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Friday, July 4, 2008

Experiencing Mt Kinabalu for the 2nd time-Day 3

4th July 2008. The people (Cilla, Rachel, Esther and I) in my room set the alarm at 1.30AM. Did we sleep? Esther didn't sleep at all. Cilla and Rachel slept. I was awake most of the time. When the alarm bell rang, we got up immediately to wash up and get ready for breakfast and the final climb.

At 2.30am, most of my team members were here having a good breakfast. This breakfast would have cost us RM15. In our package, we paid for a more expensive breakfast (RM40) after the climb. Based on experience and because we didn't want to hurry, we knew we couldn't make it back to Laban Rata by 10AM, so we might as well have breakfast before the climb.

The temperature was about 7C. It wasn't as cold as last year's.

At 3.15AM, we started our final leg to the peak. It was a windless and moonless night. We removed our thick jackets just after the start of the hike. 15 of my team members attempted the summit push. Just before the 6.5KM mark, Helen felt ill and rest for a while. We felt sorry for her. She was with us last year, but didn't attempt the summit push.

After some 10-15 minutes, she overtook me. Apparently she purged everything out from her stomach and she felt so much better. We were all walking in a long line, and I was the last in line.... as usual :).

We reached the Sayat-Sayat hut at 5.40AM. Some of my fellow team members had to visit the toilet. This is the only toilet up in the mountains.

Everyone had to show their tags at the Sayat-Sayat checkpoint to gain entrance to the summit.

Sunrise at Donkey Ear's Peak through the viewfinder of Doc Peter's DSLR Nikon D70s.

Dawn awakening at 5.48AM. The view was simply spectacular. Everyone stopped where they were to take pictures. Such a beautiful sight.

This is the South Peak. The picture on the left is taken when we are approaching it. The other picture of South Peak was taken just after we had summited Low's Peak, heading back to Laban Rata. South Peak is also known as the 1 Ringgit (Malaysian currency) peak by the locals. The South Peak is featured in our 1 Ringgit.

Donkey Ear's Peak taken from my camera.

The endless walk to the summit.

Plants found growing on the surface of the ground between the rocks.

I've been here before, but missed all the KM marks. This time I made sure I had enough batteries and memory space to take lots and lots of pictures. BTW, the background in the picture on the left is not Low's Peak. It's the South Peak right after the 7.5KM mark.

This is Low's Peak, the highest peak in South East Asia. My sisters were already up at the summit waiting for me. It was 8.40AM when I took this picture. I remembered telling myself... I must take this picture... I'm so near yet so far to the peak. Last year, I hardly had the energy to climb up this path. Every step I took, I had to stop and rest for 10 seconds. This time, I found that I had more energy... probably because I took my own sweet time walking, taking pictures.. etc.
Made it at last. All three of us. Esther was on her way down even before I reached the top. She said she was feeling cold. Rachel waited for me. I arrived at 9.05AM and left the peak at 9.15AM. I was the last one to sit on that rock for the day. Chan Boon Pin was before me and I chased him away when I reached the peak. He was sitting at the peak savouring the moment, looking contented and pleased with himself. I must say, he had the right to feel so good. I've seen him training very hard in Bkt Kepayang. Most of us doubted his ability to summit, especially when we often see him limping slightly during the training hikes.

This is Low's Peak taken by Doc Peter's D70s Nikon DSLR.

This is KG, forever SMSing to Messner (Peter Lim) and others.

We came down as a group. There were 7 of us - Johnny, KG, Hendry, Rachel, Me, Lu Vin and Chan Boon Pin. At this moment, we had the mountain all to ourselves. We were the last group to leave the mountain.

As we were walking down, Henry complained feeling dizzy and wanting to sleep all the time. He said he felt like this since the Sayat-Sayat checkpoint. He must have been suffering for several hours without anyone knowing. Feeling concerned I held on to his hand so that he wouldn't suddenly fall. After sometime I had to let go of his hand because I wasn't very sure footed of myself.
We reached the Sayat-Sayat checkpoint at 9.40AM. KG told Hendry to take 2 Panadols while he (KG) visited the toilet again.

