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Published: March 28th 2012
We had read that climbing Mount Kinabalu was easy, compared to the hassle of organising it. Having done both, we have to disagree completely. Despite having to pay a national park fee, a climbing fee, a guide fee, mandatory insurance, a fee for transport within the park, and a fee for mountainside board and lodgings, the pain on the wallet compares not to the pain in the thighs, calves, knees, feet, head and heart. But it was worth it, just about, for the sense of achievement and awe-inspiring views of Borneo at dawn.
It’s not the distance travelled, nor the time spent walking that hurts, it’s the height gained. It’s hard to convey just how steep the climb is. Try to imagine walking up a seemingly never-ending staircase for eight or nine hours. For the mathematically minded, consider 2.2km of ascent in 8.7km of walking. Then having to walk all the way down again, ever so carefully watching your step.
Thankfully the scenery was more interesting than that enclosing the average staircase. Our favourite sights, though, were probably the 0.5km markers, signifying another landmark as we passed through sticky rainforest, through the clouds into alpine-like vegetation. After a few
The climb begins
A deceptive downhill slope - just meant we had further to go uphill after.
hours rest, we finally ascended to bare rock and the summit, cold and mysterious in the seemingly eternal moments before dawn’s warming rays. They revealed that we’d made it, to 4095m above the intermittently visible sea.
Mount Kinabalu is the highest point in south-east Asia, and features prominently on the flag of the Malaysian state Sabah. Many ‘Sabahans’ have completed the climb on more than one occasion, including our guide, Francis, who has done so twice a week for the past five years. Even his endeavours pale into insignificance next to those of the numerous mountain porters, who carry food and other goods to the overnight lodgings at Laban Rata (~3300m). Perhaps we had it easy, after all. Even if we couldn’t walk properly for four days afterwards.
Tot: 2.311s; Tpl: 0.107s; cc: 18; qc: 92; dbt: 0.0728s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb