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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mt. Kinabalu - Part 2 (The Climb)

The very next morning we had our breakfast at the lodge before departing to the Kinabalu Park at 7:30 a.m.

Lyne loading her bag into the van

The journey took about 2 hours, and while the rest were quietly resting and saving their energy for the climb, Lyne and I, the two biggest chatterboxes couldn't stop talking. She taught me how to play "sap ng yi sap (15, 20)" and then we switched to "So you think you can spell". We went on and on, spelling words that start with the last letter of the previous word. Each time it got tougher as we kept coming up with words that end with the letter 'e' and 'y' :P Mind you we got quite noisy back there :P

Lyne & I camwhoring while the rest get comfortable at the back of the van

As soon as we arrived, we registered with the Kinabalu Park HQ to get our climb permit. It took them quite a while, so while waiting we roamed around and took some photos. This was the time where some came to offer us walking sticks for RM 5 each, and since we are getting 7, we managed to negotiate for RM3 each. Around the area where we parked was also a big signboard that marks each stop in the Summit Trail and with the distance and height from the starting point.

The Summit Trail

Still left with nothing to do while we lingered, we took our bags to weigh at the scale. The porters charge between RM7-RM8 per kg. My backpack weighed about 6.5kg while TW's was only 5.3kg (he had his water bottle on his waistpouch while mine was in the backpack). We decided to carry these ourselves. Also we had some bulky warm clothing on a separate backpack, and that weighed about 3kg. This separate backpack was given to the porter.

People waiting inside the registration office

Just when I thought that the weight I had was manageable, TC told us that we had to carry our own lunch! And that alone weighed 1.5kg (consists of cheese and ham sandwiches, springrolls, fried chicken, hard-boiled egg, a bottle of water, a can of Sprite and an apple). So I ended up with 8kg to carry until our lunch stop :O.

Some of the items in our packed lunch

Lyne and Amy preferred to walk empty handed and so they gave both their loads to the porter. Only TC and Kuan did not use the porter service (these are our 2 champions, always ahead of the team during the climb). We finally get to set off about 10:45am, and the van drove us to the entrance of Timpohon gate (about 4km from the Park HQ).

All set to go!

We started about 10:45am, which was considered a little late, so we had to stop for our lunch before the Layang-layang Hut (5th stop). These were the distances between each stop:

Starting Point (10:45am) - Timpohon Gate (1866.4m above sea level), approx 700m to first stop
1st stop (11:20am) - Pondok Kandis (1981.7m a.s.l), 441m to next stop
2nd stop (11:42am) - Pondok Ubah (2081.4m a.s.l), 750m to next stop
3rd stop (12:20pm) - Pondok Low II (2267.4m a.s.l), 920m to next stop
4th stop (1:25pm) - Pondok Mempening (2515.47m a.s.l), approx 800m to next stop
5th stop (2.10pm) - Layang-layang Hut (2702.3m a.s.l), approx. 1100m to next stop
6th stop (3:26pm) - Pondok Villosa (2960.8 a.s.l), 417m to next stop
7th stop (4:00pm) - Pondok Paka (3080.42m a.s.l), 550m to next stop
8th stop (4:48pm) - Laban Rata Resthouse, for our dinner (3272.7m a.s.l), approx 300m to GLH
9th stop (6:20pm) - Gunting Lagadan Hut, overnight stop (3323.5m a.s.l)

A small descent before the real climb begins (still happy)

After our stop at Layang-layang Hut it started to pour, but only for a short while. We continued our journey with our poncho on, as there were still occassional showers after that. Lucky for us the wind was not very strong.

Varied track conditions at different height

In total, we had to walk about 6km distance from the gate to get to Laban Rata, and by the time we arrived we were super exhausted. The last 1km was most difficult of all, as we were completely drained of our energy, and instead of taking approx. 40 minutes for each km walk, we were taking twice as much of time to cover the same distance.

Lyne still looking fresh while I am completely drained
(together with TC, she arrived Laban Rata 10 mins before TW & I)

We arrived just in time for dinner (only served from 5:00pm - 7:30pm)! It was a buffet, and the food was not too bad. Temperature at Laban Rata that evening was about 10.8 deg C. Some of us however, had started to feel a little headache, so we rested for a while before climbing another 300m to our overnight stop at Gunting Lagadan. We also refilled our bottles with water from the restaurant.

Our room in Gunting Lagadan with 8 bunk beds

It started to rain quite heavily that night, and we could only hope for the best the very next day. Frankly I did not shower that night, it was just too cold. Yes, heated showers were available, but it was really limited and we had to wait long time for it. Instead I boiled some hot water and used it on a towel to wipe myself clean before changing into a new set of clean and dry clothes. After packing what I need for the next day, I swallowed 2 panadols and went to bed about 8:30pm.

Next: Mt. Kinabalu - Part 3 (The Summit Climb and the Descent)

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