Doing Summit For A Change

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Sunday, January 29, 2006

Alarm went off at 1:30am and I felt awful. The altitude had given me a stupidly painful headache and as a result I didn't sleep very well. The cold hadn't really had too much of an effect and the 2 blankets were toasty warm.

Threw all the clothes back on and trudged down to the cafe for a large buffet breakfast and lashings of coffee before donning the hat and gloves to complete the climb at 2:40am.

It was freezing, pitch black and we still had 4km's to climb before sunrise. Lars was really struggling and almost had to stay behind whilst we finished the climb. The 2 paracetamol I had taken worked wonders. Cleared the pain in my head and the aching muscles in my legs so I could actually walk.

The climb was going fine for the first kilometre or so. It was very steep and we had to haul ourselves up using the ropes in stages but it eventually leveled out into a steady climb. It was at this point that my torch died and I was left to finish the 3km's in darkness!

I thought it would make the climb harder but I quickly gained my night vision and was flying up the rocks. I did have to keep shielding my eyes from the person up the hill shinning a 1 million candle torch back down on everyone. I ended up jumping from rock to rock as if it were daylight and pulled away from the rest of the pack. I could see how Lars was doing because he had a luminous glow stick dangling around his neck but he was miles back and plodding along slowly.

The view was quite incredible. The stars were unbelievably bright and we could see the tiny lights of a small town below us. Thankfully there were no clouds so we would have a perfect view of sunrise.

The climb was relatively straight forward until the last 500 metres where I had to do my best Spiderman impression and clamber over the rocks on my hands and knees until I suddenly reached a tiny slab of rock and it was all over. I had made it to the top and I was 3rd to get there out of the hundreds who were climbing! It felt great! But it was 4:50am and the sunrise wasn't until 6:30am. Uh oh!

The following 100 minutes were the coldest I have every experienced. People kept on arriving and Lars got there 10th even though he was really struggling until the last kilometre.

I huddled down facing the distance to get the best view of sunrise and try to keep warm. It didn't work. Within 40 minutes I was shivering constantly and couldn't feel my fingers or toes. By the time the sunrise started I could hardly press the button on my camera to take the pictures but I persevered to get the best pictures possible. I was ecstatic to arrive at the top but the second the sun got up I was getting down as quick as possible!

I basically ran down the mountain. The ropes I had used to climb up earlier became abseiling ropes and I bounced down like a pro. i jumped from stone to stone and got back to the room within an hour.

We collected our bags and went back to the cafe for another well earned buffet breakfast and more coffee to warm up. It was at this point that Lars realised his money belt had disappeared somewhere on the climb! Passport, money and credit cards all somewhere up the mountain and he was frantic. He was all prepared to climb back up the mountain when someone came in the cafe and gave it back to him having found it on the climb. Relief all round!

So we rested and had a few more coffee's before beginning the arduous task of the descent. Incredibly boring and took nearly 3 hours! We were all shattered and relieved when we got to the bottom and happy to be on the way back to Kota Kinabalu.

Bus ride was surprisingly quick and we only got to see half of King Kong before we arrived back at the bus station and boarded another bus bound for the old station in KK. The Three Musketeers, as the hostel owner dubbed us, were thoroughly happy to check back into the hostel, this time in a massive 20 bed dorm, and have a well deserved shower.

Sat around in the room resting for the afternoon and telling the Swedish girls in the room that it was really easy before setting off to get dinner. Everywhere in town was closed! It was Chinese New Year tomorrow and all the restaurants/shops had closed. We ended up eating at some local fast food place that kept bringing us free food for some reason? We weren't going to say no though! Went to a little bar nearby again but as we weren't drinking we couldn't even toast our success! A well earned early night before another long day tomorrow.
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