We started our day early in Mesilau.
Shortly after breakfast, we met Atong, our guide at the summit trail's gate.
This was to be a 6-km hike to the basecamp junction at Magnolia hut.
Now, I was told that the Mesilau trail has plenty of promising sights. Its also much longer than the Timpohon trail which we were supposed to have hiked.
At 8:15am, we began our ascend up to Mount Kinabalu.
The first 3km hike was a breeze until we hit the next half of our journey.
At about 3.30pm, we reached a steep incline on km 4.5 which proved to be really tough.
My legs gave way because I was hauling about 13kgs of gear and equipment.
We switched baggage between our guide and Michelle, my wife to push on.
With the cramps setting in on both my legs, each step was agonising.
I had to put up with the pain and just a short distance away, I saw a big guy sitting down on the steps.
His guide, a young Kadazan boy said the man had cramps on both his legs.
He was hauling a small sling back. That was it. From his accent, I discovered that he is West Malaysian and was left behind by a group of climbers we met earlier during breakfast in Mesilau.
The poor dude had to limp his way and from the tone of his voice, I knew he had given up.
From what I heard, the plan was to divert to Layang-Layang staff quarters where he will spend the night before descending down to the Timpohon gate.
At 5.30pm, we reached the Laban Rata junction and were already exhausted.
This was followed by a 2-km hike up to basecamp.
Luck wasn't with as it poured heavily.
Strong winds made the situation worse.
Nevertheless, we pushed on to the next hut and took a short break to mount our headlamps as daylight was fading really fast.
At 7:35pm, we reached Laban Rata and were the last team of climbers to check-in.
We had packed dinner and settled-in early.
My motivation to reach this stage of the summit attempt, was a cup of hot tea and my chocolate bar which was already chilled...