This post is related to the previous post.
After having good rest for the night, at 1.30am we get up & ready for the next climbt to the Summit. From Gunting Lagadan, The Low’s Peak is JUST another 2.6km. I was thinking, the distance is no as bad as we had on our first day climb (6km from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata). Because it was my first time at Laban Rata, i have no idea hows the second day climb looks like. We started at 2.30am after having supper, our mountain guide giving his last advise (that whoever not really fit to go are better not to, and he was looking at me?… Ohh… Come on…I can see clearly his eyes are looking at me! ) before proceeding scaling the mountain.
When we first stepped out from Gunting Lagadan, I can felt the sudden change on the temperature. It was really cold. There was no light along the summit trail this is where your headlamp become your best friend. Just few minutes after passing the gate at Gunting Lagadan, my pace begin to get slower. I stopped more often, I found out that the second day climb is tougher than the first. Not because if the trail, but maybe I’m not fully recovered. I tried to keep my pace with other climber passing me, but only ended with my heart beats really fast. I stopped whenever it get really fast. I need to keep alive here. Our mountain guide was just behind me, he advise me that I can always go back, we must reach Sayat-Sayat (Check point) at 0430hrs. I do thinking of going back, but I keep move forward. When I nearly give up, I take a deep breath, look at the stars & the mountain. No, I’m not turning back. This will be my first and the last time to climb Mt. Kinabalu.
Then I reach at a point where we have to use provided rope to lift up our body. The angle is around 75-80 degree, it is impossible to go up without a rope. I’m not ready for this, I was thinking my body is too weak to do this. At this point, again I was thinking to go back to Laban Rata. I decided to give a try. Surprisingly, climbing with the help of the ropes actually much more pleasing because now not only your legs, but our arms too took part to lift our body.
The trail before reaching Sayat-Sayat Station (until Lows Peak) is totally on granite rock. When I felt tired, I stop and look behind me. It was cold & silent, and I can see clearly the peaks of Mount Kinabalu in front of me (about 180 degree), and further down there behind me, I can see street light probably from Kundasang & Ranau. That view is one of unforgettable sights, I can still clearly remember every details of that very moment. The sound of the wind, the starts, light trails of th climbers, The Korean Group (I don’t really get the point that they need speak almost shouting even the people the talked to is just few feet away).
I reached Sayat-Sayat at 0430am. Refill my drinks and continue, the first 5 minute from Sayat-Sayat is what I call honeymoon because trail is almost flat. But you that wasn’t the end of the story, there are about 1KM left but when we get tired, now this last 1KM is the most toughest among all the trail of The Summit Trail. If you use a helicopter and landed here, I’m sure we can walk easily here, but now is different story. This last 1KM is where I climb with not only my last energy I have, but full of conflict in my mind. I think about AMS, heart attack, stroke, anything related to sudden death. The guide tried to persuade me to stop, but every time he asked me to stop and go down, I get stronger to move forward.
Finally, I made to the body of The Low’s Peak. Only few people left when I reached 8.5KM, the last 150m to the Summit. But because it was too late, I was advised not to go further beyond that point. I was disappointed, however I proud to made it to that point. For people that has climbed to the peak, they know how tough is the last 150m.
“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” – Ed Viesturs, America’s leading high altitude mountaineer
That morning, I’m among the last person decent from Sayat-Sayat to Laban Rata. It took about 1 and a half hour to reach Laban Rata. I almost missed the breakfast. 11am me and Rade made our way down from Laban Rata to Timpohon Gate. Going down is not tiring, but it puts a lot of pain to my knee. At 1620hrs, we arrive at Timpohon Gate and there was a transport waiting for us to bring us back to Kinabalu National Park HQ & get our climbing certificate.
I went for mountain climb last October together with my fellow friends, Rade, Tokok, Rosli, Hatta and two lovely couple from Labuan. I’ve been working as tour guide for nearly 6 years in which i had explain and educate tourist to come again and climb mount Kinabalu. Its such irony to know that that was my first time climb our state (Sabah) most visited site which as enlisted as World Heritage Site by UNESCO November, 2000.
The decision to scale the mountain is generally not my idea, it comes accross after a good friend of mine, Rade asking me about the room availibility at Laban Rata (a resthouse which every climber should overnight before proceeding to the summit on the next morning, very early morning). Then things happens seems parallel when at the same time my brother announced climbing package with confirmed date. So we grab the package and thats how it began.
