The very first word I wanna saya here is alhamdulillah! Meaning thanks to almighty Allah for being able to climb Mount Kinabalu to its highest peak, Low’s Peak (at 4095.2m above sea level). Before I carry on, is Kinabalu the highest peak in SEA? Some said, it’s the 5th. Not 1st. You can read this blog. Well…if you want, you can quarrel about it…but I don’t want…
On Monday’s 17 Jan 2011, 10:45PM, my wife sent both me & my friend, dR Ali to Kolej Matrikulasi Pahang in Gambang. I met all of the team members for the first time except En Zahari whom I have met few days before during a TT (teh-tarik) in Taman Sepakat. Apart from me, dR Ali, En Zahari…..the members were Husni, Ruslan, Izzat, Firdaus, Ustaz (not sure his real name, but we called him Ustaz Mawar eventually…wakakaka) and the cheerful Haziera. We went to LCCT in a van. We reached the airport at about 5AM and we met the rest of the group few hours later. They were Tuan Zaidi (the ex-deputy director for KMPh, who is now the director for KMJ (Tangkak)), Puan Zurina & En Rosdi.
We boarded the AirAsia flight on time & reached KK at noon. We went for lunch & solat before we bought some food for the journey. We stayed at Kinabalu Park, a beautiful hillside resort, which is where Timpohon’s gate located, about 50km from KK. We stayed in Grace’s hostel. I thought the rest of team members knew each other well even before the project, but I was so surprise to know that many of them rarely talk to each other before this. Well, they seemed like they have been good friends for ages, cracking jokes almost all the time!
On day 2, we got up very early in the morning…some even woke up & got ready by 2AM!! Ha ha ha! We went for our breakfast & then straight to the registration. We met our guides, Ramin & Azri for the first time. And immediately went to Timpohon’s gate.
We started trekking at about 9AM. Detail description of Mount Kinabalu expedition are available in many websites already. I’ll put up some photos when I finished uploading them.
Our first destination for that day was Laban Rata, 3272 m above sea leavel, or 6KM from Timpohon’s gate. Average expected time to reached Laban Rata was 7 hours. Along the way, the trek was clean & well maintained. There were altogether 7 shelters on the way to Laban Rata. There was water supply (untreated though) at all shelters.
(Source: Sutera Harbour)
When we started the journey, it was already cloudy & then drizzles at about 12PM. No really heavy downpour though….alhamdulillah.
I travelled using my Deuter Futura 32L with Puleme’s camera insert. I brought my Nikon D3, Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 lens, Nikkor 105mm f2.8 VR and my carbon fibre Feisol 3442 Tournament’s tripod with a Photoclam’s ballhead. The whole bag weighted 13KG. I used a porter. In fact Azri, one of the guide also served as the porter. The fee was RM8 per KG up to Laban Rata. I think I made a wise decision using a porter to carry the bag!
So I travelled light with two trekking poles & a waist pouch carrying my wallet, phone & Leica D-Lux 4 point & shoot. All the pictures during the journey was shot with D-Lux 4.
The journey was pretty tough actually. Steps and rocks were mind & mental challenging! The shelters really helped a lot. No need to carry a lot of mineral water. One can refill at any shelter. Summit trail is very very clean. Even the toilets were all in good condition. Cleaner than any Indonesian trails I have been. I feel very proud of that!
The last KM was hell for me. It took me almost 90 minutes to complete 1.5KM, below the average of 30-45 minutes per KM before. I eventually reached Laban Rata at 3:01PM. About 6 hours not considering 1 hour wasted when waiting Azri to bring my bag for me to get the raincoat.
The thin air made everything worse. I feel so sleepy, headache & easily tired. The first thing I wanted to do was to get to the bed & sleep. And I did just that. We were given Panar Laban Hut, which as another 100m climb from Laban Rata Resthouse. The weather was wet & so so cold. I took off my rain jacket, bumped into the bed immediately & slept. Later Azri arrived with my bag. I cleaned myself. Skipped the shower (no heater!!) & performed Zuhr & Asr before I went for dinner at 6:30PM. I met Zahari, Ruslan, Firdaus (who arrived at 1PM), Husni, Izzat & Ustaz. En Zaidi, Puan Zurina, Haziera & Rosdi were just arrived. But not dR Ali! I was told that he took pictures along the way, and knowing Ali, I didn’t worry but when I saw the guide in the coffe house & no Ali, I became worried. The guides promised to search for Ali after their meal. They did that I believe at 8PM. At 8:30PM, I was already in my bed when Ali called me. And at about 9PM Ali reached our room. Alhamdulillah.
We slept early that night. Second part coming soon.