• Painting Memories • Past & Present • For the Future •
Mount Kinabalu: The Climb (Part 5 of 7)
After days of going around the Kundasan area (click here to read about the adventures before), the big day has arrived: The climb up Mount Kinabalu which peaks to a high 4,095 metres. My group members have trained for months to prepare for this trip; stamina building for the long duration hike and leg muscles building to tackle high steps. Even for myself (this is my 8th climb), the last part of the journey can be quite challenging depending on the weather up top.
The first order of the day was to head for the Park’s Headquarters to register ourselves for the climb. There, we were introduced to our mountain guides and given our name tags that must be worn at all times during the climb.
After that, we headed for the nearby Balsam Cafe which was located just below the Park’s HQ. Breakfast was buffet style with a lot of variety of dishes to choose from, many of which are my favourites!
As soon as we finished our breakfast, it was back to the HQ where our guides were already waiting. We were given the choice of hiring porters to carry any items for us, which was weighed on the spot and charged by the kilos.
From the Park’s HQ, it was a 15 minutes van ride to Timpohon Gate, the starting point of our climb where we would finally put our months of training to practice. The whole climb actually consists of two parts: first half of the journey involves starting the hike from the starting point Timpohon Gate to reach Laban Rata Resthouse, where we will rest for a few hours; and finally the last half involves starting the climb from Laban Rata somewhere after midnight to reach the peak in time for behold the glorious majesty of the sun rising from the horizons.
(Left): A wooden bridge is one of the first sights that you will encounter, and it will also be a welcome sight for the journey back as it signals the nearing of Timpohon Gate and back into civilization. (Right): Carlson Fall is the first and larger of two waterfalls that we encountered.
The initial hike is easy, only going over uneven ground made up of rocks, some of which can be quite dangerous with sharp edges and especially slippery when its wet from rain. Naturally, the flat ground eventually gets steeper as we progressed.
Before long, steps carved out of the surface, strengthened and secured by wooden planks introduced themselves to us. Needless to say, were tortured by these steps for hours after hours where it all seems unending. Many a times when we stopped for a breather, some porters would just walk by at what seems like a snail’s pace, but they would overtake us each time we took a rest! Slowly but surely, I suppose!
(Left): Every now and then, we encountered flat ground which was a sight for our sore legs. We savored each flat ground that we could walk on, which was usually only for a short distance before meeting the next exhausting flight of steps. (Right): Even tree roots became obstacles for us as we risk ankle injury if we are not careful.
(Left): Everything seems to be larger than usual up here; this fern which has not bloomed is the size of a fist! (Right): Mushrooms growing on moist cliff surfaces everywhere.
Pure white flowers can be seen littered at the sides of the trek with the combination of the cold air makes it feels as if it’s Christmas.
The good news is that we’re finally in Laban Rata and we can rest our aching legs. The bad news is that we only have around 4 more hours (after bathing and dinner) to rest before our final half of the journey to the summit in pitch darkness. The next part of the climb is a whole different level!