Sunday, March 08, 2015

Conquering Mount Kinabalu

When I had my first glimpse of Mount Kinabalu, I panicked: "Tingginya" I said stating the obvious. Nisha laughed, "Memang la tinggi! What did you expect?"

I didn't reply. The reality of what I had signed up for finally sunk in. I thought to myself: "There's no way I'm able to climb up that thing".

This ALWAYS happens to me. I will just happily sign up or register for things without really knowing what I'm getting myself into. Ignorance is bliss they say hahahaha. A perfect example is the upcoming Viper Challenge. I registered first (because my friends did) and then I watched the video below. Wrong move.


The night before the climb, the sore throat that I had had for some time, flared up. I lost my voice and experience a bout of violent vomiting. My weakened state convinced me further that I wasn't able to scale Mount Kinabalu.

I berated myself then, "Tu la. You should have practised more and been better prepared!". Prior to this climb, the only practice I did was scaling Gunung Datuk in Negeri Sembilan. That's it. No running up and down stairs, no climbing other mountains, no working out in the gym...

But alhamdulillah, I recovered my voice the next morning and after a hearty breakfast, I was feeling much better. The distance between Timpohon Gate and Laban Rata (our final pit stop for the day) is just 6 kilometres. Six kilometres sounds do-able right? I mean I've participated in 7-kilometre runs before. Six is lesser than seven. Thus, this should be a piece of cake manageable.

How wrong I was. It took me 6 hours to reach Laban Rata, thus I was only averaging a measly 1 kilometre per hour. Traipsing a kilometre on a flat surface is vastly different from ascending a kilometre of continuous incline. The last kilometre before reaching Laban Rata was the most torturous. I think I stopped every few steps and my guide, Arnold, had to gently pushed me forward, coaxing me to continue.

When we finally reached the resthouse in Laban Rata, I was so exhausted that I could barely push the door open. It took me awhile to realise that the door wouldn't budge because I needed to pull instead of push hahahaha.

But the view. Oh the view. To be having your dinner above the clouds. To witness the sunset from 3272.7 metres above sea level. I can't even begin to describe the feeling...

The next morning, we began our climb to the summit at 3 a.m. We all suited up (thermal wear + fleece + windbreaker), put on our headlamps and marched on. The path became steeper and steeper and it seemed never-ending. Whenever I stopped to take a breather, I would switch off my headlamp and gaze at the sky. The milky way looked so pretty. It just soothes the soul, much like a sunrise and a sunset does.

After what seemed like forever, my friends and I reached the summit. And we have a picture (with our banner) to prove it! Mission accomplished! Alhamdulillah :)

It was such an unforgettable experience and I've grown close to the people that I shared the experience with (they were friends of a friend). We were basically strangers before the trip but now we're planning further adventures together. Up next are whitewater rafting and the said Viper Challenge. Then, maybe Mulu Pinnacles and Mount Rinjani perhaps?

My close colleague is bewildered by my sudden interest in all these things. My sister as well. I don't know what has gotten into me; I blame my KK group for it. They're a bad influence on me hahahaha

For more pictures, click here.