(^^) Our last hike was in Mount Batur, Bali, Indonesia; October last year. After that we resolved to have a good rest and no plans for any adventure. The idea of climbing Mount Kinabalu suddenly popped out out of nowhere when a friend of mine told me he was going to do the Via Ferrata on April. This was on January.. I checked the flight ticket from KL to KK; ahah! cheap! Called Mida,
"We are going to do Via Ferrata on April.. Ini adalah satu arahan!"
It took Mida about 24 hours to check what da heck is her crazy friend talking about (Via Ferrata??) and finally decide.. We bought the ticket first and sought the package later. We always go for the most extreme.. So there were two routes; Low's Circuit & Walk the Torq. So, x payah nak fikir panjang, of course we opted Low's Circuit (^^)
But save the story of Via Ferrata for now. Now lets see how we made it up to Low's Peak first (^^)
We actually booked a package which was inclusive of our transfer from KK to Kinabalu Park so on the 20th we were at the Wisma Sabah bus station as early as 6am. It was still too early for breakfast when we left home. So I bought this tasty Nasi Lemak at this Petronas petrol station on our way to Kinabalu Park.. Macam jadi habit pulak makan dalam van ni hehe
When we reached Kinabalu Park, the driver helped us to settle everything; our guide, passes and lunch packs. Each of us were given this tag to wear. You can bring it home after the climb as souvenir! Our guide was a very young man named Jason. He was very quiet at first but during the descend we talked a lot. Maybe he didn't want to tire us during the ascend hehe
So this is the map of the summit trail. A total of ~8.5km from Timpohon gate to Low's Peak. It was all the way up up up and up!!!!!!! Iwas quite nervous about this climb since this is the tallest mountain we ever climb so far. I was worried about my fitness, about altitude sickness, about the weather and my unpredictable bowel activity when the temperature is too cold. But everything went well! Alhamdulillah.. :)
Actually, you can find your own way to the top by just following this sign. They have plenty of it since there are quite a lot of junctions. I was separated from Mida and our guide until we reached our lodging in Pendant Hut. But, a guide is still IMPORTANT. Especially in the case where your pace is too slow and fail to reach the lodging before it turns dark (^^) The guides are very patient, you know. I think nowadays I can no longer be a 'sweeper' like I used to because I can't even follow Mida's pace though she wasn't too slow..
Now lets look at the trail.. I'm okay with trails that doesn't have huge logs blocking the way and low tree branches to bang your head on. But, still, endless stairs can annoy me just the same.. It was not that steep but the steps can be far apart that you have to really climb it with all your might!
More and more and more stairs! Frowning..
You'll find huts like this one every 0.5 to 1 km. Here, you can rest and enjoy watching the fat squirrels running around searching for food. One even tried to carry my handphone away while I was uploading a picture on FB. Every hut has a toilet where you can do your business quite comfortably and a water tank that contain untreated water yet drinkable :) Convenient!
So, after 4 hours and 10 minutes of nonstop climbing-with-brute-strength, I finally arrived at Laban Rata (^^) "But, where is Pendant Hut?" I thought.. And then I saw a white cubicle shape building about 50m up and gave out a loud cry.. It would't be that hard to walk 50m on flat ground.. But after 6km hike up, that was something to be horrified about to see your lodging is waaaaay up from the food supply, Laban Rata..
I actually was battling inside whether to go register myself in Pendant Hut first or eat lunch first since we have this cut off time. I didn't have any watch so I have no idea what time it was. Registering first means I have to walk all the way down to satisfy my hunger.. I finally registered first as to I don't want to exceed the cut off time and was surprised to find it was just 1.40pm when I opened the door to Pendant Hut (^^)
This is the Pendant Hut. They have mixed dorm and some privates. We were in a mixed dorm that has 4 double-decker beds. Our roommates were a British guy who was an avid rock climber and two Chinese from China who was actually father and daughter :) I took a top bunk. The mattress is cozy and they provide you with another sleeping bag since there is no heater.
What I like most would be the Qiblat arrow. I was surprised to see it and later found out that there wasn't any in other lodgings. The staff even allowed Mida and I to use an empty dorm for our prayer since the space in our dorm is not convenient. They also have very clean toilets and showers with heaters :)
We were to start the hike to the peak at 2.30 am so we slept early that night. I think I went to sleep at around 9pm. Dozed off while listening to Hitz.fm
So, the next morning, we had a light breakfast at Pendant Hut first before the hike; some toast and hot drinks. And then start off with climbing stairs AGAIN!!!!! I was surprised to see so many climbers because most of them weren't at dinner. There were Korean, Chinese, Europeans
, one friendly Indian guy and some Malays from west Malaysia.. Surprisingly no Sabahans..Only me :p
We were climbing in a snaking long line. We were at the back of tens of climbers at first. But as we go up, more and more climbers stopped to have a rest and gave way to us. After the stairs, we came to this point where there was this extremely long white rope lying on the ground. We were to follow the rope all the way up and at this point everything was granite... You can hold the rope for support too. See the picture, there's a rope on our left.
The above picture was taken while resting in Sayat-sayat. We didn't intend to rest because it'll be even tiring to start back after you've cooled down. But we have to wait for the ranger and it's not a good idea to reach the peak too early because it'll be too cold up there.
Finally, THE PEAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Low's Peak to be exact.. There are many peaks, you know. We can't even guess which one is the highest. Low's peak is actually at the back of all the peaks and you'll be thinking like, "Which one is it? Why am I still climbing??"
We reached the peak @ 5.10 am. It was cold indeed and we were told that it was not that cold that morning because there was no wind. But it was still extremely cold!!!!!!!
"Ini namanya sepoi2 bahasa'" said one of the guides.
We performed our Fajr prayer on the peak; which is very epic to me :P
Waited for the sun to rise from the east.. But we cannot see the sun quite clearly since the east side was rather cloudy. The west side was a clear starry sky that morning.
Here are some of the peaks
One ringgit peak.. In our entire life before this trip, Mida and I thought this is the highest peak in Mount Knabalu.. What a shame.. (-_-")
Gorilla.. Can you see that Gorilla face??
We manage to do our epic jump in Mount Kinabalu too. The peak on the right is Low's peak (^^)
This is another great adventure of ours (which made Beijing trip seems even lame)
We met a lot of people during our climb and become acquainted to some too. On our way up, we were given supports by mere strangers.. Those who were on their descend will greet you with a smile and say Good Luck. Makes you know, there's something great up there...
NEVER STOP EXPLORING (^^)
Ascend: 4 hours 10 min; 4 hours 30 min
To the peak: 2 hours 30 min
Via Ferrata: 4 hours plus hundreds of pics
Descend: 2 hours 45 min
Post mountain effect: HUGE APPETITE.. Off to eat some grilled chicken right now!