This was my first hike to Gunung Datuk. They said it was a short 2 hour hike and all who signed up for the Sept 07 Kinabalu climb MUST undergo this training. Still traumatized by the leeches in the the last hike at Gunung Angsi (Apr 26, 2007), I was praying very hard for good weather and no leeches. The hike up to the summit (2900 feet above sea level) was about 2 hours. I didn't keep proper record of time because I was too busy looking out for leeches.
When we finally reach the top, or what I thought was the peak of Gunung Datuk, the experienced team leader informed us otherwise. We had to climb those boulders to be able to say, we have summited.
I must say, I boasted about not having the fear of heights, but this Gunung Datuk climb made me rethink. I was climbing up the steel ladders, trying to balance myself and thinking of 101 reasons why I shouldn't take the next step forward. I was encouraged by team members to look up and not down. Even as I was climbing up the ladder, my thoughts went ahead of me. Climbing up is not too bad. Going down would be a problem. I shut my mind and continued up. Everyone of us made it to the peak. We took a group photo as proof that we summited.
Going down the ladders were tough. I turned green for a while but made it down with a lot of help from 2 team members. Soon all of us were happily descending. I'm a better a climber than a descender. My right knee was weak and going down the mountain was a bit tough on my knee.
We were back at the base in less than 2 hours, showered and had lunch at Pedas, a nearby town. My prayers were answered. It was a hot day and the leeches went into hiding.