The climb begins!!

Mount Kinabalu Travel Blog

 › entry 43 of 47 › view all entries
So an early start for us today and we were all feeling quite nervous!
Mount Kinabalu is Sabahs first World heritage site. The summit is 4095.2m above sea level and usually takes two days for normal people to reach the summit. We were told about the Mt Kinabalu Climbathon where superfit crazy people go all the way up to the summit and down again as fast as they can. The record is 2hrs 45minutes!!!!!!!! That is totally insane! Thats for next week I think!
  So there are two trails to take upto Laban Rata which is the resthouse you stay at before the summit. One is the Timpahon Gate trail and the other is the Masilau trail. Timpahon gate is 6km to Laban Rata and a little easier. Masilau is 8km and steeper and more undulating. So not content with just climbing the mountain I decided to do the harder trail! A decision I would be cursing in a couple of hours!
  So at 9am we were off, our bags just contained the essentials and extras were sent up with porters. The porters carry around 20kg up the mounatin alot faster than we carry our 3 or 4kg! The size of the packs on their backs was crazy!
  So our trail consisted of large stone steps / natural steps of rocks and tree roots. They went up at a pretty steep angle most of the time and many were nearly half a meter high! Alot of the time when climbing  (not walking!) up the steps my knees were higher than my hips! There were also many wooden ladders for parts that were too rocky or two steep. I had invested in a walking stick made my the people in Kiau and it turned out to be the best 3 Ringgits I had ever spent. It helped keep my balance on the step ladders as there were no railings.
  So soon I got into my rythm and pace - a slow one as it was so bloody hard. Seriously, it was nothing like I have ever experienced in my life. Walking in England is good and can be hard but this was up up up up up steep ladders up up up all the way. There was no let up on the 'upness' and steepness from 9am until 3pm when I made it the 8km to Laban Rata.
  So Laban Rata is 3270m above sea level. The altitude hit me at 2700m I think. The last two kilometers was the longest two hours and the hardest two hours I have ever done! The altitude made me very very dizzy and nausious. I had slowed right down as putting one foot in front of the other was really really hard! It was raining too to make things easier! There were a couple of times when I almost stopped and didnt start again but I kept going. I know I would have regretted it forever if I didn't!! Billy, the guide was so fantastic at keeping us going (even though he climbs it twice a week and hadn't even broken a sweat! Sod!) and eventually Laban Rata appeared!!!
  I was so relieved I just cried and couldn't stop!! I have never ever been so exhausted in all my life! Headed for the room and promptly fainted due to altitude and exhaustion but after a bar of Dairy Milk i was feeling a little better but hadn't stopped crying yet!!
  Unfortunately there was not hot water and the showers were stone cold! Normally a cold shower would be welcome in asia but at this altitude it was a bit too cold!! Dinner was awsome as it was a buffet and i ate so much!!!!
  We were briefed about tomorrow summit attempt and they told us usually only 70% of the people who leave Laban Rata make it to Lowes Peak. I was determined not to be in that 30% even though Andrew didnt know if I would be fit to do it because of how the altitude was affecting me.
  So we were all tucked up in bed at 7.30pm as we were due to leave for the summit at 2am!!!
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Mount Kinabalu
photo by: Deats