Unfulfilled Desire to Summit: Mt. Kinabalu
Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
138Trip End May 01, 2013
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Having been unable to get a guide at short notice to complete the trek to the summit we ordered pack lunches, with a tinge of disappointment, to sustain us on our tourist treks lower down the mountain. With limited time before we head to Danum Valley we decided to trek as far and as high as we could go without a permit. We walked up to the National Park headquarters and passed a collection of ugly orange-legged spiders as we made our way up to the booth where we paid our daily entrance fee and excitedly made our way to the start of the longest trail - which was closed
Not to be deterred, we cobbled together an alternative route which was slightly more convoluted but ended at the same point - Timpophon Gate and the start of the summit trail for those who had been lucky enough to get a guide. The climb was mildly strenuous but we were overjoyed to be beating the indicative trek time for each section completing one hour trails in thirty minutes (obviously made for fat Americans...).
We completed the Memphening Trail brimming with confidence and set a course for the Bukit Ular Trail which would lead us to the permit boundary.
Three quarters of the way along Vikki decided she had had enough and flung herself off the path into the undergrowth below - saved only by a thin reed which she had grasped as the ground gave way beneath her. In all seriousness, this is the sort of accident you read about in the news - "climber plunges off Mount Kinabalu whilst navigating a lesser used path" - the gradient was so steep that had Vikki not grabbed the last available branch then she would have made it back to the bottom of the mountain in about twenty five seconds...
Back on the path, and two minor heart attacks later, we decided to negotiate this 'seldom used' trail a little more carefully and soon arrived at the gate to the summit trail, Vikki now sporting some nice brown skid marks on her clothes (inside and out!) and a collection of shin bruises as proof of her survival.
We were very pleased for those couples who had completed the summit climb and passed us at the gate on their return (old couple kissing - ahhh!), and had a little envy that earlier that morning they had experienced an amazing sunrise from the mountain top and that all that hard work had been worth it. We promised ourselves that one day we would get to experience the same elation.
Heading back down we picked up another trail around the lower lying Botanical Gardens and then made our way back to the hostel for a couple of well-earned beers, taking in the scenery and trying to solidify plans for getting to the Danum Valley Field Centre, almost one million miles away, by using public transport alone...(not an easy business in Borneo!). This soon got far too depressing so we decided to just take our chances and head off early in the morning.
We packed our stuff in preparation for our impending departure and kept everything crossed for the epic adventure on public transport tomorrow.