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!!


dark said...

would u suggest the best shoe 4 hiking bro?..

Anonymous said...

congrat! for managed to conquered the highest peak in sourth east asia. and also for a veru good entry! i envy u. definitely must go to gunung kinbalau one of these day!

The Author said...

Dark, alamak, best hiking shoes? Tengok budget lah. Whatever, please spend some money to buy good pair of hiking shoes. Good one would cost at least RM300. Brandwise, Timberland? Solomon? etc...

azlan said...

congrats for your succesfull kinabalu trip.

about mt tahan, yeah, it is quite challenging but i think for a mountaneer like, it should be no problem. mt tahan is like you climb kinabalu from down to the peak for 6 days in the row.

about the shoe, i may suggest you (anonymous), to use kasut getah cap gajah which will cost you RM6.00 per pair. I think, that is the best shoe for hiking. waterproof + grips + expandable (would not harm your feet).

But if you want to use the 'running shoe' or jogging shoe, i suggest you to buy the new one before you climb kinabalu (BATA should be ok) as i'm afraid the 'tapak' will be torn off.

If you (anonymous) plan to climb kinabalu, you should try mesilau route because it was much much beautiful than Timpohon but of course, much difficult one.

::: ReActivate ::: said...

::: bro, congratulation akhirnyer
::: the view was spectacular esp.
::: kat atas puncak tuh nampak awan
::: mega berarak, breath-taking..
::: betul ke kena sakit perut masa
::: mendaki hari tuh? [huhu] maybe
::: kot, mostly seafood can cause
::: diaherra [hehe] becareful..
~ congrats & salam ramadan bro!

The Author said...

Reactivate - ye lah sakit perut, tapi mild one lah, 3 kali pergi tandas. Nasib baik kat gunung tu ada kemudahan tandas setiap 1 km.... macam mana pun, it's enjoyable experience....

funzool said...

congrats bro!
i know u can do it :)