The Panadol worked like magic. Hendry felt much better when we were ready to leave the Sayat-Sayat checkpoint.

Here I am at the 7KM mark, taken as we were descending from Sayat-Sayat.

Now comes the rope session which I hated so much. I think the guys were waiting for me to get off the ropes. Rachel asked a guide to lead her down earlier so that she can capture some shots of us climbing down. KG helped a lot by telling me what to do, where to put my foot on.. etc. At the same time he was making jokes about me to Johnny. I ignored them and concentrated on which step to take next.

The 6.5KM mark and the 6KM mark. The sun was hot. It was already noon and it seemed like an endless walk right after the rope session. Rachel, Hendry, Lu Vin and Chan Boon Pin had gone ahead.
I walked ahead to take pictures of the surrounding. We finally reached the entrance gate (this gate would be closed if the weather's bad, preventing people from going up the mountain) at 1PM. The Gunting Ladangan hut is situated near this gate. KG had to visit the toilet again. Johnny waited for him while I made my way back to the Laban Rata Resthouse.
Lunch awaited me when I entered the dining hall at 1.30PM. Esther was counting the time I took since I left here early that morning. The journey to the summit and back took me about 10 hours. I didn't mind at all. I was happy. Happy to have spend more time at the mountain rather than to hurry back to the room the sleep. The weather was perfect. What more could I have asked?
After lunch, we went back to our rooms. The people in KG's room had to be evacuated. They were placed in the other 4 remaining rooms and had to sleep on mattresses. This was the arrangement between KG and Sutera Sanctuary Management. 4 people were to sleep in the unheated Gunting Ladangan hut the 2nd night. KG wanted all to to sleep in heated rooms, so he suggested for the 4 to sleep on mattresses with the others. KG went to Doc James' room- room number 10, Chan Boon Pin went to the guys room - room number 5, and Siew Kheng (wife of Boon Pin) came into my room - room number 6. The 4th person was Adlin and he didn't make it to Laban Rata as promised.
By 2.30PM, people were seen testing out the hot water in the bathrooms. I bathe at about 3.20PM. Some guys came over to bathe in the ladies bathrooms because someone forgot to switch on the hot water in the guys bathroom. It would have been alright if it weren't for the fact that there were only 2 bathrooms (and another 2 rooms for toilets) in the ladies bathroom. So some poor ladies had to wait a longer time to have their bath.

At 3.40PM, the sun was shinning, perfect for photo taking. The Lais and the Gans were checking the surroundings of Laban Rata. Doc James was seen outside on the balcony with a new found friend. I couldn't resist but take a few shots here and there.

This was what I took with my compact camera. Awesome view! I went back to my room to let my sisters know that the view was just too great to miss.

They ignored me. :(

Laban Rata stands at 3272.7M above sea level. Well, I was glad I took pictures when I could because 20 minutes later the sun began to inch it's way behind the clouds. And 30 minutes later when Rachel came out to where I was, it began to drizzle.

We went back to our rooms. KG temporarily rested in our room, while Doc James came looking for his walking stick. He got stuck in the room with the Tan sisters and KG, chitchatting and telling us more about himself.

By 5.30pm, someone knocked on our room door and announced that dinner was ready. We went down and met the group from DIGI who had just arrived from their hike up via the Mesilau Trail. RW was part of the group. I was happy and glad that they arrived early.

After dinner, at about 7.30pm we had a singing and worship session led by Esther. Some people from the Management joined in too.

We went back to our rooms by 8PM and started packing our stuff to make more room for Rachel who volunteered to sleep on the floor (with mattress of course). We were so tired that by 10, we were all dead to the world.... Surprisingly.. Rachel found it difficult to sleep. I woke up a few times too.


Anonymous said...

Wow absolutely beautiful! I can't describe it.

Given the conditions, it was difficult taking a picture at the Sayat Sayat checkpoint due to the rapids.

euniceta said...

Darran, my friend went on the same day as you via the Mesilau Route. She had the same experience as you, going up till Sayat-Sayat then forced to turn back due to heavy rain.
Maybe the next time you should stay at Laban Rata for 2 nights to avoid disappointment.