This is a continuation from previous post which is available here.
Achieving Laban Rata was an achievement by itself. Any Mount Kinabalu climber would want to reach Low’s Peak but not everyone is able to achieve it due to many reasons – weather, altitude sickness, fatigue, malas, etc.
After a “hotel standard” early buffet dinner at the guesthouse, we spent a few hours recovering while preparing for the toughest challenge – the hike to the peak which starts at 2am.
At 7pm, it was totally dark and cold outside. Temperature drops to borderline of single digit and the legs start to feel the after-effect of the earlier hardwork to Laban Rata. After Isyak and Maghrib (Jamak Takhir), I tried to get some nap but I was too tired to sleep. The good thing about going in a group of 7 is that we have no strangers in our room of 8 beds and there’s always someone cracking jokes.
At 9:30pm, I finally managed to sleep. Alarm clocks from our mobiles started to ring around 1:00am and one by one we dragged ourselves out of bed to get ready for the grand push towards the peak of Mount Kinabalu.
We were among the earliest to start the journey at around 2:30am. Game plan was simple, move forward and upward at an easy but steady pace and try to stay in one group. Definitely easier said and done. Miraculously, for the first 30 minutes of steep stairs it works perfectly for me and I managed to keep up with the group. Must be the “half awake” factor!
It was really dark until we reach the “rope section”, claimed by many as the riskiest part of the climb. The scattered clouds made it almost impossible to snap photos without flash on. All we can see are our headlamps.
About 3 hours later, after countless of stops I made it to the last stretch minutes before the sun rises.
Finally at 6:13 am it was our turn to snap group photo at Low’s peak. The rest of the group arrived hours earlier but in the spirit of being in one team, they waited for the last 2 (me inclusive) to arrive for a group shot. Thank you.
Good morning Malaysia! A superb way to start a day.
See that tiny dots, those are people coming down (and some just started to go up) to/from Low’s Peak.
Our victory pose.
It was during our journey down from the peak that we realised how challenging the terrain was. The lack of any surrounding trees makes me feels like I’ve landed on moon or something like that.
By the way, here’s a quick tip for Muslim climbers. For those wanting to perform Subuh prayers during the climb up to the peak, it is best to have your wuduk all the way from Laban Rata and perform your prayers at this flat area before and around the 8km mark.
This is just to show that sujud is possible at certain area. Of course at 5-6am in the morning, it’s pitch dark so choose your spot wisely and ALWAYS consult with your guide.
The “RM2” peak.
Donkey’s Ears Peak
SubhanAllah, a double rainbow just right in front of us.
The white rope that “connects” climbers between Sayat Sayat and Low’s Peak. Both ways.
Some vegetation at summit area.
One last “group photo” with our guides before heading back to Laban Rata.
I can’t believe it that I went through this area just hours earlier in total darkness. At the back, Laban Rata Guesthouse where we had our breakfast, check-out and head down to the Timpohon Gate.
Just that I thought that the worst part was over, I was proven wrong once again. Coming down was the toughest not because it was difficult but simply because I had used up almost all my energy earlier going up and down the peak.
The only motivation is the “bragging rights” for reaching the peak that we can share with the climbers on their way up.
And of course the great view along the way.
Then the rain started and it continued to rain until I reach Timpohon Gate, 4 hours later. Soaking wet, exhausted, hungry, tired legs and all my electronics have ran out of power, I remember telling our guide that “This is the first and last time I’m climbing Mt Kinabalu!”
Of course, now that it has been 7 months since the climb, I started to have that itch to go once again 😛
#KinabaluAkuDatang – Alhamdulilah, definitely one of my 2014 highlights.