of stops, even though we were the first to leave the gate but there were like 15 Caucasians overtaking us with their long and consistent pace.

The rope was used as guide only as you can see from the picture below. I didn't use it to climb the rock surface. At this time, I realised what a good pair of hiking shoes were for. Good shoes must have good grip or else the rock surface could be very slippery. From behind I saw a lot of moving lights, they looked like fire flies, these are the other climbers trailing behind us. Half way through I was lucky enough to see a shooting star. It was very fast and I couldn't take out my camera to snap the picture though. The moon looked so bright and beautiful too! Indeed it was going to be a bright day and I thanked Allah the Almighty for that.

We reached the KM8 around 4.45am, 2 hours 15 minutes after leaving Laban Rata. From here onwards, we were already far ahead and no more super fit Caucasians overtaking us. There was another 0.5km to reach the summit and I was getting more and more excited. However, I must say that it was the longest 0.5km ever in my hiking experience!

We made it to the summit at 5.30am, completing the journey within the average of 3 hours. By the time we reached Low's Peak (4095.2m asl), it was full of people who were ahead of us resting with their sleeping bags on. Ciss!! They were really blocking the way for other climbers who reached later to get their picture taken with the summit signboard.
Yes! Yes! Yes! I reached the peak of Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in South East Asia.

We managed to squeeze in amongst the crowd to take picture as proof that we had reached the peak and found good spot as well to wait for sunrise. The sunrise was spectacular and beautiful.

We took picture of some of the other peaks too. The peak that attracted me the most was St. John's peak. It looked like a skull anticipating for more deaths! It looked so scary.

Below is the picture of the peak from another angle. There were still climbers up there at the peak and in fact there were other slower climbers who were reaching the summit then! Congratulations to all! And congratulations to me and my buddies too!

On the way down, what looked so scary and challenging earlier looked a lot easier as the day was getting brighter. While others were rushing back to Laban Rata, we had fun time relaxing and taking more and more pictures.

We made it back to Laban Rata for breakfast at around 8.30am. After having a short rest, we were ready to descend to Timpohon at 10.00am. It took us 3 hours to reach Timpohon gate.

As a summary, we enjoyed the trip, as far as the the climbing is concerned, it was tiring but very satisfying, it gave us a sense of achievement when we reached the top. All five of us reached the summit. All the hiking preparations prior to Kinabalu was worth it. The magnificent view and the cold weather were just perfect!
The question is, what's next? I have no idea as yet. Gunung Tahan is too grueling for me and I can't imagine myself wandering in the jungle for 6 days in a row. I may change my mind though, who knows!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I had a wonderful experience climbing up Mountain Kinabalu from from Aug 12 - 13. The weather was very good and the sky was clear. We saw magnificent view of sunset at Laban Rata and sunrise at Low's Peak (the highest point at Mount Kinabalu). Everything went on smoothly right upon arrival at Kota Kinabalu International Airport. I thanked Allah the Almighty for that.

Day 1
Arrival at Kota Kinabalu, after checking in at the hotel (we chose hotel instead of backpacker's lodge as we wanted better services), we went to Jesselton Point to have our lunch and to find out more about island hopping packages. It rained at night and I was praying that it'd not rain the next day. Slept early as the tour guide will pick us up at 6.00am.

Day 2
Had breakfast early at 5.30am after subuh prayers. I prayed to God again for good weather and for everything to go on smoothly. The tour guide came and picked us up at 6.00am.

It's a 2 hours drive to the Kinabalu Park from the city area. The guide was cooperative enough to stop his car as when we saw good places for photo opportunity. In fact, the guide was very friendly, informative and knowledgeable. We were lucky to have him as our guide.

Reached Kinabalu park at around 8.00am. Had to wait for the guide to register us for the climb and to pay for all the fees for permit and climbing guide. A guide by the name of En. Rashid, a Kadazan dusun guy, was assigned to us.
The guide took us to Timpohon gate where we started our climb. At the entrance, the results of the last Climbathon were displayed on a board. The top three men did it in less than 3 hours and we planned to climb to Laban Rata in 6 hours! What a big difference! Well, they are pros and we are just recreational climbers, that's the difference!

We started the climb at around 9.00am and we were glad to note that toilet, rest area and water point are available at every 1km. I used the toilet and rest area facilities along the way. I used the toilet at least three times as I had mild diarrohea. It must have been the 'sotong bakar' that I had the night before, even without the chilli dip. As for the water points, I never refilled my streamer with water from the mountain. The water was very cold, it's like water that has been kept in fridge overnight. It's untreated water and it's advisable to use purifying pill to avoid stomach upset. Of all the things, I forgot to bring the purifying pill. Regret not, I didn't have to drink the untreated water as I had enough isotonic drink to rehydrate myself up and down the mountain. In fact I was surprised that I didn't finish 1.25 liters of isotonic drink on the way up.

We were given packed lunch that consisted friend chicken wing, two hard boiled eggs, sandwiches, apple, coke and mineral water. I ate the lunch around 12 noon at KM3.

We took a long break at KM3 for lunch and fed friendly squirrels like the one below with bananas from the hotel.

The day was cloudy, misty and breezy too. It was cold and some climbers were seen putting on their warm clothing. I chose not too as I could still withstand it and in fact I enjoyed the change in weather condition.

As we were getting closer to Laban Rata (midway lodge), the weather was getting colder and the surroundings looked more beautiful with more and more conifers.

As for the trail, we were hiking steps all the way up, mostly man made hiking steps. It's simple hiking without any of those tough terrains like what we experienced in Nuang and Ledang. However, it doesn't mean it's not challenging. It's about endurance and fitness!

If pictures are worth more than a thousand words, then the pictures below can give better idea on how the trail looks like. The surface changed from clay to rock as we climbed to higher altitude.

We reached Laban Rata at 2.30pm, that means we managed to do it within 5.5hours, 30 minutes earlier than our target. Here, we enjoyed the sunset scenery from our room. The sunset was magnificent and the climbers were there at the balcony to snap pictures. And I thanked God for the opportunity and for having a safe and successful journey so far.

We had our dinner of fresh greens, eggs, lamb, beef and chicken before retired for the night. Thank you to the porters like two of them below who transport fresh foods to Lab Rata Lodge for the climbers daily. I dozed off early at 7.30pm to get ready for the next day's final push to the summit, Low's Peak, 4,092.5 meters above sea level.