Sunday, September 03, 2006

Conquering Mount Kinabalu - finally!

Having stayed for more than a decade in this part of the world, one thing which I desperately wanted to do is climb the highest peak in south-east Asia. On 28th August 06, I finally stepped on Mount Kinabalu peak :). (More photos)

However, before I say about the great time I had, I will highlight few things which any of you who is planning to climb the peak should know.

The trek from the gate of Kinabalu national Park (which encompasses Mount Kinabalu Peak also) is divided into 3 major milestones:
  • Tampohon gate : It is the starting point of the gate.
    • Trekkers generally start in the morning from this point (1020am in our case).
  • Resthouse (6 km from the starting point): It is the resting place in the middle of the trek, where climbers take rest in the middle of the trek.
    • Trekkers reach this point at about 5-530 pm, have dinner and sleep for 5 or 6 hours before start climbing at 2 to 230 in the morning.
    • The temperature is generally 9 degree celsius here, so please carry some warm clothings with you.
  • Mount Kinabalu Peak (2.72 km from the resthouse) : This is the final destination.
    • You reach at about 6am, stay for 20-30 minutes and start climbing down.
    • Most of the trek while climbing is done in the night so that you can catch the sunrise just when you reach the top.
    • Low's peak is the highest point and an ideal place to catch the sunrise (4095.2m).
  • Before you plan for the climb, do not try to call any of the Rest houses (like Laban Rata, Waras Hut etc. ), you will never get it. They are all booked by tour packages. Best choice is to take tour packages. Here are the two I strongly recommend: Pinganchorage and Cuti.
  • Going up is tiring but going down is hurtful. Please ignore the comments by some climbers that you do not need to train for it. You should be fit and I personally will recommend to start jogging on a weekly basis few months before the climb.
  • While climbing down the trek, because of your and bag's weight, you will be applying lots of pressure on your knees. As a result, your knees will start aching after about 2 hours of trek and soon the time will come when you will have to hold the hand-rails on the side of the trek path. You will have to decide carefully which is the next rock you will have to step on, because if you don't, there are high chances you will trip down. You will start realizing the importance of even a small stone, which you had been kicking around though out your life :).
  • MAKE SURE, you get Laban Rata resthouse - because it has heaters inside. If you get any other resthouse, it will be freezing cold inside and you will not get proper sleep, which may ruin your next day climb.
  • Carry small water bottles, because you will be able to fill them at 7 stations along the way. Also carry small padlock to lock your bags while you leave them in the resthouses when you climb to the peak. There have been incidences of bags being stolen there. Dinner and breakfast at Laban Rata was good and filling.
  • Most of the time you will not be able to see world's largest flower, Rafflesia. However, you will be able to see a few Pitcher plants and mountain squirrels.
However, overall the trip was great and besides the beautiful views on the way, it is interesting to see how forest vegetation changes from the starting point all the way to the peak. I have never seen such a beautiful night sky and never seen so many stars as I did on the night climb to the peak. When we climb in the night, we cannot see the surrounding, but once we reach the top and slowly the sun light starts to fill our surroundings, it is almost a surreal and indescribable view.

Other sites for more Mount Kinabalu info: 1, 2, 3

1 comment:

drizad said...

Congratulations for your achievement!

Hope to come again soon!