Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mt Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia, 4095 m

After diving 40m deep in LL, this was the 2nd objective of the trip:
climbing Mt Kinabalu, the roof of SE Asia.

If you remember the post from last summer about the Rinjani, I suffered... So this time I had decided to train! I climbed stairs in the condo a few times (nowhere near close as the number of times i should have had...) and then a month before the climb, in a last minute panic, I got a personal trainer to torture me at 5.30am, I was officially going nuts, it was time to climb this mountain!

Day 1 (the easiest!)
At 3pm we get picked up in KK for a 3H drive up to the park headquarters, we have already climbed 1800m! Easy!!!!
We stay over night at Rose cabine, where it appears evident that we are the only ones actually climbing the Kinabalu, everyone else is just going for walks in the park... Hmmm...
After an evening of playing rocks (K, the queen of games was in charge of the entertainement part of the trip), trying to order packed lunch for the day after, fighting spiders and giving up on trying to understand the staff of this hotel, we have our last night before THE climb.

Day 2: 1800 to 3200m
7.30am we are waiting for our chauffeur, 8am, it becomes obvious that he has forgotten us...
Some complaining on the phone and finally he is here, we get to the headquarters, we register, we get passes (like at work!), another 10 mn drive and this time we are starting! It is 8.45am.
There are 6.2 km from start to where we will be sleeping and 1400m vertically!
Practically all made of steps...

We stop every km on average at huts where we can get water (that we can treat with different tablets we have bought) but we keep a good pace!
We have a deadline of 3pm at the top for the briefing for the via ferrata (story of day 3) and we actually make it at 1.40pm!! Very impressive, isn't?
The highlights of the climb were:
- Our guide protecting himself from the sun with a pink umbrella
- Tiny Asian ladies climbing like they are heading to hell in pretty flipflop...
- 10 years old kids working as porters (we were so glad we didn't hire any, we would have financed child labour!)
- Really cute squirrels who know that huts are were they are the most likely to get food
- Last very important point, apparently getting up at 5.30am to meet with a personal trainer has some advantages, I did not suffer too much!
Arriving at our house for the night, we have a hot shower (luxury) and we get the briefing for the via ferrata. It looks fairly straight forward, even K (who has vertigo) is up for it!
At 4.45pm we go for dinner (that's even earlier than in England...) and by 7.30pm we are in bed (and I think that this is earlier than chickens bed time...)

Day 3: 3200 to 4095 back down to 1800 and then to 0m
Alarm clock was set on 2am but stupid Chinese people (this is not racist, it only applies to the group who slept in the same place as us) thought getting up at 1 was useful and they also enjoyed jumping on the  wooden floor of the shaky house!!!! (I still won't forgive them, at least they suffered more than me on the way up ahahah evil laugh)
Apologies for this lack of self-control!
Back to the climb, a light breakfast in our stomachs, headlights on the forehead, wrapped up in our skiing gears we start the last 600m (vertically). R is already overtaking everyone but the girls stay behind in the queue which moves at a very slow but very comforting pace. (incredible how busy it can be at 2.30am!) finally R convinces us to overtake everyone and it does indeed make the walk more pleasant when you can escape the farts of the person behind you (this is not even a joke...)
Very soon after overtaking, what we had been expecting happens: altitude sickness. It's about 3600m now and I have a terrible headache. It took 2g of paracetamol to fix it! Air is also getting thinner and the steepness is increasing! There are now ropes helping us to climb.
In an attempt to take a good photo R drops the camera and if it wasn't for a nice tourist with good reflexes, we wouldn't have any pictures to put up on this blog! (by the way even if they don't say camera are shock-proof they can survive a drop and several meters sliding on hard rock. Very impressive!)
We pass the last sign and we now follow the rope on the floor which indicates the way to the top. At 5.15am we (R and I) are number 5 and number 6 to get to the top of Mt Kinabalu. ML and K will follow soon after. Then we freeze for 45 minutes until the sun finally gets up at 6am and then it's totally worth it...
Then, it's time to go down. We stop half way down to the place we stayed over night to gear up for the via ferrata and start the 2nd adventure of the day. This one was easy going comparing to the summit. Our vertigo lady did it with brio!
By 10am we are at our "hotel" for a good breakfast (English type!) and by 11am we are on our way down again. It took us 5h to go up so 3h to go down should be an honest guess. I think it would have honestly been the case if all the water of South East Asia hadn't decided to fall on our head!
We went down 6 km in torrential rain, most of the time ankle deep in water. Gore-tex is waterproof but there is a limit to everything! And the steps which were annoying on the way up are now plain painfull! Knees, and ankles are now in serious pain, hiking boots are ... wet but that doesn't seem a good enough word for the slushhh noise they produce at each step!
Finally after 3h30, we finally make it to the bottom. For info, if you try on one leg like ML who had sprained her ankle it takes 5h!
At the headquarters, we get our certificates for having mastered the highest via ferrata in the world!!!! And with this proud bit of paper, we board our taxi who is taking us back to sea level, direction KK.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, here you were!!!
    A really great summit, with an amasing view!
    I love that!
    Congratulations Mag