Climbing Mount Kinabalu - Day 1

Trip Start May 18, 2003
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Sunday, June 29, 2003

Today we left the city of Kota Kinabalu and travelled to the mountain base camp. Towards the end of the journey the road just kept going up and up and I was starting to wonder if the driver was going to simply take us all the way to the summit. Eventually we got off at the entrance to the base camp - at 1500 metres above sea level it was noticeably cooler already.

Checking in to the hostel accommodation here was straight forward and we had the rest of the day to explore the many walks around the camp and try to acclimatise ourselves to the altitude. The longer you spend adjusting the less likely you are to suffer altitude sickness when getting near the top of the mountain.

I saw loads of pitcher plants on the walks and was quite fascinated by them. They are notoriously particular about where they grow, and I had read that they prefer specific altitudes on Mount Kinabalu, and so are concentrated in a particular stage of the climb.

During the day the mountain was engulfed in heavy mist and sure enough this brought rain later in the afternoon. My trainers (and me) were soaked by the evening but fortunately there was an open fire at the fancy resort restaurant where we made ourselves at home while drying off. We stayed there very late, chatting and playing cards by the fire. By the time we decided to leave we were the last ones there, and for a moment I thought we were locked in because all the staff had already left. Fortunately an exit was still open so we could get out and back to our dorms.
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