“One photograph takes one 250th of a second to take, So if I have an exhibition that has 250 pictures, that is just one second! I have just one second to tell a story.”
“You can sit in your house and be a great writer, but with photography the story is outside the door. You have to go and you have to go far.”
“I stood up to take the picture and the tortoise became shy and walked away. So I had to get on my knees and lower my shoulders and it was only when I was at the same level as the tortoise that it would let me take photographs. It was then that I learnt that it was important I respect other species in the same ways I respected my own. This is not dead nature I was photographing.”
– Sebastião Salgado
I been sitting here like an hour just to figure out how I’m going to start this post. I wrote few lines, then I discarded it. Then I start again but lead to another blank page in the end. I hardly describe the beauty of this place just by the use of words. But the scenery, sounds & smells are still fresh in my head. You don’t have to agree with me, but when we can remember every details of certain things happened in our past, that was the point we were experiencing a “clear” mind, live in present, not in our past nor the future. In our daily life, we been clutter our mind with thousand of thought, thinking about our future & our past, but not many live in present including me. Anyway, I’ll leave that introduction of this post just like this as I can’t find the best word to fit that beautiful scenery. Thank you Azman Jumat & Rade for inviting me for this wonderful trip at Kota Belud
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.