May 26, 2017

My Mount Kinabalu Climb on 21 May 2017 (Summit Climb)

On 21 May 2017, we had our supper around 2am. We were waiting for the appearance of our guide. After briefing, we started to climb at 2:46am. When I climbed the wooden stairs to Pendant Hut, I suddenly had the thought of "I cannot make it". Heart beat racing too fast and feeling giddy. I started to pray and told myself, I must make it to the peak.

There's a timeline, we have to reach Pondok Sayat-sayat before 5am. If failing to do so, you are not allowed to ascend. Every step I felt so burdened and tired. I had to stop and catch my breath because the thin air making me so sick. I coughed and burped. From Pendant Hut to Sayat-sayat Shelter, climbed wooden and mud stairs. It was steep and dark. After the heavy rain, the path became muddy and slippery.

I reached 7.0KM at 4:37am, there's still a short distance to reach Sayat-sayat Shelter. I tried to accelerate my speed, at last I reached the gate around 4:45am. I didn't have any strength to retrieve my handphone to take any photo. Just quickly got my water bottle refilled and gulped, watched the starry skyline then continued to ascend. I want to reach there before sunrise.

From Sayat-sayat Shelter, we have to climb with rope. It gets tougher and tougher. I made a few steps and rest, repeatedly. Until I saw the Donkey Ears Peak and Tunku Abdul Rahman Peak are on my right. My guide told me the sun is rising up. We were still quite far from the peak. Ok, I definitely not able to see the sunrise at the peak. So I stopped and captured the magnificent views. Time was 5:39am.

Reached this point at 5:50am. The sky was brighter after 10 minutes. My guide urged me to descend at 6:30am, but I was not even up to the peak yet.

Rest and enjoyed the view until 6:00am. This is the South Peak that appeared behind our new RM100 note and old RM1 note.

Reached my 8.0KM (3929M) mark at 6:01am.

At 6:04am, no sight of Low's Peak yet. Climbers have to hold and follow the rope at all time.

I got to see more climbers here, I'm reaching the 8.5KM mark.

Checked in 8.5KM(4008M) at 6:25am.

I walked in slow pace, Alexander Peak is on my left at time 6:35am.

Reached the base of Low Peak at 6:38am. My guide told me the descending is much harder than ascending. She asked me to use rope, but when I tried to hold the rope and climb. The path got so much challenging than not using it, ended up I just followed my guide's footstep.

Finally I made it to Low's Peak (4095.2M) at 7:02am. Thank God! The sense of achievement was so great!

From left to right: Alexander Peak, Diwali Pinnacles, and Victoria Peak. I hope I got the names right.

Views after descending from Low's Peak. It was so awesome! My guide started to introduce the peaks, and showed me the locations of Desa dairy farm, the resort, kampung, etc.

Even asked me to pose in front of St. John Peak and take picture for me. Haha.. I look so messy with my attire.

Then moved to the right side, the peak behind me is called "Ugly Sister".

Donkey Ears Peak. After the earthquake in 2015, the ears got shortened.

Tun Abdul Rahman Peak.

The rockfalls caused by the earthquake.

The white roof at the bottom is Laban Rata Rest House.

It's getting misty. Descending from summit was tough, I kept asking my guide how far is our distance still to Laban Rata. Her answer always "still far".

Summit climb starts from this gate here. Passed the gate at 9:14am, so happy I have completed the summit climb.

They are building new rest house. All the materials are transported by porters piece by piece.

Reached Laban Rata Rest House at 9:21am (time in my hp is more accurate). I had an hour for breakfast. After breakfast, we left Laban Rata around 10:30am. We have to reach Timpohon Gate before 4pm, otherwise we will have to pay the guide extra fee for the delay. 

