Friday, July 30, 2010

Mount K diaries–the final push, summit day

After much rest, its time to hit the summit trail and this time, we’ll hike from Laban Rata to the Sayat-Sayat station.
Supper was really good as I worked out an appetite. We had about five to six hours of sleep before waking up and had our gear and don our cold weather clothings.
The duofold longjohns held up very well and my biggest worry was the wind chill factor. This was founded much later.
When the door at Laban Rata opened, I can feel the chill down to my bones. Slowly, in an orderly manner, we hiked up to Gunting Lagadan lodge.
Just a few yards away, came the rope section.
At this point, some climbers had turned back and as far as 30 people didn’t make it to the peak.
Vincent, who was the strongest of the lot had made his way to the top.
For Michelle and me, it was one step at a time.
I hiked up the trail of rope which was laid out all the way to the peak.
We had a distance of 2.7km to cover before reaching Low’s Peak at 4,095metres above sea level.
The mist was so bad, visibility was down to about 10 metres.
I can see as Michelle had slowly faded away in the fog. The reflection on her pack’s special reflective strips were my guide.
Half-way through, a man, probably in his mid-40s spoke to me. He said he had reached the peak at 6:30am. At his pace, he took nearly four and a-half hours to reach there.
We were at the half-way point.
Michelle watched as we hit the 8km marker. And with another 700 metres to push, I can see the peak, with a set of ropes on a vertical ascent.
She was the first to reach and as my wife made her way to the peak marker, the weather had cleared up, revealing a fantastic view of Mount Kinabalu and her peaks.
I wasted no time on capturing the beautiful scene, one which most of the earlier climbers would have never seen.
We were the last to summit the peak of Mount Kinabalu and for our patience, we were rewarded with some really awesome pictures.
The journey down was a different story.
After our successful summit attempt, we made our way back to the Sayat-Sayat checkpoint.
A ranger was waiting there didn’t show any sign of amusement.
Infact, he was fed-up of waiting.
We made our way down the rope section and walked back to Laban Rata.
Vincent was already waiting with a plan.
Since everyone from the original summit group have left for the Timpohon gate, Vincent suggested that it was best to remain at the basecamp for another night.
We took the idea and rested before making a 6km hike back to the gate.
This, we completed in five and a half hours. It was an achievement and at the Kinabalu Park HQ, we were issued two certificates: one for the successful summit attempt at Low’s Peak and the other for completing the Mesilau trail.
I couldn’t be any happier in life for pulling this off.
Despite my bad left leg and my overall physical condition, I made it.

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