Reaching the summit

Mount Kinabalu Travel Blog

 › entry 153 of 658 › view all entries
Mount Kinabalu

People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Hannes (Sweden), David and Emilie (Australia), Brad (Canada), James (Malaysia)

We awoke at 2am on Day 2 to make our 2.7km push for the sunrise at the summit, estimated to be around 6am. After the first 500m, it became apparent that Julia was really struggling and the altitude was taking a great effect on her body. We let the rest of the group go ahead and i stayed with her and James for a short while. After another 100m we decided it was going to be best for all concerned if i left her with James to go at her own pace, and made my own way up. I pushed on and managed to catch the rest of the guys at the 7km point. The climb was not only up wet, slippery granite, but there were also sections where you had to pull yourself up using a rope.

The breathtaking sunrise seen from Lows Peak
This made the going a lot slower and we began to wonder if sunrise was do able. We pushed on quite hard for what we thought was the next 500m, and we were extremely shocked to realise that we missed the 7.5km sign and had actually made it to 8km by 5am.

The higher we climbed, the colder it became and it then became clear that we were going to summit too early and thus be stuck in the biting cold winds. We therefore slowed our pace and also took long rests behind any shelter that we could find. At 5.40am, as the sky lightened, we made it to Lows Peak, delighted to be looking out across the whole of South East Asia! We congratulated each other, although i was slightly sad that Julia wasn't there to share in the moment.

The sun eventually rose around 5.52am and we marvelled as the colours changed on the horizon and i witnessed probably my most impressive sunrise ever.

Me at the sunrise at Lows Peak
The valleys lit up and you could see for 100's of kilometres in all directions. The mountain was also so huge, that it cast a wonderful shadow to the west. We stayed on the top for 20 minutes, snapping away as the light varied from minute to minute. Eventually we made our move, feeling like our hands were about to drop off.

I couldn't believe it when only 70m from the top i ran into Julia, i'd already gone back to Lows Point twice to take photos and i told her i was happy to go up for a third time with her. Unfortunately she had been physically sick from the altitude and there was no way she was going any higher. She had made 4030m, by far the highest she had ever been and i was so proud of her, that she had battled all that way and seen the sunrise from so near to the top.

Mount Kinabalu causes a colossal shadow

We descended together, marvelling at the views and stopping for regular photo opportunites. Every time i thought i had a great picture, i kept thinking that i could then get a better one! We made it back to Laban Rata around 8.30am and went straight to bed, physically and mentally exhausted. We woke up around 11am, ate some beans and decided it was time to do the last 6km back to base camp.

All our legs were pretty sore and the first 2km seemed pretty hard on them. This section was actually the freshest that we would be over the next 5 hours and the last 4 kilometres were absolute killers. Not only were our muscles aching, but soon our joints were dying from the long hard steps. To cap it all off, it began to rain and we got thoroughly soaked. Saying that, we were already pretty wet from sweat! By the last kilometre i genuinely thought my legs were going to drop off and they had turned to jelly.

Me and Julia on Mount Kinabalu
Every step became an effort and iwas so relieved when we finally made it home. I guarantee that the picture we took at the end is nothing like how we genuinely felt. If only you could have seen our real facial emotions, you would probably end up having sleepless nights!!

We said goodbye to Brad who was heading to Kota Kinabalu, whilst the 5 of us caught a minivan to Poring for some relaxation in the Hot Springs. By the time we arrived at 5pm, none of us felt like doing anything and agreed to go to the springs the following day. We checked into Poring Lodge and horror soon hit us, when we realised that there was not only no hot water, but no water at all in the communal bathrooms.

Julia, Me, Emilie, David, Hannes and Brad all faking happiness at the end! NB: Travbuddy hit the peak - see t-shirt!
We were shown into a double room ensuite, with spider webs getting tangled in my face it was so dirty, and took a weak cold shower, not really the relaxation we were looking for!

To make matters worse, we then found not 1, but 2 scorpions in our room! I figured i'd rather be taking my chances at the Bates Motel, but we were restrained from leaving as once more it began to chuck it down. I was too sore to move anywhere, especially in the rain, but luckily Julia and Hannes were so hungry that they went out and brought me back some fried rice. We crashed out around 10pm, glad that the day was finally over!

