I purchased our flight tickets in March and the thought of climbing Mount Kinabalu never crossed my mind, until middle of April where I saw some photos on Facebook. Without hesitation, I contacted my brother-in-law much to the downplay of my Sabahan contacts on Twitter, saying I need at least 6 months in advance. I gambled. And we got the dates we wanted, 6th June 2011.
This was the most fun-filled outing to Sabah yet, especially spending time with Mel’s family and we managed to squeeze 2 meetings with some of our best Sabahan compadres, the first one was a D’Junction and then the final one was at The Loft.
I didn’t have much gears prepared but I know it was good enough for the climb. All you need is a good hiking shoe (trust me – get Bata’s Weinbrenner shoes RM80 – excellent), not the ones we encountered a bunch of kiasu Singaporeans with gadgets slipping all over their expensive Salomon shoes!
Skullcap, head light, thick gloves, one thick jacket, 2 pairs of socks, raincoat, few bars of Chocolate or snack, walking stick (a must!) and you’re good to go! We paid RM650 for the both of us, excluding mountain guide at RM85, and you can get him to carry your bag, which we were charged at RM8 per kg, which was worth it.
It took us 4 hours and 19 minutes from Timpohon to Laban Rata and it rained all the way up, was wet and you could see giant worms and giant leeches coming out during the rain. Google it! We arrived at Laban Rata, and all I remember was wanting a beer, until I saw the prize of it being RM25 per can, I chose Shandy at RM15 instead! Haha!
There is NO water heater at Laban Rata, and you’re in a room of a group of people, we were in a group of 6 single beds. It was extremely cold at first but when you sleep at around 8pm you won’t feel the chill. We got up at 2am and started our ascend to Low’s Peak at 2:45am, the last to depart.
We overtook quite a lot of eager tourists (a good few did not make it – altitude sickness!), before reaching Low’s Peak in time for the sunrise. It was AMAZING to say the least! Even on the way up there were so many stars in the sky, really beautiful! We went up at a snail’s pace, took lots of photos up at Low’s Peak before descending down. Total time of 5 hours and 50 minutes of ascend, photography and descend back to Laban Rata.
We rested for an hour before taking 3 hours and 50 minutes descending. We were quite fast until the last 3km, where it rained again, this time, very heavily! I didn’t mind because it was fresh, but it hurt our feet (imagine waterclogged shoes and your toes rubbing against it every time you descent a step!).
We were lucky that it didn’t rain at Low’s Peak, as our mountain guide said, not all who go up get to see clear view, it depends on your luck!
We then got our color certs (RM10 each). I was so contented and proud of my fitness level, as it’s the fittest I’ve been in 19 years and shedding 7 kilograms in the last 6 months was worth the effort. I’m not stopping.
A tip for all of you when climbing the mountain, take your own time, your own pace, because if you try to move fast or be a wise guy, you will suffer when you ascend to Low’s Peak, as I’ve seen quite a few “fast guns” who did not make it!
Another step closer for me is to learn to play the bungkau!