Mt Kinabalu


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Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Mount Kinabalu
September 21st 2022
Published: September 29th 2022
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The next morning we set out for our next adventure, climbing Mt Kinabalu! Felix had registered all our details (including evidence of a negative Covid test) and we congregated at the park headquarters together our 3 mountain guides Sai, Edwin and Bonny. As we had to take our overnight gear with us, most of us sent a small amount of gear with porters. And with that we set of to the Timpohon gate the start the climb. The gate is already approx 1900m above sea level, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that will make the climb easier! The track to the guest house is 6 km long, at a very steep incline. The track is a combination of steep stairs (in my case, knee-height) large boulders and some flat paths. Each km there was a little rest hut. Along the way we passed climbers descending, as well as porters making their way up and down with climbers gear as well as supplies for the guest house. We since learned the final ascent to the summit was called off that morning, as well as the day before due to bad weather! The hike to the guest house was hard, 1 km felt like 2 or 3! It took me and a couple of the other girls 5.5 hours to reach the guest house but we made it! The groups mountain guides were excellent and there was one with those that were in the front (scout) one with the middle group and another with the group at the back (sweeper). Once we all arrived to the guest house we were shown to our dorm rooms and I had a freezing cold shower in 8 degree temperature! Dinner was early around 5 pm and then we watched the sunset which was really quite magical. An early bedtime at around 7.30 as we then woke up at 1am to prepare for the summit! It was really quite hard to get any decent sleep, but there we were 1.30am in our winter gear having breakfast (or supper as they put it) then by 2am we were outside with head torches on for the hardest climb yet – 2.7 km to the top!

Bill and I stuck together this time and climbed up incredible incline – almost 45 degree angles in some parts! Climbing over rocks and rockfaces, we used existing ropes to pull ourselves up the mountain and it was so physically exerting we had to stop every 30 or so metres to catch our breath. While it was literally freezing at 0 degrees or less we were quite sweaty from the climb but we were warned not to climb too quickly as the wind chill at the summit makes it so much colder , so you’ll be freezing waiting for sunrise. As it was, Bill and I arrived just as the sun was coming up and got an obligatory photo with the sign at the summit – we made it 4095.2 metres!!! Woo hoo!! We slowly made out way back down walking around taking photos of the sunrise and clouds and just taking it all in. It was just breathtaking! By that point my knees were going so I was very slow down the summit but Bill and our guide Edwin stayed with me. After another breakfast at the guest house we checked out and made the very slow 6km hike down. A couple of our Intrepid crew did the Via Ferrata which is an extra hard series of challenges to get back down involving hanging off the cliff face, so they left the guesthouse after us. My knees were so sore at this point I used both walking poles and was super slow. At some point Bill went off ahead and I stuck with the girls. Then a few km on there was just two – me and Cat. Edwin was wonderful again he stayed with us as we trudged on, making way for porter and faster climbers. We even saw tourists being stretcher and piggy backed away! Then the rains came, first light then heavier. The stairs never ended and were so slippery we couldn’t go faster even if we tried. After what felt like an eternity and about 7 hours after we depths guest house we made it to the bottom! Bill, Felix and 2 other girls were waiting for us at the restaurant and we had a packed lunch then we were driven to the Poring hot Springs. Our guides were super helpful and courteous we really appreciated all their help and gave them an additional tip. The rest of our group and cold beers were waiting for us at the Poring hot Springs. Mt Kinabalu- we conquered you and you did not disappoint with your breathtaking views!

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