Descending to Timpohon Gate is as tough as ascending to Laban Rata too. Ascending to Laban Rata, I could feel the unbearable fast heartbeat. While descending to Timpohon Gate, I could feel the knees and muscle aching intensely. The rain started to pour half way, and it got heavier and heavier. When I reached 2.5KM to Timpohon Gate, my guide told me I'll get there in 3 hours time because every of my step takes about 3 minutes. Looking at the time, I might reach Timpohon Gate after 4pm! That really triggered me to move fast. I moved real fast after that, I was so surprised that I can still move without feeling the pain on my knees. I didn't stop at any shelter along the way.

When I saw the stairs in front of Timpohon Gate, I felt so depressed. I got really fed up with staircase. Exerted up all my energy, at last I got here at 2:57pm.

The same driver, Mr. Basir came to pick us up. We had buffet lunch at Balsam Buffet Restaurant first before sending us back to hotel.

My coloured certificate. I am so proud of myself after this achievement. Ok, now I feel like I can do it again in the future. Hmm.. wait, must train hard first. Next plan, I decided to join marathon runs.

May 25, 2017

My Mount Kinabalu Climb on 20 May 2017 (Laban Rata)

The thought of climbing Mount Kinabalu was emerged in 2014 after my ex-colleague shared with me his victory of getting to the peak. I asked my buddy if she is keen to join me. Unfortunately the earthquake happened in 2015, we postponed our plan. Until Jan this year, we told ourselves we must make it happen this year. So I wrote an email to Amazing Borneo for the available slots. Happened that the 2D1N package had one available slot on 20th May 2017, the next availability will be in September onwards. I didn't want to drag it too long, we both agreed to take it. By confirming our booking, we had to make 50% payment in advance. Then the 50% balance to be paid a month before the climb.

Total 3 pax of us (my buddy, Lisa, her husband, Remus - Singaporean, and myself). Cost of climbing: Malaysian RM1500, foreigner RM1880. There's also another budget package for Malaysians only which is much cheaper, RM1185 per pax for a group of 2-3 pax. For details, please visit their website here.

4 months preparation, I didn't know what to expect. I was not completely ready for it, tried to exercise and train myself. The couple is already avid runners, especially my friend who ran almost every morning. When the time came nearer, I got even more nervous. Searched online for the past experience the bloggers shared and getting ready of the suitable gears. 2 weeks before the trip, I found Ernest Ng's vblog in YouTube. After watching his experience, I couldn't sleep. I couldn't imagine myself to climb continuously 6 hours, then continue another 4 hours of summit climb and 5 - 6 hours descending on the next day. Scary!

I have bought a lot of stuffs for the climb, followed the blogger who shared her packing list. But ended up I didn't use most of the items.

Here are the items I used:
1. Backpack
2. Water bottle (1 is good enough, one more bottle provided in your lunch pack)
3. 2 sets of disposable raincoat (make sure it's long sleeve)
4. Kampung Adidas (I got it from Mr. DIY at RM6.30, worth it)
5. Kinesiology tape to prevent toe blister (cut it into small pieces)
6. Two pairs of socks (Kampung Adidas is waterproof)
7. 1 pair of winter socks
8. Beanie
9. LED head torch (I got it from Mr. DIY at RM7.90, advise to use better grade of batteries)
10. 1 dri-fit top
11. 1 thermal top
12. 1 thermal pants
13. 2 waterproof pants (You can get it cheap around RM2x at Servay or Giant Hypermarket)
14. 1 long sleeve top (I wore this to sleep, ascending to summit and descending to Timpohon Gate)
15. 1 Uniqlo ultra light down jacket
16. 1 Uniqlo parka
17. 1 pair of gloves with good grip (I bought mine at Mr. DIY at only RM3.80, not waterproof nor windproof)
18. 1 set of undergarments
19. Waist pouch to keep my handphone for easier access
20. Knee guards (extremely important for me, better prepare two pairs as it would get wet)
21. Toiletries (facial cleanser, lip balm, moisturiser, tooth paste, tooth brush, comb and sunblock; shampoo, body shampoo and toilet paper are provided at Laban Rata)
22. A can of Red Bull energy drinks
23. 2 bars of Sneakers
24. Milo sachets (you have to purchase a jug of hot water from Laban Rata at RM5)
25. Plastic bag to store your dirty laundry
26. Deep heating rub
27. Altitude sickness pills (my friend got it for me, there were some minor side effects)
28. Panadol muscle and joint extend (I don't think it's effective though)
29. Power bank / handphone charger (only one wall socket to share)
30. Heat pack (can get it from Daiso at RM5.90)
31. Cash - we paid RM130 to the porter, advise to bring extra RM just in case.
32. Walking stick (we rent ours from Amazing Borneo at RM10 each)
33. I used handphone to capture all the pictures

