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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nuang Chapter 2 – Closing The Unfinished Chapter

Since the infamous climb of 2nd June 2007, the spectre of G Nuang had been haunting PeterL & KGT. After so many mountains under the belt, including Mt Kinabalu (twice together and one other time separately), the unfinished business had been lurking at the back of their minds. They resolved to complete it before the end of 2008, after the boost of a successful G Ledang climb on 4th October.

Haji Day (8th Dec, 2008) seemed like a good day. However, when the idea was mooted, the response was very poor. Some of those who had attempted earlier were too traumatised; others were frightened away by the horror stories.

Finally, a party of 20 took shape: Uncle CK Leong & wife from KL, BoeyFC fr GT KL with wife and 3 sons, Pastor Peter N from Kuala Pilah’s Children’s Home with 4 youngsters, 2 climbers from IMU, VivC & FongY, FrancisT & EveL from Seremban and another IMU guy, WilliamC, with his younger brother.

The day started off on a gloomy note, with heavy rains everywhere. The group reached Pekan Bt 18 very early but could not find any place to have a cup of hot coffee, as all shops were closed for the holiday. After some deliberation, they decided to start the climb at 0700, as the rain showed no sign of abating.

They trudged off into the heavy early morning mist. It was cold and wet. After about an hour, Boey felt the effects of his recent flu, which he and his boys had not fully recovered from. So he decided they would only proceed to a designated point and instructed his wife Shirley to lead the rest of the group to the summit.

The river crossings were quite interesting, due to the high water level from the rain. They did not waste time in taking off their shoes but just ploughed across as quickly as they could. Progress was good, right up to Kem Pacat, which took about 3 hours. From there, the terrain became much more challenging. They met some other climbers descending and sent word back to Shirley that she should turn back with her family.

With an anxious eye on his watch, KG struggled to keep up with Peter, who was in much better shape and setting a good pace. When they reached Puncak Pengasih (the False Peak), they met Pastor Peter and his boys, who were about to descend, thinking that they had summited. After a short discussion, they continued. The initial trek from Puncak Pengasih was a bit doubtful because they were going downhill for quite a distance but they knew they were on the right track, from the feedback of friends who had summited successfully during earlier climbs.

After crossing a ridge and skirting the side of the mountain, the summit was in sight. Finally! It was a special feeling for Peter & KG to summit together. Even the leech bite on Peter’s hand 10 meters from the summit had to wait for treatment. From Puncak Pengasih to the summit, it took about 45 minutes.

The summit was wet and very windy, a really desolate place. There was not much to see as the heavy mist shrouded the view. Most of the climbers were shivering uncontrollably in the cold. KG really kicked himself for not bringing his usual flask of hot coffee. After the picture sessions, they descended a little ways to get out of the wind, change into dry gear and to have some lunch. WilliamC and his brother arrived shortly. Their lunch pack was impressive; like a mini feast!

As Peter and KG were descending some distance from the summit, they met VivC and FongY. Though it was slightly past the turnaround time, this pair still had the fire to summit and requested assistance. So all dumped their bags at that point, taking only the cameras; Peter & KG assisted them up the last leg of the journey.

The descent was slippery, as the rainwater was gushing down in mini rivulets, causing the climbers to slip and fall many times. The use of a walking stick helped in maintaining traction. At one point, Peter slipped and almost twisted his knee. It would have been catastrophic...

The group of 4 (Peter, KG, VivC & FongY) reached Lolo and the start of the gravel road at about 6 pm. Thankfully, the rain stopped then. After a brief rest, they continued along this famous “Never Ending Road”. One heavy step after another, into the oncoming twilight. The signs of fatigue were obvious and they could hardly hold up their heads.

At about 7:30, they met Uncle Leong, walking in alone with spare torches and raingear, looking for the ‘lost sheep’. This gave them a fresh spurt of encouragement. It is really a blessing to have such a caring team member. Another 30 minutes and the end was in sight.

Uncle Leong had some drinks and biscuits ready. It was good to wash off the grime, mud and sweat and to attend to some leech bites.

As Peter & KG limped gingerly from the car into the restaurant at Semenyih for a late supper, the feeling of utter weariness was so great that they thought of taking a 2-month hiatus from climbing so as to fully recover.

The trip was a success; all 11 who decided to summit made it. Yes, it was a great feeling to finally complete this unfinished business, which began one and a half years earlier. It was not an easy climb but they did slay the goliath, through good teamwork and perseverance. Though the wet weather was a damper initially, it helped to keep the climbers cool.

All glory to God for a safe climb.

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