Climbing Mount Kinabalu - Day 4
Trip Start May 18, 2003
272Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Even though we did not have breakfast there was a bit of a delay in leaving, and it was 2:45am before our group of seven finally got going. As we left the clear night sky was dazzling, and once we stared climbing it did not feel too cold. I was wearing everything I brought up the mountain with me in an effort to retain heat and it seemed to be working.
Our group was the last to leave the camp and the first twenty minutes were spent walking past climbers as we wanted to keep up a comfortable pace
Soon I found myself on my own as I broke away from the main pack, going on at my own pace. This was the most exhilarating part of the climb. Just imagine you are on the side of this colossal mountain in the dead of the night. There is not a soul around you and there is this towering summit before you yet to climb. I think at that moment I felt more alive than I have ever felt. Just me the mountain and the night sky filled with shooting stars.
I made it to the peak in two hours flat [fastest climb of the day] and soon realised that in my enthusiasm in getting there I had forgotten that there was going to be a very long wait until sunrise. A very cold wait. The reality of how cold it was on the summit, open to the elements over 4kms high, really started to creep through the layers of clothing I had on. The moisture in my woolly hat had already frozen and there was not one part of body that did not feel chilled to the bone
So we waited... and walked around a bit... and waited... And eventually other climbers started to trickle over the horizon as the sky lightened. On this particular morning we had a cloudy sunrise (so no sightings of the Philippines were possible) but it was still spectacular all the same.
As the saying goes, what goes up must come down. So after having our fill of the highest sunrise I'm ever likely to see it was time to commence the long walk down all the way to the base camp we were at on day one. Now that the sun was up, out came the camera and I tried to capture as much of the raw beauty of Taman Kinabalu as possible on my descent.
By the time we reached the base camp no one felt any ill effects from the drop in altitude so we changed our plans immediately to stay at the Poring Hot Springs that night. A RM60 taxi ride later and we were in Poring where we could soak our weary joints in some spa baths. After over twenty thousand downward steps my leg muscles really appreciated it!
Top Tip: Not all the man-made spa tubs fill at the same rate (some take over an hour to fill) so before you pick one check out which tubs are filling fastest. And do not forget to do lots of warming down and stretching all day as soon as you finish the Kinabalu descent. Otherwise for the next couple of days you may feel pain in muscles you didn't know you had each time you walk down some steps!