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Climbing the World's Twentieth Highest Mountain
Trekking Mount #Kinabalu #Malaysia was an #active and #aspiration adventure! I didn't do as much training as I should have and so found the #trek quite difficult, but watching the sunrise over the mountain peak made it all worthwhile.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”- this year I decided to kick start my travel journey doing something I hate the most, i.e. climbing stairs. Yes, I decided to climb one of the highest mountains in the world, Mount Kinabalu at 4095 m.
After my previous trip to mount Rinjani, I had promised myself never to undertake any more climbing expeditions, but alas, I was only fooling myself. Last year there was big news about 6 foreigners who climbed mt. Kinablau and striped down for a naked pic. Then came the news of Kinabalu quake (blamed on the naked tourist), and rest as we all know is history. Anyways, coming back to my story. This whole incident somehow got me curious to see for myself what it feels like to be on top of this majestic mountain, and also to make use of my Malaysian visa which had been dying to see the light of first immigration stamp since 2015. Luckily by later part of the year, Kinabalu was open again for trekking. I lost no time in securing my slots. Just to let the readers know that I had heard about Kinabalu being a difficult trek and months of preparation required. As for me I started my own, by climbing whatever steps came my way. Yes, two months before my journey commenced, I took to stairs instead of elevators. This included taking stairs everywhere. But none of this preparations could prepare me for what I was about to encounter soon.
I was also told to be prepared for the cold harsh winds on my journey. Well, I live in Singapore. The coldest it gets here is when I stick my face in my refrigerator for 10 mins. WARM CLOTHING is not a part of our life. My plan was, to combat the chilly winds, by layering my clothes (only to realize later of the extent of my stupidity). The only sane decision I took was to have my doctor prescribe me meds to help me deal with high altitude, as I was never beyond 4000 meters above sea level, I was a bit paranoid enough to take insurance for any emergency evacuation (sic)
Two Day Trek of Mount Kinabalu
Crocodile Show at Tuaran Crocodile Farm
Gomantong Cave & Kinabatangan River Cruise, Sandakan
With my mental strength on, I packed my bags and rushed to airport. At Kinabalu I was joined by another friend who shared the same enthusiasm for the upcoming trek. After an unusually warm night(s rest), we were picked up early next morning for our registration. This is to be noted that as per the new rules, every person must be registered before trek starts and must be accompanied by a guide. One must stay overnight at the lodge at Laban rata to allow human body to acclimatize to high altitudes.
With my mental strength on, I packed my bags and rushed to airport
We reached the base around 9am. After registration, we spent another 30 min taking pictures of us smirking like joker from batman. With our backpacks on and walking sticks, we were looking forward to celebrating our new year being at the top of Asia. And so the horror started. After barely one hour of climbing I was panting for breath. With my tongue wagging out, my layers of clothes had peeled away to a top and leggings. We had to make multiple stops as I wasn’t used to continuous climbing. I found my excuse in high altitude and I had consumed half of my energy bars. I was looking forward to lose some hard fat but looked away in vain while slowing munching on all those bars. I was the last one to reach the rest house around 5 pm. I thanked my stars and wondered if I should continue the next day. Now comes the turning moment, I stand with a hot cup of coffee in my hands. The cold air giving me chills and there I saw a sea of clouds. It was simply mesmerising.
It was simply mesmerising.
At that moment I relied why people came to this difficult trek. To admire the beauty of nature. I was so tired that I fell in my bed without any changes after dinner. Looking at our pace, our guide had asked us to start an hour early to make it for sunrise. I hardly had slept when I was woken up at 1 a.m. muttered some curse and went to freshen up. A splash of those icy waters on my face almost gave me frost bite.
After a quick breakfast, we headed out for next phase of climbing in the dark. To all the readers, who all are by now thinking that I am exaggerating, phase 2 of climb was pure torture. I kept thinking, I could have been in Singapore and enjoying a beer with friends leisurely resting my ass on the comfortable couch. I so wished I was wonder woman, I could have flown up, but then again I have a fear of flying. Oh my agonies knew no bounds. My only consolation was, if I can make it to mount Rinjani, I could do this too. I gave up so many times, but all other trekkers kept saying “few more minutes, you can do it”. I even had a 10 year old kid come and say that to me. We were the last one again, but I made it to the top finally. The feeling was so worth it. Pushing me beyond my limits was so good .ALWAYS!!! It is always so thrilling to find yourself looking at a world you know well, but have never seen from such an angle before.
Pushing me beyond my limits was so good
After the feeling of achievement passed away, I realized how steep the mountain really was. If climbing up was difficult, descending was an art. I fell down multiple times. My legs already wobbly like a Jell-O, but I refused to make use of my stupid insurance. Finally I made it back to the base. I said to myself.. Never again .. Till next time :)