I went to climb Mount Kinabalu in Sabah towards back in April 2011. I never had the intention of climbing Mount Kinabalu at all because I am afraid of heights. However, when I heard that there was a charity expedition to climb Mount Kinabalu in Sabah I leapt at the chance to join in and took a trip to Sabah . Before the Sabah trip, my friend who knows about my fear of heights helpfully warned me not to look down when I reached the summit.
Our expedition group to climb Mount Kinabalu in Sabah started off from Kinabalu National Park at the foot of the 4095 metres tall Mount Kinabalu . We took the Timpohon trail for this journey. Our first destination would be Laban Rata which is around 6 to 7 kilometres away from our starting point.
We began to feel the effects of the thin air as we ascended further along Timpohon trail. By the time we have walked around 3 kilometres we had to stop for a while to catch our breath. The journey was made more difficult by the fact that we had to navigate through uneven grounds and planks without any supporting rails.
While we were stopping at the rest station throughout the trail leading to the summit of Mount Kinabalu , we took the chance to talk with foreign tourists who were on their way down from Mount Kinabalu .
The porters that we hired to carry our bags were surprisingly unaffected by the thin air. These strong Sabah natives told us that they would carry climbers’ bags at least once a week to earn their living. They were also helpful in ensuring our safety during our journey to climb Mount Kinabalu .
We finally made it to the Laban Rata rest house at 5pm. The rest of our group slowly trickled in over the next two hours. Those of us who were strong and fit arrived an hour earlier at 4pm. Here in Laban Rata I could feel the discomfort of breathing through the thin air. Well, I momentarily forgot about the discomfort when it was time for the buffet dinner. I really ate like a pig that night! Then, we all took our bath and later fell into a deep dreamless sleep.
We woke up at around 2am to begin the final part of our Mount Kinabalu climb. We will be ascending to Low’s Peak, the highest summit of Mount Kinabalu . I had the presence of mind to wear thick layers of clothing to keep the coldness at bay. We had our torch lights on as we navigated the extremely dark environment. We were told to keep a steady pace and to take slow deep breaths to prevent altitude sickness.
The higher we climbed, the steeper the path became. The flight of built-in stairs gave way to steep landing where we had to use ropes to navigate our way. It looked quite dangerous. The guides told us that there have been cases where climbers have fallen off the cliff. Their frozen corpses were found a few days later. Did it frighten me a bit when I heard of it? No, it frightened me a lot!
We were eventually left with just only 700 metres to go before we reached the summit of Mount Kinabalu . By the time we reached there it was already sunrise. The breath taking view that we saw there was really worth the long hard journey. I saw beautiful rolling clouds across the horizon. I have admit I was still feeling a bit scared being high up on Mount Kinabalu though! We took several photos and spent some time just savouring the majestic view from the summit of Mount Kinabalu .
We passed by Sayat Sayat hut on our way back to Laban Rata where certificates were issued to successful climbers. The morning mists have cleared by then. Thus we could see the magnificent view of the valley below. It was a leisurely trip back down although my legs were really aching by the end of it. After we had our breakfast back in Laban Rata, we returned to Kinabalu Park just in time for lunch.
Looking back at my journey to climb Mount Kinabalu , I learnt that this charity expedition really tested me on the limit of what I am capable of achieving. The other positive side of this Mount Kinabalu climb is that I did it as part of a charity effort. My time in Sabah climbing Mount Kinabalu was undeniably one of the most challenging tests I ever have to face and I know that it was really worth it.