Sunday, June 18, 2006

I went, I saw, I conquered Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu Charity Climb:
4th May – 7th May 2006

I got excited when my dad told me to join him for the above charity climb. It is a very good opportunity and exposure for me as I have never hiked any mountains before. Not only that, I will also get to know many new friends. I also felt that it is my moral obligation to help those whom are less fortunate than I.

We started training in Batu Caves in April 2006 and initially I could only walk up and down the 270 steps 4 times only. Slowly over a period of 3 weeks, I managed to walk up and down 10 times in 50 minutes. My dad said that once I achieved this timing, only then, am I fit and qualified for the trip. With all the hard training in Batu Caves and in the gym for one month, I am now ready for the big mission.

On the 4th May 2006, Thursday, upon arrival at the LCCT Airport, I met the other 9 team members whom I have never met before (They are Uncle Choi (Team Leader), Ben, William, Sean, Wong, Felix, Tan and Karen) and glad to know that I am the youngest member among the whole team. After 2.5 hours of flight, we safely arrived at the capital city of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu. Upon immigration clearance; we met another team member Yeok and we quickly headed for our seafood noodle lunch and grocery shopping before we headed for the KK Park which is about 3 hours of driving from the KK Town centre.

After registering at the KK Park office, all of us checked into our lodge where we had to repack our haversacks for tomorrow’s climb. We had good group dinner inside the park restaurant and we had many laughs as the whole group was full of funny people with great sense of humour. My dad challenged William (the strongest man in our team) to take off his warm clothing on top of the summit where the temperature may sometimes be freezing. Without any hesitation, William accepted the challenge and the reward is a free flow of beer. We retired early and I slept very well because of the cool, fresh and quiet environment.

5th May 2006, Friday, we woke up 6.30 am and after finishing all the morning routines, we assembled in front of KK park office to collect our climbing permit and pick up our mountain guide. Sean, my dad and I took a bus to the Timpohan gate which is the conventional trail (6 km). The other 8 team members opted for the longer route, Mesilau gate (8 km). Most of us did not engage porter as my dad said it will be more challenging and better accomplished if we carried our own bags. At 8.30 am sharp, we started from Timpohan gate and along the way up; we met a big group of Japanese veteran climbers who were on their way up as well. My dad and I started quite slow and steady. For the first 4km, it was quite fun and not that difficult but after the 4 km rest hut it started to get harder and harder because of the altitude. I was getting tired too. Along the way up to Laban Rata, I stopped many times, hence the pace slowed down a lot. After 3.5 hours, we finally arrived at the base camp, Laban Rata at noon. My dad and I were the first few ones to reach Laban Rata. I had severe head and neck pain upon arrival at the Laban Rata. My dad said those are symptoms of altitude sickness. I also had difficulties in breathing and felt like vomiting. My dad advised me to shower and get some rest. I took a nap for 4 hours and woke up around 5pm. Most of the climbers were having their buffet dinner but I had no appetite. I only bit some biscuits and a cup of hot chocolate. I went back to my dormitory to continue my sleep.

6th May 2006, Saturday, Morning call was at 2 am and everyone got up and prepared for our final ascend to the summit. Though my situation improved but I still feel a mild pain in my head and neck. Uncle Choi gave me 2 Panadols after my light breakfast. Everyone started to climb towards the peak at 2.45am. When we were climbing up the peak, it was very dark and cold and each of us had to use a torch light. At the start, I was suffering because I was very weak and could not breathe well. After hiking for half an hour, I started to feel better. Around 6 am, we finally reached the Sayat-Sayat check point. After Sayat-Sayat, I felt very tired and wanted to lie down but my father asked me to take a short rest for no more than 2 minutes. He asked me to keep on going because if I were to lie for too long, I won’t be able to walk anymore. I took his advice and kept going on very slow pace. Finally, after 4.5 hours of hard work, I reached the Low’s Summit around 7 am. I felt very happy and great up there though I missed the sunrise. The wind was strong and very cold at the summit. Everyone was busy taking pictures. I, too, had a few shots with my dad and the mountain guide. After enjoying the beautiful and magnificent view of the mountain plateau, we started to descend back to Laban Rata. Descending is much easier and fun and we took only 2.5 hours to get back to our lodge in Laban Rata. We left Laban Rata around noon time after having some light food and packing. Along the way down, I was able to look around taking in the beautiful nature as it was much easier now. I felt more relaxed and I could enjoy the surrounding more than the day we were ascending. The flora and insects were so attractive and beautiful. We met many foreigners hiking up we descended. My climb wasn’t particularly a stroll in the park, but it has made me appreciate nature more. I now understand why my father travels far and wide to hike mountains. I always knew there must be something special about it, and now I know for sure.

I feel that all Malaysians, particularly the young and fit, should make an effort to climb Mountain Kinabalu once in their lives. It is such a spectacular mountain. Mountain Kinabalu is also the highest mountain in South-east Asia and had been gazetted as the World Heritage by United Nation.

I went, I saw, I conquered Mount Kinabalu! - by Lee Yi Xi (16 years old)

1 comment:

lifemou said...

long awaited...where is my Penang biscuits!!!???