The noisy tumbling steps on the wooden floor woke me up, and when I look at my watch it is almost 2 o’clock in the morning. I called out the rest to wake up and start our preparation. Run thru the checklist on things that I need to bring ie woolen hat, headlamp, gloves, water, camera and some chocs. (in case I am hungry) Put on the necessary warm clothing and went to the toilet and wash up.
Then we adjourned to the restaurant together with Eugene, Yi Xi, Tan, Yeok, Karen and Ben for breakfast. I only ordered myself a pot of hot lemon tea just to keep myself warm. Too early for me to eat anything. We don’t see William, Wong, Sean and Felix, and most probably they have started the ascend to the summit earlier.
Eugene and Yi Xi start to leave slightly earlier then us. Once everyone is ready, we start our journey and in fact we are one of the very last group to leave Laban Rata. Outside the resthouse, the digital thermometer shows 8.8 degree Celsius at the moment. It was a very calm morning, the sky is full of stars and there is no wind blowing. This is the perfect weather for the ascend. Because it was raining last nite, the path is pretty wet and water are flowing down like a stream.
It was uphill all the way, climbing up the wooden stairs and the trail is jammed with lots of climbers. Because of this we are walking in a very slow and relax pace. No heavy breathing and no panting at all. Karen and Tan was falling a bit behind, where Ben, Yeok and myself are together moving very slowly.
We reached the rock face boulder where everyone are in a single file clinching to the rope, taking small little steps and moving forward. Soon all the climbers at this stage have to climb up above the boulder to reach the summit plateau. After a while, we reached the Sayat-Sayat checkpoint where we need to register ourselves to prove that we have reach this point prior to the summit. Ben decided to stop at the hut for a while to wait for Karen since she is way behind. Just need to ensure she is feeling OK because at this stage the air is definitely thinner and breathing started to become slightly difficult.
Continue our ascend on the plateau towards the summit. We have to reach the summit by 5.30am to catch the sunrise and therefore have to cover the distance of 1.5km in the next 2 hours. Because of the thin air and breathing is becoming difficult, our movements are also slower. Every 10 to 20 steps, I need to stop and take a breather. Yeok and myself exchange short conversation as we move slowly. In the darkness and with only the light from the headlamp, I could actually see the outline of Donkey Ears and later the
I saw glimpse of the reddish, yellowish and golden beams of the sun rising thru the horizon of the sky. And I know we will definitely had a good view in a matter of minutes. I took position to a good location where I will have the perfect view of this wonderful and colorful sunrise that is going to happen anytime from now. I heard people shouting “IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL”, the ARHHHS and the WOOOOOWS, people clapping in excitement. The sound of camera shutters clicking away as everyone around the vicinity were busy taking the pictures of sunrise at the summit of Mt Kinabalu.
In about 30mins, the sun is total up with golden beams shining across the plateau and onto
Once up there I saw William, Wong and Felix already there waiting for us. We took pictures around the area and at this moment William is going to strip off his shirt to pose half naked at Low’s Peak. This was a challenge brought up to him by
Sean was up with us by then. Took some pictures as a remembrance and a proof that I made it to the summit. Then its time to get down from the summit as it is getting crowded where the slower pace climber are starting to infest the small little area at the summit.
As we came back down to the plateau, we met Eugene and Yi Xi coming up. Yi Xi looks better now, although I think he feels bad and still having that altitude sickness.
Soon we saw Ben guiding Karen up. She looks really stoned, pale face, eyes half open and does not really respond to any form of conversation and encouragement. I think she heard what we told her but just too tired to respond. She is in a state of giving up but I believe with the guidance and encouragement of Ben, she will definitely make it up there.
We continue our descend from the summit back to Laban Rata and most of us are either alone or in pairs, pacing ourselves to avoid any injury because coming down is a lot more strenuous. Reached the resthouse, and met Wong. Quickily get onto the hot shower and change to dry clothing. We have to continue our descend to KK Parks at around 11am to 11.30am, while waiting for the rest to be back. Eugene, Yi Xi, Felix, Yeok, William, Sean – one after another they started to come in, and finally we have Ben and Karen (looking totally exhausted) came in together. Everyone gave her a round of applause for making it to the summit under such condition. By 11.30am everyone started the next stage of descend to KK parks.
By this time everyone is already down at KK Park and ready to move on to our next destination – staying overnite at Poring HotSpring. It was a 100% achievement for the 11 of us where everyone made it to the summit (Low’s Peak). Great job to everyone and we have made it together as a team with encouragement and advise coming from all. It was good teamwork and I believe everyone enjoy the utmost of the climb, and hopefully something they remembered and subject to talk about in their personal life. And for those whom I met for the first time, it will be a start of a new friendship. Till then and the mountain never fail to humble me (as what Ben said), but also made me a stronger and more forgiving person for the 5th time in my life.