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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Climbing Pine Tree Hill & Twin Peak Again

This is my 2nd time trekking at the Pine Tree trail. The first time, 3 weeks ago, was a recce for this trip. After the first hike, I wasn't feeling that keen to climb here again so soon. I have this feeling like, oh, I still can back out anytime I want to. So that was what I felt until I had a message from Messner saying that he may not make it for the hike and asked if both my sis and I, together with 2 others could lead the team. I panicked when I saw the message. Immediately I thought of doing another recce before the actual day. It didn't materalised lah, otherwise I would have blogged about it. :D

I won't go into details of this hike as I've covered most of this trail in my last post. You can read it here

So as usual we waited at the Tesco McD, this time at 4.15am. 

There were 24 of us who were supposed to meet here and I thought we wouldn't be able to leave this place on time, but I was wrong. Everyone was early and we pushed off by 4.16am. There were 5 cars from Seremban and all the drivers went at their own speed. Our meeting point was at the Rawang toll where we were supposed to meet up with 2 more hikers. 

Arrived at our usual noodle shop in Kuala Kubu Bahru. With 26 noodle orders, we left this place later than what we had planned. 

At nearly 7AM, we left the noodle shop for Fraser's Hill. Our next and final meeting point was at 7.55AM at the clock tower in Fraser's Hill.

Here's the clock tower. There were other groups from KL who joined us. Edwin, the team leader for this hike, gave a short briefing and off we went on a short drive to the entrance of the trail.

There were more than 10 cars parked at the narrow road leading to the entrance of the trail. 

A group picture minus me.

We started at 8.51AM. It started to drizzle and I was praying very hard for it to stop. I didn't want to discover if there were indeed leeches lurking about in this hill during wet days.

The light drizzle turned into a heavier one and we were forced to wear our raincoats. Some didn't though. They either forgot to bring their raincoats or the drizzle wasn't heavy enough bother them.

I was slower this time because... take a look at the pictures below. :D

My buddy was Jared and he was blasting boyband songs from the 90's out from his ipod. We sang and took a lot of HIS photos. :D

Not even 2 km into the jungle, Jared's shoes gave way. At first he just used wrist and elastic bands to hold the shoe together. It wasn't secure at all because after a minute or two, the bands began to ease out. Later when we reached the 2nd peak, his dad had other ideas, using plastic bag and string but that didn't work out well too. We reminded ourselves to bring duct tapes next time. 

By the time we reached the steep ascend part, it was already 11.52AM. We were very late. I'm sure by now the others have reached the 2nd peak.

12.02PM - We reached the Pine Tree Hill peak. I thought maybe we could stop here and wait for the rest to come down, but Jared said he wanted to go to the 2nd peak too. He ate a packet of his nasi lemak and off we went to the 2nd peak, the Twin Peak.

On our way to Twin Peak, we met a bunch of climbers descending. Seems they were at the peak for 40 minutes already.

12.49PM - Finally reached Twin Peak. Only Edwin and Steve were there. Ban Ming and 2 others came 10 minutes later. 

Jared had his 2nd pack of nasi lemak and his shoes tied again before descending.

Okay, this is where it gets a little bit interesting. We were in a group - Edwin, Steve, Jared and I.
About 10 minutes of walking away from the peak, we heard something which sounded like a whistle and it sounded every 15 seconds or so. Steve looked up and asked, "is that the sound of a whistle?" I listened and said yeah, it did sound like a whistle. Steve called out to Edwin and asked him to listen. Edwin cocked his head and after listening for a while, he concluded it was a bird. I wasn't too sure now because there were other birds calling out to each other too. After walking for 5 or 10 minutes, the whistle sound sounded nearer. We stopped to listen again. Then Edwin brought out his whistle and blew into it. Immediately there was an answering whistle similar to the sound we kept hearing. Edwin called out, "Anyone out there?" And to his surprise, we heard Yvonne's voice shouting back saying that Swee Leng fell into the ravine. We hurried to where she was.

It seems that Swee Leng took the wrong route but only 2 or 3 metres in and she slipped and fell about 10 metres down a ravine. (Later she told me that she used her walking stick to break her fall). With her whistle in her backpack and no way of reaching for it, she called out to Yvonne who was, even though, not far behind but far enough for her not to notice that her friend fell off the trek. Yvonne, thinking that Swee Leng wanted to see something, hurried her steps only to find that her friend had fallen down the ravine. It was then that Yvonne used her own whistle to call for help.

So here's Steve and Edwin going down to help Swee Leng. According to Steve, he said that this area had a landslide. As he approached Swee Leng, he found that the earth was soft and slippery. He used a branch to steady himself and helped Swee Leng climb back up. Later he said that there was another 40 metres drop with no roots or branches to hold on to. Swee Leng thought it was about a hundred metres drop. 

So here's Swee Leng climbing up.

Ahhh... the blue wrapper from my previous Pine Tree post. Looks like this spot is spooked. (kidding). Three weeks ago we climbed this hill and got lost around this area and we spotted the blue wrapper. Now Swee Leng went the wrong route and fell even though there was enough paper trail placed at the junction to go up instead of straight.  

2.06PM - Reached the first peak, Pine Tree Hill peak and waited for Ban Meng and 2 other guys.

Going down the steep trail.

This is where I screamed so much. I really don't know how my sister made it without any help. I was like "Ahhhhhhhhhhh..... where to put my feet" and "I don't think I can reach, howwwwwwww?"

Fortunately, there was a young chap who helped me down slowly. :D

Long journey out...

The last 2km out is a sheer torture for me. I was so tired looking up at all the steps ahead of me. My sister text me at 4.14pm saying that she was already at the entrance and I text back saying that I'm at the 2km stairs. 

I only reached the entrance at 5.25pm. Took me more than an hour the last 2 kms because we were ascending most of the time.

We washed up at the public toilet near the food court/playground in Fraser's Hill and went back to Seremban to have dinner. 

There are a few things we learned from this hike : - 

1) Buddy system is very important and make sure you don't abandon your buddy at any time.

2) We should carry a long rope for rescue purposes.

3) Carry a whistle (and torchlight) and wear it in front so that we can reach out for it easily.

4) Brief climbers on a whistling system for easy identification. Eg - 3 short whistles = distress call. 2 long whistles = answering to a distress call. 

5) Carry a duct tape and a knife in case your shoes opens up.

6) Leave papers at every 10 metres or so and leave more  at every junction.