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Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

First Trip Conquering Mount Kinabalu

sunny 4 °C

Mount Kinabalu is Southeast Asia’s highest mountain at about 4,093 metres above the sea level. This place is the crown of the Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia’s World Heritage site located about 2 hours from the capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu (KK). This majestic and awesome mountain is one of the premier destinations for thousands for visitors around the world.

My first visit to Mount KK was in year 2005 right before the Chinese New Year during one of my business trip there. I managed to book the trip with a few of my ex-colleagues then - Eric, Kit Lee, Gan, Dennis and Roland. Six of us took up the challenges to conquer the highest peak in the region and it was a worthwhile and unforgettable moments for all of us. Roland is a local native of Sabah who made the arrangement for the trip. He managed to get us very good price then. It was just less than RM200 for the whole 2D1N expedition.

As the distance of the standard start up point for Mount Kinabalu is via the Kinabalu Summit Trail at Kinabalu National Park, (approx 1600m above the sea level), We had to wake up very early on that very morning. We travelled about 2 hours from KK town to Kinabalu Park and had a stopover along the way for breakfast and gulped the fresh air. As we were enjoying the aromatic coffee, we took some time to appreciate the beautiful mountain terrains. I was amazed by the magnificent view of the mountain.

Upon reaching Kinabalu Park, we went to the registration counter to get all the necessary documentation, i.e. climbing permit, mountain guide, and etc. A lots of people queuing up to get the documentation / registration done. We proceeded to Timpohon Gate, which was about 30 minutes away after all registration was completed.

We started our journey from Timpohon Gate and there was a chart, which was located near the entrance with the records of people who reached the peak within the shortest period of time. The shortest time to reach the peak from the gate is about an hour. That was pretty amazing. An average person will takes about 5-6 hours to reach Laban Rata at approximately 3,272 metres above the sea level where the accommodations for Mount Kinabalu are located. In their annual mountain climbing competition, the participants managed to conquer the peak and return to the Gate in about 2 hours only!!!

From the Timpohon Gate, we followed the crest of a narrow ridge that dips down onto the main slips of Mount Kinabalu itself. Not long after that, we reached a scenic but small waterfall known as Carson’s Fall that was named after the first warden of the Park.

We did not carry too much of water with us as along the way, we could get fresh natural mountain water to refresh the body and to refill out body's "water tank". A sip of the mountain water really refreshing and it was “sweet” in taste. In fact, I drank a lot of the mountain water that energised me throughout the way to the mountain. Of course, the chocolate bars also continuously provide me with the necessary calories to continue my journey. We have few stops along the way to re-energise our body... It helped a lot.

Around 12pm we reached Laban Rata after such a strenuous journey. In fact, we were so relieved that we could rest very very soon. After resting a while we proceed to the Rest House (approx 3,272.7 metres above sea level) for lunch. It’s another hundreds of metres away, I supposed. As the body was too tired we just could not move speedily though we were extremely hungry...craving for the food.....

All of us took fried rice or noodles for lunch and then checked-in to the room at Gunting Lagadan Hut, which located further up from the rest house. There was a small trail and some steps built by the operator to ease the trekking from the rest house to the Hut. The Hut was situated at 3,323.5metres above the sea level. It was a big dorm with 60 beds, whereby 2 double-deckers is placed in each of the room. Basic cooking utilities and common bathrooms with hot shower were provided to the occupants. It was a new experience for me to take the shower in such a chilly weather.

The scenic view from Gunting Lagadan was amazing and wonderful. The clouds that scattered down under the Rest House give me a peaceful kind of feelings. Looking at the sea of clouds down under my feet I just felt great and wonderful. I sat at the lounge area enjoying the scenic view and wonderous mother's nature. This breezy atmosphere made me felt satisfied and all the efforts taken to reach here were worthwhile. As the night was approaching and the temperature getting colder, I moved back to my room and prepared to rest and got ready for my final expedition for the next day.
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We woke up around 1.30am and it was damn cold and I had wore a few layers of clothes to warm up the body. We took some noodles and prepared for the trekking that was scheduled to start around 2am. We started the journey around 2.15am and I reach the peak at about 4.30am. The summit, which was called Low’s Peak, named after the British colonial officer Sir Hugh Low, supposedly the first person to conquer Mount Kinabalu. The final journey to the summit which was shorter but was more challenging than the initial track as the air was thinner near the peak and may resulted in difficulty in breathing.

As we moved nearer to the peak, no more steps for us and on the stone or granite I supposed portion of the ascent, thick nylon ropes were laid down to mark the route so that the climbers would not got lost in the fog as certain time the blurry vision along the way was quite dangerous. I used the rope to assist me all the way to the peak. Out trip was a lucky one as the weather was very good and the full moon had brightened the trail for us made the journey easier. I felt so close to the moon as I reached the peak.

It was one of my greatest achievements to be the first one to reach the peak. We stayed there for more than an hour to see the sunrise. I was captivated by the ray of lights that slowly reach us from the far east of the horizon. As the day was getting brighter, it gave us the opportunity to observe the surrounding and appreciate its beauty, e.g. the beautiful rocks around me, the serenity of the area that calms me down. Standing at the Low's peak, give us the feelings like on the top of the world.

It was a great trip for that year. In fact, on the following year I went there again using another trail - Mersilau Trail. It's worth a second visit...



Posted by terrence79 22:45 Archived in Malaysia Tagged hitchhiking Comments (0)

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