July 23, 2013

Stairway to Mount Kinabalu - the climb to Low's Peak

Continuation from here ...

Everybody at the hut went to bed by 8 pm. We were going to continue the climb to the summit at 2.30 am to catch the sunrise. I put Salonpas patches around my knees and legs to relieve the muscle pain and popped a panadol since I was starting to feel a mild headache. Brooke was already asleep as her headache got worse. Unfortunately, Panadols don't work for altitude sickness. Poor her! 

We woke up at 1.30 am, and went down to Laban Rata for supper. Gotta eat to fuel ourselves for the final push. 

Brooke was still unwell so she decided not to continue the climb. I was sad for her but she made the right decision. Climbers should not ascend any further if they have the symptoms of altitude sickness cos severe altitude sickness can be fatal if not treated quickly. The best way to do is descend to lower areas or just rest, cos your body will acclimatize in a day or two.

So I just continued the climb to the summit with Safar and other climbers. It was so freaking cold at 2.30 am. It was less than 10°C, and top that with the wind that blasted like crazy. You really need a warm clothing, wind breaker, beanie hat, as well as gloves for the climb. Oh.. don't forget the headlamp. We're climbing in the dark ok. 
 
I wore an oversized sweater borrowed from Brooke's friend in KK... so unglam! hahaha..

The climb to the summit from Laban Rata is about 2.72 km. It started with stairs and a very slow one cos there were quite a number of climbers in front of me so we had to queue. But I wasn't complaining cos I had time to take a breather every time I had to stop. In the middle of the dark, I could see a long chain of headlamps ahead of me getting higher and higher, giving hints of the route I had to take.   

By 3.45 am, I was already at KM7 or Sayat-sayat check point. You need to check in here to report your climb to the summit. I took a break for a while before continuing the hike. Beyond this checkpoint, it was all rocky boulders and we had to climb with a rope. What with climbing in the dark. The strong wind didn't help either. Honestly, it was quite scary. But I just told myself to do it. I just followed other climbers in front of me so that I know where to hold the rope and where to put my feet on the rocks. Also I made sure I stayed as close as possible to the rope, if not holding it.

Past KM8, I was already excited. Just a little bit more! The slope here was rather gradual so I managed to climb faster. Only at the final 200 metres it started to be all steep rocks again.  

I made it to the top at around 5.30 am. It didn't quite sink into me until I saw the famous Low's Peak signboard, and thought "Wow.. this is it! I am on top of the world Mount Kinabalu!"  

At this time, the summit became a little bit crowded as more and more climbers arrived. Without wasting any time, I climbed on the rocks to get the best spot to view the rising of the sun. As we idly waited there, I felt uncomfortable under the 4 layers of clothes I wore so I took off the sweater. It won't look good in the pictures anyway. haha.. 




No words could describe my feeling as the sun gradually came out. Catching that first glimpse of sunlight from the summit of the highest mountain in Malaysia, I couldn't stop counting my blessing for the opportunity.

As the day became brighter, the various peaks began to light up around us.

 
see the crowd of climbers up there on the summit?





Just next to where I was standing was the intimidating Low's Gully, the enormous funnel shaped groove cut deeply into the center of the Kinabalu massif. Looking down the gully sent shivers down my spine so I shifted my focus to the gorgeous view around me instead.

the inaccessible Low's Gully


After the all important snapshots of myself at the summit and the Low's Peak signboard, Safar signalled to me that it was time to climb down.













 
The climb down was rather fast. I passed through Sayat-sayat check point again at 7.30 am. The guy at the check post asked whether I wanted a certificate for the climb, to which I replied, "Of course!". It cost RM10 though.

I reached my hut at 8.15 am, packed my belongings and headed down to Laban Rata resthouse for a well deserved breakfast. Brooke was already there, having breakfast with our dorm mates. And what do you know! After she went back to sleep post supper, she woke up a few hours later feeling great. The headache was gone! Yup.. she just needed time to acclimatize herself. Had she signed up for a 3D2N trip, she could've climbed to the summit then. Oh well.. not her day I guess.

with Brooke and my dorm mates in Gunting Lagadan

At 9.30 am, we started the climb down and reached Timpohon Gate some 4 hours later. My legs were wobbling like mad as we reached the bottom, and I vowed to myself that it was gonna be the first and the last climb for me. Haha..

yeah... I am a successful climber!

Took my certificate from the HQ office, had our lunch at the restaurant and off we went out from the park. We just waited by the roadside for buses headed to Kota Kinabalu. About 20 minutes later, we boarded a minivan, leaving the mountain with mixed emotions.
 

5 comments:

Supermeng Malaya said...

congrats

syieda said...

Rara,
Congrats!!!

rara said...

supermeng & syieda: thank u!! :D

Mohd Syafei Ahmad said...

Thanks for sharing. I will definitely do exactly what you did. Fly to KK then just take it from there.

rara said...

@Syafei : yup.. free n easy senang je.. :)