In my blog profile I mentioned there were a few things on my list of ‘things to do’,one being the Macau bungee jump and the other being Mount Kinabalu. Well, I’m pleased, no extremely proud, to say that the latter is now completed!
February 4 saw me, and 22 other AirAsia staff, from Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur set off to climb and conquer Mount Kinabalu.
After an early night, on Day 1 we started the climb at around 9am. It was a chilly morning but it felt great to be in the fresh outdoors and we were all excited about the day ahead…(if not a little apprehensive!)
What a day!? I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel the strain in my legs, but every step was well worth it for the spectacular views on the way up (and up, and up!) What I found very interesting was how the terrain changed as the altitude increased. Speaking of altitude, I luckily didn’t seem to suffer from any sickness which I was relieved about!
Just before 1pm myself and a fellow colleague reached Laban Rata where we would be staying overnight to rest up before the sunrise climb.
Although the walk up was great – so was the knowledge that we could sit in the warmth and relax! While you are welcome to help yourselves to the free tea and coffee its also a great chance to meet the other people who were there – you’ve all been through the same experience.
After lots of makan to re-fuel its early to bed to prepare for the 2am start the next day.
We were unfortunate – we woke up to the sounds of rain pouring down…not ideal!
But our group was high in spirits and keen to do what we had set out to do – conquer Kinabalu!
With rain jackets on and only our head torches lighting the way we began the upward climb towards Low’s Peak. Soon all the aches and pains from the climb the day before became apparent but all you can do is push forward – that we did.
Even through the rain and wind we carried on, with 13 of our group reaching the peak. What a moment! To stand at over 4000m above sea level is something most people never achieve. It is not only the breath taking views, but the pure sense of accomplishment that is quite overwhelming. To see the sun rise (although it was slightly cloudy) was truly an incredible experience – one that is not given justice in even the most exquisite words or pictures.
Friends had warned me that the downward climb would be tougher than the climb up so I expected the worst, but I thank fully found it to be bearable. With a few breaks on the way down, it is a great chance to soak in the views before a quick stop again at Laban Rata. Here again you have time to chat about your experience with fellow climbers. But it’s not over quite yet…you still have the next 6km down hill before you can say ‘I did it!’.
And believe me, the last kilometer really takes it out of you but then you finally reach the entry point. Altogher it took me 10hours of climbing up/down. At the bottom is a list of the record times for the climbathon; the record time is 2hrs 39min! In honesty I don’t care – I had done it and I felt great!
After my fantastic experience I would definitely consider going again – and I’m hoping to do so later in the year via the Mesilau Trail (2km longer than Timpohon).
I would recommend the Mount Kinabalu experience to anyone – but do not underestimate the physical challenges you will face – not only during the climb itself but the after effects on your muscles – you should have seen me walking downstairs the day after!
But as we say at AirAsia; ‘Believe the unbelievable, dream the impossible’