Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ascending Mt. Kinabalu ... Malaysia's Highest Peak [Part II]

After breakfast, Ray took a nap to recover his energy while I started packing all our wet clothes. Those disposal ones were discarded but much of the clothes were now thicker and heavier when wet. No choice, I just squeezed them into the small bag that we had Marcelius carried up for us. It was 5 kgs yesterday. By now, it would probably weighed about 10 kgs, not that it’s going to affect Marcelius anyhow. The weight will just be chicken feed to him since he had carried incapacitated climbers upto 85 kgs down the mountain before.

Look at his small frame in the photo taken with Ray the day before. Wouldn’t you be in as much awe as I do?

At 11.15 am, we decided to descend down the Timpohon route. With his success up to the summit, Ray was still reeling with his achievement. I was of course, very disappointed and not in the most enthusiastic mood. On top of that, my energy was kind of low with the little breakfast that I could managed earlier. Again, as I did on the ascend, I had set my target to reach Timpohon Gate within the average pace, that’s to descend within 4 hours. The weather wasn’t improving much when we started as it was still drizzling heavily. Like it or not, we have to move if we were to catch our lunch at the Balsam CafĂ© before it ends at 4.30 pm.

Ray proceeded ahead while I tried to keep my walking speed in check. I did not want to loose too much of my limited energy and too fast. However, without realizing, my pace continued to gather momentum. Descending felt so much easier now. At times, I was far ahead of Ray since he had problem descending due to his bad knee and the blisters that developed earlier during his descend from Low’s Peak. Then, with slightly over 3.5 km to go, I started to developed blisters on my sole due to my wet boots. Each step began to be a pain and my pace was slowing as my energy began to drain. I was feeling giddy and nauseous due to low blood sugar. I began worrying about hypoglycemia since I’m diabetic. By then Marcelius has caught up with us. I rested immediately at the next hut and took a pack of power gel to boost my glucose level. I continued on … I had to … I did not want to take a piggy ride on Marcelius … it’s too embarrassing since I had just seen a girl being carried down as she had sprained her ankle.

Literally with each step, it was becoming more and more painful and my legs were practically like jello. All the while, we thought going down the mountain would have been a breeze. How wrong we were told by Marcelius. Thank God, I still had my walking stick to lean on which we purchase yesterday before ascending for 3 Ringgit. Ray lost his at the summit.

For the next 2 hours, Marcelius held my hand and guided me as I struggled to the next hut.

I kept asking Ray and Marcelius if Carson Falls was nearing … since it would mean that the Timpohon Gate is going to be just round the bend.

Ahhhhhh! We finally reached Timpohon Gate at 3.15 pm, completely exhausted. Again, Marcelius guided me up the stairs to the gate, counting each step we took to complete exactly on 10 at the gate. Immediately I plopped myself next to Ray on the bench nearby. All in all, this was one of the most grueling but rewarding experience I've ever had. By then, we could not afford to take anymore photos. There wasn’t an ounce of energy left in us as Marcelius hurriedly went about registering our return and arranging for the transport to take us back to the reception office to collect our certificates.

As I shown Ray coloured certificate earlier for reaching the summit, here’s my black and white certificate to validate my success at reaching the half-way mark of Laban Rata at 3554.40 metres above sea-level. It may be a mere 500 metre difference to the summit, but don’t be fooled … it’s going to take at least another 3½-hours climb!

The climb up Mount Kinabalu was worth our every effort and time as not everyone would have the ability and stamina to reach even the half-way mark, what more Low’s Peak. I still could not believe that I was able to push myself to that limit, having not been so much of an outdoor person in the past. I may not have been able to personally observe the beauty at the summit but I can sure imagine how exhilarating it felt had I been there and how amazing the view would have been first hand, since I’ve seen so many astonishing photos on the internet.

All in all, Kinabalu National Park is a very beautiful place to be. I definitely loved the cool and lush atmosphere. If there should be a possibility in the future, as long as my health permits, I may reconsider another attempt to reach Low’s Peak.

As we reached the reception office, we could see Kit and Lee waiting ahead for us, since we had planned earlier to pool into a cab for our trip back to Kota Kinabalu. The cab at 150 Ringgit would have been more comfortable and faster than the earlier 'kereta sewa' we took the day before. As the Singaporean couple were scheduled for white water rafting in a different direction, we roped in an Austrian couple, Paul & Diana, into our cab. At the end, we paid 25 Ringgit per person. The 'kereta sewa' fare was actually only 15 Ringgit per person at lesser comfort and speed as well as on an uncertain schedule.

As soon as we had finished our lunch and after bidding farewell to Marcellius, all 6 of us squeezed comfortably in the Mitsubishi Pajero cab and headed happily on our way ...

I'll finish our adventure in the final part. So stay tuned ...


3 Bubbles:

this is interesting Wenny! even though you weren't able to be on the summit at least you were able to ascend. that's a tough one..I congratulate you and Ray for all the hard-work. It requires much determination and patience.

am eagerly waiting for more stories :)

Thank you Amelia, for being such an ardent follower on my adventure to Mt Kinabalu.

it's unfortunate that you didnt reach the summit but it sure is pretty amazing that you managed to reach Laban Rata. I cant say the same for myself being a person who rarely exercise.. hehe :)
From: Lynn