The Uphill Struggle

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Laban Rata

Flag of Malaysia  ,
Saturday, January 28, 2006

Didn't get much sleep as the alarm went off at 5:45am and we were soon checked out and in the street looking for a taxi. The bus stop used to be a few minutes walk away but they had conveniently decided to move it 10km's away last week!

So we had to get a taxi to the new long distance bus station which turned out to be a joke. He wouldn't turn on the meter, as most taxi drivers in Asia refuse to even if they advertise they have one, and only obliged when Lars opened the door as we were going down the street and shouted at the driver. When we got to the station he still tried to charge us more money than the meter read and even more for using the boot! We gave him what the meter said and walked away leaving him fuming in the background.

Booked our tickets to Mount Kinabalu and went to get breakfast across the street. It was absolutely hammering it down! Just what you want when you're going to be climbing a mountain! Dined on some Mi Goreng (fried rice with a fried egg on top) before getting aboard the bus.

At the base of the mountain we had to arrange accommodation at the halfway stage and pay the necessary fees for the permits and compulsory guide before starting the climb. Now most people are sensible and take a bus for the 4.5km's to the start point. We however decided to walk it! Stupid idea. It was road all the way and uphill the entire time. Got to the start point absolutely knackered and had to start all over again.

From the start point we still had another 6km's to go until the stopping point at Laban Rata. I'm not going to say it was easy but it's not exactly the hardest mountain in the world to climb. Stairs and ropes are in place the whole way so you need no special equipment or experience to climb the mountain. That said I still found it incredibly hard work.

It started off relatively easy for the first couple of kilometres but was baking hot so we were all soaked through with sweat. After that it continued to climb uphill 99% of the time and got colder and the rain came. By the time we got to the 4.5km mark (9km's for us) I was shattered. We needed to rest every 500 metres and for longer periods everytime. Lars was also struggling with the altitude which made it even harder on him.

However for some reason the next kilometre seemed very easy but was the calm before the storm. The last kilometre was pure hell! It took for ever and the cold was unbearable. I had made it, but that was only halfway.

Made a dash straight to our room for the night which was only 200 metres away but took nearly 15 minutes. Every muscle ached and it was freezing cold. Even though I had no towel with me I headed straight to the shower which was incredible! Scalding hot but I didn't care. I could actually feel me toes and fingers again and felt refreshed. Put on as many layers of dry clothes as possible before getting some much needed dinner and hot coffee before retiring to a freezing cold bedroom with no heating to go to sleep at 6:15pm!
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