A Travellerspoint blog

Climbing Mt Kinabalu

overcast

We started up the mountain at 7:30. it was just the two of us and our guide: Genius. We had to make it to Laban Rata by 10am, which was 6 Indonesian kilometers away, (they feel twice as long as a normal kilometer) so we set off straight away. Genius didn't speak much English so he generally left us alone by walking ahead of us, or behind us.
We had heard from people that the climb would be tough but I think both of us were surprised with how tough it actually was. Those 6km felt like 10-15kms, no lying. Every 500m was marked with a distance sign, and by the end of the hike I hated them because they seemed too far apart, and I loved them because they meant I had less to go. Stupid signs!
By the time we reached Laban Rata it was 10:02 and I was wrecked. The 6km had basically been straight up with hardly any level places to rest the legs. It was step up after step up after step up.
I was walking faster than Kevin solely so I could rest for a minute or two until he caught up with me.
On the way up it was quite cloudy too, so we didn't really get good view of the mountain until we got near Laban Rata.
When we reached there on time we were given the go ahead to try for the top.
(I should mention at this point that it was the day after we had been caught in the rain storm, so the guides were a little wary about the weather.)
So, after a quick bite to eat and a rest for the legs we set off for the top. When we reached the gate we were told that we would have to make it to the top before the last group came down (something never mentioned to us before) which would be in 10 minutes or so (an impossible feat).
Originally we were told to reach the top by 12:30, so we thought we had two hours but now we only had ten minutes or so, ridiculous! We set off anyway and sure enough, ten minutes later we met the last group and were told by the ranger that we could only go to the base of the wall (the last big part) which we did in five minutes. We asked Genius if we could continue but he said “no”. So, we didn't actually make it to the top, but we would've had we been allowed. We were only 300m from the summit though which sucks even more.
However, the worst part was that it never rained at all that day, so we easily could've got up and down. Sickener!

Posted by derryfadman 03:32 Archived in Malaysia Tagged hiking malaysia kinabalu sabah rata laban Comments (0)

Around Kinabalu

rain

So, after Brunei we decided to head straight to Kinabalu instead of spending the night in KK. We got some good views of the mountain before dark, so we were a little excited about it.
The next day we decided to wait on the mountain and have a day doing some trails to get used to the altitude. The whole valley was constantly being swallowed up by clouds that came rolling in across the sky. It was beautiful. It seemed like a nice enough day, so after we sorted out the day hike, we set off. We walked some nice trails up to the gate, none of them were difficult, and then started down. The weather still seemed ok so we decided to take a different trail on the way down.
We were probably about one third to half way on the trail when it started to rain. It wasn't heavy so we continued on. This carried on for about ten minutes and then the heavens opened up. It started pouring down on us, so caught unawares we tried to hide under some foliage but this didn't work. We were getting soaked so we ran on find better coverage. We found it...kind of! A large tree had fallen over and the base was sticking out of the ground so we hid under it. This didn't really solve anything as there was holes in between the roots and we were crouched over, like on a squatter. After 15 minutes of this our legs were killing us and being no drier, we ran. We were already as wet as we could get and the path had literally turned into a river, so it was hard to see roots and holes. We ran, splashed and tripped our way off the path. It felt like it took forever, we never realised the trail would be that long, it didn't look that long on the map.
Eventually we we found the road and there was a restaurant with an overhang, which we promptly ran under. I should mention that we were only in t-shirts and shorts with no ponchos or raincoats.
Huddling under the overhang a group of Asians (we think Singapore) came out to catch their minivan. They stared and laughed, but they were nice and gave us two ponchos to wear. A bit late, but we took them gladly as we still had some walking to do to get down the mountain.
It was at this point I realised I had acquired a little companion...a leech. It was quite small and on my ankle. It was firmly attached and getting larger. I could feel it sucking at my ankle if I focused on it. It was a little strange, and so with the Singaporeans gone, and elderly group emerged from the restaurant. They were very interested in the leech. One old man suggested salt and then walked back into the restaurant to retrieve some. His wife wanted to take a picture so I lifted me foot to oblige. While she was preparing the shot her other friend walked over and stuck her fingernail under the leeches mouth...and flicked. I was shocked by the action, especially as the leech only came half off so she had to flick it again. Rank! This time she succeeded and it went flying, the wife was unimpressed. Then the husband came back with the salt so I had to tell him we didn't need it anymore. I felt bad watching him walk back into the restaurant...slowly.
With all that excitement over, and my ankle bleeding a little we decided to continue down the mountain. The rest of the day was uneventful as it rained until nightfall. We also spent the other days in the mountain relaxing after we did the hike.

Posted by derryfadman 03:29 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

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