Expedition to Mount Kinabalu

We woke up at 5am for an arduous adventure. We were in the city of Kota Kinabalu, and after 2 days in the bustling streets, it was time for a getaway to the highest peak in Malaysia. You should have guessed it. We would be climbing Mount Kinabalu. And I really have to admit it was already quite a difficult challenge. In fact, it pushed my body to its limits.

After a quick and light breakfast, we changed into our comfortable hiking wear and headed to the big shuttle bus that would bring us to the base camp of the mountain. Though there were more people to fetch from neighboring hotels, we were out of town by 7am and were ready to begin our journey by 10am, after filling all the important documents. That day, it was raining intermittently, which was going to make us struggle a lot as the ground was going to be slippery and wet.

Our guide was called Roy, and was a very nice guide. He gave us our packed lunch before we began our trek. We would be walking to a guest house called Laban Rata, which is 6km from the base, but not a flat 6km. It was an uphill 6km walk, which would be a totally tiring and different story.

As the first 2km were as easy as pie, I overexerted in strength so that we could get away with them quickly. However, the difficulty increased, and I started to feel fatigued.

Types of paths

Though we had plenty of time to rejuvenate at each stop, the pressure was overwhelming and we got little energy back for the next kilometer or so to the next stop. Despite that, we pushed forward, only to encounter rough boulders which were a huge obstacle for the last 2km. I had to stop like every 100m or so as I had little energy left. Although there was only a kilometer left to go, we could not hasten the pace. It was already 3.30pm.

I kept on drinking gulps of water as the guest house  begins to be in our site. We did not give up as we remained positive. Soon enough, our perseverance paid off and I felt like kissing the ground. It was paradise to finally arrive at the dorm.

However, the bloodbath was not over yet as we still had about 3km left to go which we would cover the next day early morning provided the weather conditions were fine. So first things first, we ate a heavy dinner and went to bed early as we, particularly my dad, looked like living zombies!

Photo credit Lim Kai Xiang Facebook

The next day, we were woken up by the sound of the alarm at 1.30am, not lightning from the outside! We were very jolly for this miracle as it had been raining for the past 3 days before our arrival! Quickly with enthusiasm, we dressed up after a short rinse before heading downstairs for a light, in fact too light supper! By 2.30am, we were up and about with our guide who fetched us for another 4 hours…of death!

It’s 2:30 am and we’re going there to the peak under the moon!

The first part of the 2nd course was mostly made up of man-made wooden flights of stairs, which were certainly my area of expertise. From now to the peak was 3km away! So near yet so far, and every breath you take counts! The checkpoint is approximately 1km from the guest house. There, you have the last proper break and toilet before you are all on your own for the race against time to reach the peak by 6am! The next half almost killed me! As we were above 3900 meters from sea level, I had a higher chance of getting altitude sickness, which I unfortunately got…

However, despite that, we made it after overcoming a lot of steep slopes with only a white rope in handy. The view from the peak, which is called Low’s Peak, was breathtaking, I couldn’t take my eyes of the lower mountains around us and the blazing hot and cool orange sun…it seemed to be like a fantasy!

Anyways, with all the selfies and photos taken we scurried at a faster rate for the guest house so I could go back to bed and have power nap.

We arrived back at the guest house at around 8.30am, where I had a quick nap to rejuvenate my energy levels, before having another light meal, which was breakfast, with Coke! We packed our bags, took breakfast, check-out and begin another big descent back to the base camp!

Before long, we had all our things packed and were ready to get going to base camp, which was another 6 excruciating kilometers downhill, at least. Before we left the dorm, we decided to take a photo with Roy as a remembrance.

As we strode down, we realized that our rate was a kilometer per hour. So, we tried to hasten the pace across the rough ground. Unfortunately, my mom was soon in trouble when her knees started aching…

As the distance decreased, it seemed it was just increasing. Our bodies started complaining as my mom started to become fatigued. Her body seemed to be giving up but even with only a kilometer left to cover, she was like thumping the trekking sticks to the ground. Soon enough though, she was on the same boat as me. I was also facing the problem. However, we eventually arrived there at 3pm! We were so elated that in the bus, we were dumbfounded. And that was the end of the journey. We had a simple buffet lunch before getting our certificates for this honorable achievement!

Overall, our trek had a lot of countless challenges. We overcame all of them and had an enjoyable trip with nature as we concluded the climb with a lot of pain, memories, photographs and stories to tell!

I made it! We made it!


Leaving Mt Kinabalu