KK, the mountain pursuit
Trip Start Mar 10, 2007
153Trip End Jan 01, 2007
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Spent the rest of the day eating, preparing for going up the mountain and resting.
THE MOUNTAIN (dun dun duh!)
Got to the mountain about 10:30 am, but we got screwed over by everyone else at the office and couldn't find anyone else to share the cost of a guide with (70rm) so we waited till 2, hoping someone else would show (they didn't) then begrudgingly paid the final amount of the ludicrous fees and set off up the mountain.
The first days walk consists of a 6km walk up to the rest point of Laban Rata and the surrounding guest houses, where we had accommodation booked at Gunting Lagadan (altitude 3,323m or 1000 feet)
The walking itself was very tough, but we were blessed with perfect weather for it, so that made a big difference, as we had spoken to people who just days before had attempted to do it but could only go as far as the rest point (the conditions were so bad the guides wouldn't go further). When we got to the rest point, we cooked our gourmet feast we had brought with us (instant noodles and bread, we weren't paying 17rm for fried rice), then went to bed at 6pm for preparation for the 3am summit climb.
Slept surprisingly well considering bedtime was at 6pm, rammed two packs of noodles down my throat (obviously i cooked them first!), burnt my throat, then we set off.
The climb to the summit was 2.7km, but it was a much steeper, slipperier climb and i was uphill all the way, walking up smooth steep rock face with the aid of ropes fixed to the surface, like abseiling upwards
The guidebooks estimate the climb to take 2.5 to 4 hours, so again i was really pleased to finish in just under 2 hours, even overtaking numerous groups of people on the way (go me). At the very beginning as soon as i hit the first few steps my legs began to ache and i began thinking to myself 'what have you gotten yourself into' and 'maybe you overdid it yesterday, you can't do this', but i think things like climbing this mountain are more mental challenges than anything else, and i wasn't going to be weak mentally (as Simon put it) so i soldiered on. Although the climb was very hard and very tiring, i loved it. Looking up from the darkness to the beauty of a clear sky painted with millions of stars, then looking backward down the mountain to the hundred of lights following us up the mountain, like a swam of fireflies, was one of the highlights of my trip so far. Summitting was an even more rewarding experience, as the views were truly breathtaking, especially as sun came up. We all talk a ludicrous amount of photos, including the obligatory cheesy photos with the summit sign. I finished off my pack off nips (tee hee), then we began our descent, which was a hell of a lot easier than the way up, in my opinion anyway.
Arriving at the park headquarters, i phoned all the bus companies to find out that the buses to sandakan were full, then tried to flag a couple down (they didn't stop) before we flagged down a minivan driver who took us to Sandakan for 25rm each!