Separate your packing into two. One for the porter to carry, one for you to keep in backpack. Try to travel light, I didn't use down jacket and gloves for ascending to Laban Rata. Body generates enough of heat already when climbing. I didn't feel cold even it was raining.

* The bathroom at Laban Rata is equipped with solar heater, but the water volume was really small. Slippers are provided as well. We shared the dorm room with 4 other foreigners. One of them snored loudly, I couldn't sleep at all. Please make sure you bring a good pair of earplugs too.

Amazing Borneo's driver picked us up on 20th May around 6:00 - 6:15am from our hotel. We reached the visitor centre around 8am. After signed the indemnity form, we just waited for the staff to get our name tag ready.

The view outside of the visitor centre. The weather was good at that point of time.

You can keep your luggage here. A fee will be charged.

All set and ready. Went back in the bus and the driver sent us to Timpohon Gate.

This is our friendly driver, Mr. Basir from Amazing Borneo.

We were dropped off here at Timpohon Gate (1866.4M).

The board showing winners of climbathon in year 2016. Cannot imagine how to reach the summit in just 2hrs 21min 33sec.

This is our guide, Rosinah Binti Rosin. She lives nearby, was worked as porter before becoming a guide. Still tough and strong.

Our journey started here. Time was 8:57am. The two in front of me got really excited, and my mind was blank. I didn't know what to expect, just wished I can make it to the end. The guide asked us to go ahead first and she would catch up later. I was a bit puzzled at first, isn't the guide should follow closely behind? Anyway, after a while I got used without her presence. I was feeling more easy to walk alone.

Passed by Carson Fall at 9:01am.

After 5 minutes, we reached 0.5KM (1935M) mark at time 9:07am. From this 0.5KM onwards, two of them already walked fast ahead of me. I started my lone journey here, occasionally with the guide following behind me. My heart started beating fast.

After climbing the numerous of mud and wooden stairs, finally reached Kandis Shelter (1st shelter) at 9:24am. I took a short break here, gulped water to quench my thirst.

Reached the second shelter, Ubah Shelter (2nd shelter) at 9:46am. I didn't really stop at every shelter because I paused 2 - 3 minutes after a few ascending steps. My movement was really slow as my heartbeat was racing extremely fast. I was lacked of cardio exercise prior this mountain climb.

Arrived this danger zone at 9:55am, the path already repaired. In Ernest Ng's vblog, it got partially destroyed due to landslide.

Reached the 1.5KM (2164M) mark at 9:58am. Some path is flat ground and easy to walk, but very short distance.

Reached 2.0KM (2252M) at 10:18am. I started to feel gassy in my stomach, I had to stop and burp out the gas. That made me feel a lot better than suppressing it. My calves got hardened too. Advise not to consume any carbonated drinks, that will make your stomach even more gassy.

Arrived at Lowii Shelter (3rd shelter) at 10:33am, didn't stop here. Just can't wait to shorten the distance to Laban Rata.

Reached 3.0KM (2455M) mark at 11:14am. But my friend already arrived at Layang-layang Shelter. My pace got a lot slower. The air got thinner, I paused longer and frequent. I didn't sit down to take a rest, just in my standing position and rest for 2 - 3 minutes until my heartbeat slower down.