Deats says:
Thanks a lot :) This trip was one of the highlights of my trip.
Posted on: Jul 24, 2009
almond72 says:
The sunrise pics are very beautiful.
The Poring springs bungalow rooms were very good.
3 bedrooms with a hall and A/C, DVD,cable etc. Looked like a 5 star hotel room. Even the dorms were pretty clean when I was there in 2007. Poor you !
Posted on: Jul 24, 2009
Deats says:
I hope you get a clear morning as this was one of the most beautiful sunsets ive ever seen, truly incredible place!
Posted on: May 11, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Mount Kinabalu
Mount Kinabalu
The breathtaking sunrise seen from…
The breathtaking sunrise seen fro…
Me at the sunrise at Lows Peak
Me at the sunrise at Lows Peak
Mount Kinabalu causes a colossal s…
Mount Kinabalu causes a colossal …
Me and Julia on Mount Kinabalu
Me and Julia on Mount Kinabalu
Julia, Me, Emilie, David, Hannes a…
Julia, Me, Emilie, David, Hannes …
James, Hannes, Julia, Emilie and B…
James, Hannes, Julia, Emilie and …
Julia makes her way up one of the …
Julia makes her way up one of the…
Climbing the stairs in the dark
Climbing the stairs in the dark
Me at Lows Peak, the highest peak …
Me at Lows Peak, the highest peak…
The view from Lows Peak before the…
The view from Lows Peak before th…
Cloud sweeps in at Lows Peak, look…
Cloud sweeps in at Lows Peak, loo…
The breathtaking sunrise seen from…
The breathtaking sunrise seen fro…
The breathtaking sunrise seen from…
The breathtaking sunrise seen fro…
View of the sunrise from Lows Peak
View of the sunrise from Lows Peak
The breathtaking sunrise seen from…
The breathtaking sunrise seen fro…
The breathtaking sunrise seen from…
The breathtaking sunrise seen fro…
The breathtaking sunrise seen from…
The breathtaking sunrise seen fro…
The breathtaking sunrise seen from…
The breathtaking sunrise seen fro…
View from Lows Peak, looking west
View from Lows Peak, looking west
View from Lows Peak, looking west
View from Lows Peak, looking west
View from Lows Peak, looking north…
View from Lows Peak, looking nort…
View from Lows Peak, looking  nort…
View from Lows Peak, looking nor…
Me at the sunrise at Lows Peak
Me at the sunrise at Lows Peak
View from Lows Peak, looking north
View from Lows Peak, looking north
View from Lows Peak, looking west
View from Lows Peak, looking west
Mount Kinabalu causes a colossal s…
Mount Kinabalu causes a colossal …
View from Lows Peak, looking south…
View from Lows Peak, looking sout…
View from Lows Peak, looking  sout…
View from Lows Peak, looking sou…
Me sat on a rock at Lows Peak
Me sat on a rock at Lows Peak
View from Lows Peak
View from Lows Peak
View from Lows Peak, looking south
View from Lows Peak, looking south
Julia at 4000m
Julia at 4000m
Julia with Lows Peak only 70m behi…
Julia with Lows Peak only 70m beh…
Celebrating having summited
Celebrating having summited
View from Lows Peak, looking south
View from Lows Peak, looking south
Im King of the World!!!
Im King of the World!!!
View from Mount Kinabalu, looking …
View from Mount Kinabalu, looking…
Descending Mount Kinabalu by rope
Descending Mount Kinabalu by rope
View from Mount Kinabalu, looking …
View from Mount Kinabalu, looking…
View from Mount Kinabalu, looking …
View from Mount Kinabalu, looking…
Descending the ropes back to Laban…
Descending the ropes back to Laba…
A squirrel at one of the rest poin…
A squirrel at one of the rest poi…
One of 2 Scorpions we found in our…
One of 2 Scorpions we found in ou…
Mount Kinabalu
photo by: Deats