Mount Kinabalu Travel Blog› entry 348 of 424 › view all entries
December 18th, 2008 – by: siri
The first part of the summit walk was really slow going as pretty much everyone set off at the same time. The single file traffic going up the steep path was moving so slowly we were stopping every few steps. At a wider part of the path, our guide whipped around the people, showing us a sneaky path to get round the slower movers. Ahead of the hemmed in crowd now, we found our own pace and made our way up the steep rocky path.
Once we got to the check point and the summit gate, we had our passes checked and then began the real fun part of the trek. We used ropes to pull ourselves up the very steep parts of smooth rock face, it was brilliant! We hurtled up pretty quick and very very suddenly the altitude hit me like a brick wall. My head went dizzy and heavy and I suddenly felt very sick. From here on up, we both began to struggle with the altitude and the thinning air. We took the walk up and across the rock face slowly and had plenty of short rests to rest our spinning heads. It became harder with this added difficulty but was still so enjoyable. In the gloomy dark of the early morning, we could just make out the outlines of some of the rock faces around, like the 'Donkey Ears' formation and, once we got to the 8km marker, the outline of the summit peak.
As it was 5am and still about 45 minutes to the sunrise, we found a sheltered area on the side of the mountain and put on all the layers we carried up with us. Hats, scarves, gloves, fleeces, windproof coats, the lot. We snuggled up to keep warm as one by one, other climbers made it to the top. Looking down the peak, we could see the spots of headtorches glowing in a staggered line down the mountain.
As the sun came up we took up a spot to watch the beauty of the sun transform the valley around and light up the surrounding mountains.
The trek down to the hut was a lot of fun. Now we could see the incredible views all around us and the route we had just climbed up. The views really are breath-taking up there, and we were lucky that the mist had cleared from the previous day. The camera came out at every opportunity and with the steep descent, it was slow-going. The rope bit on the way down was good fun too!
Back at Laban Rata it was time to tuck into a good buffet brekkie and a good cup of tea. With our tummies happy, we quickly packed and then made our way with our guide on the 6km trek down the mountain back to the base.
Very recently the park facilities have taken a rather sharp increase in price. So the Lonely Planet prices are wrong at the moment as they have changed since the last LP was published. We paid the following, although a dorm bed would be cheaper. We booked and paid for the Laban Rata room at the Sutera Sanctuary Lodge office in the Wisma building in KK. The rest is paid in cash at the headquarters.
RM546 for 2 of us for our room (private twin), packed lunch for the climb, buffet dinner at Laban Rata, buffet brekkie at Laban Rata and buffet lunch at the restaurant near the headquarters.
RM85 for our guide for the 2 of us.
RM15 each entry fee which covers 3 days
RM7 each for compulsory insurance
RM100 each for climbing permit
RM33 for return bus fee to the power station/starting point for us both and our guide
RM10 per bag for bag storage at the headquarters
RM5 per walking stick!
Very very expensive, yes, but cheaper than doing it as a part of a tour from KK and more fun with our won guide at our own pace.
You don't need to bring a lot of food as you get given plenty and it is good food. Just some chocolate and a few snacks for the way up is good. Water can be topped up along the way, the water is untreated but comes from the spring on the mountain so should be OK. If you go for a private room as opposed to a dorm bed at Laban Rata, you get towels, soap, even a tooth brush! (although not toothpaste) so save on a bit of bag space!
We were going to stay in the park accommodation for a few nights before and after but a dorm bed is RM85 each (yes that's right) so we didn't.
Expensive, yes, worth it, yes!! Although our legs ache a lot...
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