Reached Mempening Shelter (4th shelter) at 11:47am. Still a distance from Layang-layang Shelter. Gosh! Thinking of my friends were having their lunch, I have to make my movement faster.

There are some zones with warning sign that urge you to move fast. I guess this zone possesses the risk of rock falls?

The porter is carrying the food to Laban Rata, got watermelons, vegetables, and buns. It looks extremely heavy to carry. Some porters are carrying gypsum board, they are building new rest houses. I asked the porters if it's heavy. One answered yes, one answered no. The weight of gypsum board with a pack of rice is roughly about my weight, 56kg. The porters usually rest a bit longer.

Finally Layang-layang Shelter (5th shelter) is in front of me. It's my lunch time. Reached here at 12:31pm, just the right time for lunch. While my friend already checked in her 5.0KM mark.

Lunch pack provided by Amazing Borneo, contained an apple (eaten), a pack of oats cookies, one egg, one piece of fried chicken wing, a pack of sandwiches, and a bottle of mineral water. The rain started to pour, and it was windy. I was exhausted, losing my appetite to eat. I took longer rest here at Layang-layang Shelter. My porter was complaining that our bag is too hard to carry. She kept asking if I need her to carry my backpack. I guess she just need my backpack as a support to hold the bag. After replenished my energy, I departed Layang-layang Shelter. My friend only left 300M to Laban Rata.

Reached 4.0KM (2745M) at 1.05PM, 2 more KM to go. Jia you! Jia you! My friend already checked in Laban Rata at 1:08pm. I was 2 hours behind. Based on my pace, estimate 1KM will takes about an hour.

The last 2KM was so challenging than what I expected.

2KM of rock stairs awaiting you in front.

Passing through this path at 1:15pm.

Reached 4.5KM (2898M) at 1:38pm.

The view in front of 4.5KM mark.

The view in front of me at 1:42pm.

Reached this point at 1:57pm. It does look a bit challenging. But that means I'm not too far from Laban Rata already.

I nearly forgotten there are two more shelters in between Layang-layang and Laban Rata. I reached Villosa Shelter (6th shelter) at 1:59pm. The last 1KM to go, I went ahead.

At 2:03pm, the last 900M to Laban Rata.

Finally saw the 5.0KM (3001M) mark at 2:05pm.

The rain got heavier and heavier. This is the path in front of me at 2:05pm. I got really worn out physically but not giving up.

Reached the last shelter, Paka Shelter at 2:27pm.

At 3:02pm I was thrilled to see the white building in front. I'm very close to Laban Rata already.

At last I made it to Laban Rata at 3:10pm. My friends already took shower and rest in the room while waiting for me to have dinner together.

The dining place at Laban Rata. The buffet dinner starts from 4:30pm until 7:00pm.

My pick. It's buffet style, the cooks will continually cook and replenish the food.

After dinner, we proceed to balcony for good view.

Then went outside to capture some beautiful pictures of Laban Rata. It was freezing cold after the rain. After a few snapshots, we went back in. It's time to rest.

There's solar heater installed at shared bathroom. But if the previous users took long hot shower, you would have to shower with cold water. And, if no sun, meaning no hot water. If you forgot to bring jacket or head torch, you can rent it at Laban Rata at RM25. Towel is provided for every guest.

We went to bed around 8 something. Sigh, I couldn't sleep entirely because a guy snored loudly. It was really frustrating. I stayed awake until the time we had to wake up and get ready for our summit climb.

Overall, we were truly blessed to be able to do our summit climb. When we reached at the visitor centre, we were told by the driver that the previous group was prohibited to climb summit due to bad weather. We were quite concerned that we might not able to make it too. I don't think I want to make another trip to Laban Rata, ever again. Luckily the rain stopped around 10pm, some guests started making noise outside Laban Rata around 1am.

Stay tuned for my next post, the summit climb on 21st May 2017.

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