Laban Rata was so cold. The toilet was outside the room & there was no heater. And it was drizzling most of the time. The wind was strong & super cold. I didn’t shower for obvious reason. I wore the thermal base-layer I bought from eBay & it worked great. The only thing that is still not enough was the glove. The alcheapo universal traveller glove I bought years ago failed to warm my hands.
At 2AM we woke up & getting ready to summit. This time I need to carry my own bag & all the camera gears. Only by 3AM everyone arrived & Azri gave the briefing but Ramin chipped-in with some demoralizing notes. Things like, you must reached Sayat Sayat (the last check-point) before 4AM & must summit before 6AM. Should reach Timpohon Gate before 4PM or else he will charge extra. Haiyyaa….Such warnings resulted in few of us failed to reach even Sayat-sayat & dR Ali was prevented from going beyond Sayat-sayat based on his late arrival the day before.
I am not sure whether there was any strict enforcement or official statement about timing. But I believe that guides are responsible to ensure that everyone is safe. If the guides don’t want to take the risk, they will create a lot of fuss. I saw many guides who motivated & helped their climbers. Many guides were helpful & friendly. Not Ramin though. We met a doctor from Queen Elizabeth Hospital who was the last to arrive at Low’s Peak. Her guide make sure she reached the summit. We knew she did that when we met her at the airport before we boarded our plane home.
The most difficult part was the 200m ‘cliff hanger’ style trek…he he he. With nothing can be seen below us, walking one-by-one using the rope on a small trek really scary. That was the trek just before Sayat Sayat.
Alhamdulillah I managed to reach the summit. I didn’t perform well. Stopped many times. I simply didn’t have the energy to move fast. Then I stopped at KM8.5 at about 5:30AM. I prayed Fajr prayer there. The weather was not great. There was still a glimpse of orange colour at the horizon but no sun. I kept on shooting. Took out my tripod for the first time. Did some bracketing. Shooting mostly the sunrise from Donkey Ears Peak & some views of South Peak.
After more than one hour there, I moved slowly to Low Peak. Firdaus, Zahari, Ruslan, Rosdi, Izzat & Ustaz were already on their way down. I met Husni along the way & together we summit the highest peak. We were so happy being able to reach the peak. Posed for few photos but cloud are coming fast & started to cover summit. At about 8AM, we started to descend. We met the doctor from QE when we were about to leave Low Peak.
Together with Husni, slowly we walked down the mountain, occasionally using the rope provided. When passing Sayat Sayat to the ‘cliff hanger’ route….I realized that it was not as bad as what we thought when coming up. Somehow I didn’t feel the scare of height anymore.
By 10AM we reached our room & quickly packed our things & went to the rest house at Laban Rata for our breakfast. At 11AM we started our journey to Timpohon Gate. I was tired & the pain slowed me down. I reached the gate only at 4PM.