Reaching the summit
Mount Kinabalu Travel Blog› entry 153 of 658 › view all entries
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!