KK, the mountain pursuit

Trip Start Mar 10, 2007
1
80
153
Trip End Jan 01, 2007


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of Malaysia  ,
Thursday, October 4, 2007

KK was really just an admin station for me for the mountain, so i wont bother to talk about the town itself. However, the day before the climb, me and Simon, a Swedish guy i met and climbed the mountain with, spent the day relaxing on Sulug island, one of the islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman national park. We chose this island as whilst it is not the best of the islands for snorkeling (all the tourists snorkel on Sapi) it is practically deserted, indeed we were the only people on the island all day. It is a beautiful island, with a nice yet small sandy beach and a true Robinson Crusoe feel to it. We didn't even bother snorkeling in the end, just spent the day relaxing on the beach,swimming and finding coconuts and eating those (i bloody cut my finger with my penknife in exactly the same way Corrin, when will i learn). We had been told by a few fellow 'backpackers' who had been to the island a few days previously that they had found some boxes of what seemed to be smuggled cigarettes on this island, so naturally we spent a large amount of time searching for these. After about ten minutes Simon came over and said he had found something, and he looked pretty happy. Thinking he was taking the piss, i wandered over there, expecting to see nothing. I couldn't believe what came next. Behind some bushes, really badly hidden, there must have been around fifty huge cardboard boxes, and upon scratching at one for a few minutes and clawing it open, we found out each box contained about 100 cartons of cigarettes! We couldn't believe it and were laughing our heads off. I mean thats a lot of money, even in South east Asian prices, you could retire off of that. Simon even took some with him when we left the island (and they have come in handy since!).
    Spent the rest of the day eating, preparing for going up the mountain and resting.

THE MOUNTAIN (dun dun duh!)
Got to the mountain about 10:30 am, but we got screwed over by everyone else at the office and couldn't find anyone else to share the cost of a guide with (70rm) so we waited till 2, hoping someone else would show (they didn't) then begrudgingly paid the final amount of the ludicrous fees and set off up the mountain.
     The first days walk consists of a 6km walk up to the rest point of Laban Rata and the surrounding guest houses, where we had accommodation booked at Gunting Lagadan (altitude 3,323m or 1000 feet). I was expecting that i would really struggle with the whole climb as I'm soo weak and weedy these days, so i was really pleased with my time to complete this. The guide books estimate 3.5 to 5 hours for this first leg, and i came in at just under 3.5 hours! I know they over estimate to make people feel better, but I'm still pleased. Simon stayed with me and did it at my pace, and he wasn't even tired when we got there, clearly he could have done it in one day, but he seemed ok with being safe and taking two.
        The walking itself was very tough, but we were blessed with perfect weather for it, so that made a big difference, as we had spoken to people who just days before had attempted to do it but could only go as far as the rest point (the conditions were so bad the guides wouldn't go further). When we got to the rest point, we cooked our gourmet feast we had brought with us (instant noodles and bread, we weren't paying 17rm for fried rice), then went to bed at 6pm for preparation for the 3am summit climb.
      Slept surprisingly well considering bedtime was at 6pm, rammed two packs of noodles down my throat (obviously i cooked them first!), burnt my throat, then we set off.
       The climb to the summit was 2.7km, but it was a much steeper, slipperier climb and i was uphill all the way, walking up smooth steep rock face with the aid of ropes fixed to the surface, like abseiling upwards. At this point it became clear what people had said about not being able to do it in the rain; walking up such a sheer, steep rock face in the pitch black whilst monsoon rains pour down on you would be almost impossible. Thankfully none of that happened to me.
      The guidebooks estimate the climb to take 2.5 to 4 hours, so again i was really pleased to finish in just under 2 hours, even overtaking numerous groups of people on the way (go me). At the very beginning as soon as i hit the first few steps my legs began to ache and i began thinking to myself 'what have you gotten yourself into' and 'maybe you overdid it yesterday, you can't do this', but i think things like climbing this mountain are more mental challenges than anything else, and i wasn't going to be weak mentally (as Simon put it) so i soldiered on. Although the climb was very hard and very tiring, i loved it. Looking up from the darkness to the beauty of a clear sky painted with millions of stars, then looking backward down the mountain to the hundred of lights following us up the mountain, like a swam of fireflies, was one of the highlights of my trip so far. Summitting was an even more rewarding experience, as the views were truly breathtaking, especially as sun came up. We all talk a ludicrous amount of photos, including the obligatory cheesy photos with the summit sign. I finished off my pack off nips (tee hee), then we began our descent, which was a hell of a lot easier than the way up, in my opinion anyway.
       Arriving at the park headquarters, i phoned all the bus companies to find out that the buses to sandakan were full, then tried to flag a couple down (they didn't stop) before we flagged down a minivan driver who took us to Sandakan for 25rm each!
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: