Mount Kinabalu Climb (Sabah) - Day 160-161
Trip Start Jan 31, 2008
254Trip End Ongoing
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Day 160 - 31/07/08
I was told yesterday to be at the bus stop for 6.30am this morning. The early start was to catch a minibus to the foot of Mount Kinabalu which I'll be scaling over the next couple of days. The bus didn't leave until well after 8am, so I could have had an extra couple of hours in bed. That's Asia for you!
It was an uncomfortable but beautiful two hour ride through the green mountains of Borneo to reach Kinabalu national park. A bright crystal clear day in the highlands with a cloudless Mount Kinabalu in the background towering over the other peaks. Think I might be lucky with the weather in an area which is notorious for heavy rainfall. The park receives four metres of rainfall a year, so fingers crossed for dry conditions.
Arrived at park headquarters with a soar ass due to the uncomfortable minibus seats. Paid the climbing and park entrance fee in addition to the guide costs
1500 metres of ascent today which was totality relentless, no flat sections just steep steps most of way, a completely energy sapping climb to the Lagatan Huts at 3300 metres. 6km in just under 4 hours, slow going.
I found the climb today pretty boring to be honest, didn't see a lot of wildlife and only occasionally would my hard work be rewarded with great panoramic views of the lush rainforests and peaks of Borneo. The vegetation was impressive though, and the changes in the flora were noticeable as we ascended higher. First thick rainforest, then the trees reduced in size, heather's appear over 2700 metres and an Alpine zone over 3000 metres. Very similar to the vegetation changes on Kilimanjaro.
Arrived at the huts by mid-afternoon where i'll be staying tonight, relaxed for a few hours and watched the beautiful pink sunset above the clouds from the balcony of the hut
Went to my bunk at 8pm, needed to get some shut-eye before waking up at 2.30am for the final climb to the summit for sunrise
Day 161 - 01/08/08
Left the Gunting Lagadan hut (3323 metres) at 2.50am with the intention of reaching the summit at 6am to watch the sunrise, but we blazed a trail and summated at 5am. The cold summit stands at 4095 metres and is the highest peak between the Himalayas and Papua New Guinea. Had to wait in the freezing conditions for over an hour before the sun warmed us up with it's strong equatorial rays. With the wind chill it must of been -10 Celsius. I found an overhanging rock on the summit which I slid under to try and get out of the wind. I was soon joined by a few other people, so we huddled together to keep warm. Apparently I fell a sleep for a while to the amazement of the other freezing climbers. I'm a man of the mountains, this my natural habitat ;o)
Sunrise was rather cloudy unfortunately, but cleared a little after the sun past the horizon. I wasn't too disappointed, I actually thought the light penetrating through the thick mist was a lot more impressive. The opaque colours of the sunrise diffusing through the mist was majestic, made me forget about my freezing hands hands for a while as I watched the fast moving clouds obscuring the sun's light.
After spending a couple of hours on the summit, descended 800 metres to the huts for breakfast
Returned back to KK on the bus from the national park headquarters. Checked back into the Best Western where I stayed before heading to the mountain. I can relax and live in relative luxury for the next three nights before I fly to Bali.
Went out for a few beers this evening with some guys I met on the mountain. Returned to the hotel early to hit the sack, the exercise and lack of sleep has left me feeling a little tired.