I’ve only managed to train physically just a few time in less than a month prior to the climbing date. I wouldn’t be able to have time for training if it wasn’t effort by Rade. For people that knows me well, i’m not physically fit, just imagine yourself carrying 25-30kg of additional weight all the time and that will be me.
We stayed at Rina Ria Lodge on our first night. This lodge locate about 500 metre from Kinabalu National Park. It provides several types of rooms, including dormitory. We were given quad room (4 person in a room). Free Wifi available at the cafe. If you forgotten to bring some of your climbing needs, you can get it here at their mini shops which happens to be their reception counter too.
On the next day, we had our breakfast at the cafe. We went straight to Kinabalu National Park, meet the 2 loving couple before proceeding for mountain climb registration. At Sutera Sanctuary Lodges reception counter, after providing their booking reference number, you will be handed meals coupons and a form which need to be submitted at Sabah Park’s counter located on the next building.
At Sabah Park’s counter is where you will get your climbing permit. Just a quick tips here, the machine that print the climbing permit are not designed for long name, ask the officer if it allowed to put your name as short as possible prior before the permit printed.
At the same counter, located next to the permit counter is the mountain guide counter. For every climber that climb mount Kinabalu, it is mandatory to hire mountain guide to go along with you. One mountain guide for every 7 climber. The porter service, on the other hand is optional. The charges for porter depends on the weight of your stuff with minimum weight of 10kg.
We the proceed to KOKTAS counter to arrange our transport to Timpohon Gate, which is the starting point of the climb. There are 2 starting point you can choose from, Timpohon & Mesilau, which the later longer than the first about 2km. Before we went to the Timpohon Gate, we went to Balsam Restaurant to take our packed meal which consist of Sandwich, Apple and drinking water. Balsam Restaurant located just in front of Sutera Sanctuary Lodges reception building. Well, you can only see the roof if you sanding exactly at the reception building.
It took about 10 minutes drive to reach Timpohon Gate. We were given safety briefing by our guide before we begin our journey scale the Majestic Mount Kinabalu on foot. The distance from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rate is 6km. There are rest hut along the trail almost every kilometre providing untreated water. I hiked every steps slowly as i need to store my energy on the second day climb, i must keep my self from any serious injury during the climb. Just about 1 hour of climbing, it was raining. The trail gets slippery with some trail looks like waterfall especially when reaching Villosa Hut & Paka Hut.
Along the summit trail, we have stopped on almost every resting hut just for 5-10 minute to at least drinks or just relax and keeping ourselves alive. Some of us even utilising this moment by posting an update through social media like facebook & instagram. We decide to have our packed meal at Layang-Layang Hut. Upon reaching at this point, we actually had gone almost 4km of the summit trail. Even the 2km to go seems to be much more nearer, but I’m really exhausted after this point. My leg began to sore, and every steps I took it seems to consume more and more energy, but I have no other choice than to finish what I just started, at least to make it to Laban Rata.
The rain continues until we reached Laban Rata Resthouse. It was 1620hrs now, I took about 7 hours to reach here. I can’t believe my self that i had finaly reach Laban Rata. My pants, socks and shoe were totaly wet, but that is not my main concern as I had another pair in my bag. The cafe will serving lunch at 1630hrs, its a buffet style, we decided to had our meals first before going to our room at Gunting Lagadan which is another 150m from Laban Rata. After the meal (the best lamb with black papper sauce I ever had), We spent about 3 hours at the cafe, endless hot coffee while enjoying beautiful sunset here. Everybody took photos with each other without even knowing who we are, and where we coming from, we have only one thing in common, that we had reached Laban Rata. It was the time of honouring ourselves as the inhabitants of Laban Rata of the day, who dare to go out from our comfort zone and seek for some adventure.
It was dawn and we need to use our headlamp to go to Gunting Lagadan. It took me nearly 20 minutes to reach there. It was cold and my legs start to sore. It was pleasure to know that there will be no more climbing for the day. Time to get good rest and rejuvenate. Like many of us, I didn’t take shower for the night as there were no hot shower. We stayed at quad dormitory bunk beds with sufficient power supply to charge our camera & phone. Well thats pretty long stories about my climbing experience, I will continue part two very soon.