I have climbed few mountains before including Mt Merapi (2968m) in 2008, Mt Lawu (3265m) also in 2008, and Mt Rinjani (~3200m, up to its rim only) in 2009 (all in Indonesia). But when my friend, Ali invited me to join him & the UMP Kolej Matrikulasi Team to climb Mount Kinabalu…..I was so anxious and to some extent scared. This make me plan properly of what I should prepare in conquering the summit especially when I have heard so many people failed to reach the summit.
Camera & Lenses
The thing that make we, photographer, differ than most other climbers is that our gears are heavy! Camera & lenses plus tripod already weigh almost 10kg. That, if I bring only one camera plus 2 lenses (Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 & Nikkor 85mm f1.4). I normally carry two camera bodies, few wide angles & one tele-lense (Nikkor 70-200mm VR). But I have to prioritize. No point bringing heavy equipments but not able to climb the mountain. So its final, its a D3 plus 14-24 & 85mm.
I have been asking people whether I should carry a tripod or not. And since I was given a tripod to test, I will bring it.
Thermal Skin Baselayer
I asked people who had succesfully climbed the mountain & almost all told me to prepare for the extreme cold. I had horrible experience when I was at Rinjani’s rim last July. The temperature was about 4-5oC, and I was told Kinabalu can go sub-zero!! So the first thing I get for my self is a pair of good thermal base layer. I bought it from eBay. Its called Super Featuring Aerowarm. Just google for it. Its about RM100 each. Both the shirt & pant arrived yesterday & the quality is good.
Then, come this huge problem. Camera bag to carry that 10kg camera equipments. I have decided to rely on my Deuter Futura 32L & I bought a camera insert (also new from eBay) called Puleme. This insert is not that great. Its cheap looking padded bag with cheap zip. But the pad should be adequate to protect my gears.
Futura is for my camera gears. How about other stuff? I don’t think I will bring too many things. If only I can leave some stuff in the hotel. So, for those stuff, even though not that heavy, maybe another 6-8kg, I’ll use my Deuter AirContact Pro. I plan to ask a potter to carry the bag.
Based on my experience, trekking poles help a lot, and I will bring two!
I already have a 3L Deuter water bladder. I’ll use it & bring it inside my Futura. But I don’t think I need to carry all 3L from the basecamp as there are many water station along the way.
Shoes & Socks
I will use my old Columbia trekking shoes. A friend advised me to bring thick socks, so I will bring 2 pairs.
Glove is extremely important. But I antipcate problem using my camera with glove on.
Snow cap & Balaclava
I don’t have balaclava but I do have buff. So I will use that buff & wear it as a balaclava.
Someone reminded me about headlamp…yes! It is extremely essential. How come I forgot about it. I do have an old Black Diamond. Served me well in all my previous mountain expeditions.
Anything else I miss guys??
Mental & Physical Fatness Fitness
Finish with the equipments, now the most major thing for all mountain climbing is physical & mental fitness. But me & Ali managed to climb Merapi without any of those things! Thanks to Arey & Remy. Lucky we didn’t die up there.
I am now cycling. Try to exercise for both cardio & muscle. Hoping to cycle 300 km monthly. And I must try to climb Bukit Panorama once before I go.