Figured I had enough of studying and decided I should have some fun for my final year.
I climbed Mt Kinabalu over the last week of September, but I didn't find
the time to share it here. But now it seems that I might as well, since
I am here.
We stayed at a backpacker's lodge which was really cheap...though I can't remember exactly how much. This was the porch at the back. It was a lovely place that was really homely. We were to spend the first and last night in Sabah here.
On the first night, none of us figured out that shoes were not supposed to be worn upstairs. Thankfully we figured that out after dinner....a really really late bak kut teh meal left-over in the rain, and kept the place clean as it was.
Our tour itinerary for the actual climb up to Mt Kinabalu meant that we had half a day in Kota Kinabalu to hang around. But we figured that we could better spend the time doing some water-rafting elsewhere during that time....and that was how we ended up hitting the roads. And boy, were they winding and undulating.
Kiulu River! The boats can be seen here as well.
Sad abandoned car.
Of course there was no way that I could have taken pictures as I hit the river...but upon my return to the hostel, guessed who visited?
Traveler's Light Lodge. We recommend it as highly as those reviews found on the WWW. Great cheap place, but also absolutely no frills. We left after the first night to travel to the base of Mt Kinabalu.
Jalan-jalan around Kota Kinabalu while waiting to be picked up by the van.
There's something very charming about the round-abouts in Kota Kinabalu: every one of them has a unique "identity". This one is that of a sword-fish.
Pac-man themed electronic road sign. The bunch of us waited for 2 minutes just to snap pictures of this very interesting sign.
Tourism is a major driver of the Sabah economy.
I kept saying when I got back that I would love to come back and drive along the roads here. This is why. Just scenic.
I didn't think that a random shot out of the window would look this nice. As can be seen, it really was rainy season here at that time.
Kinabalu pork! Only the ultra-quick response of the DSLR allowed me to capture this as it flashed by.
1 hr + into the van ride, we were naturally wondering where in the world Mt. Kinabalu could be. Unable to fall asleep due to the winding nature of the road, I started taking random pictures of what we passed. Later, we discovered that this was very likely to be a picture of the mountain itself, only it was so heavily shrouded by clouds, that we couldn't see it directly.
We reached the rest-point, which was just 20 min from the base of Mt. Kinabalu. Here, the elevation is already around 1000m! The biting cold wind was abominable.
Mt. Kinabalu can be clearly seen here from the observation tower. Or more accurately, the base of Mt Kinabalu.
As we got closer to our destination, we spotted a churning waterfall that tumbled a long way down the side of the mountain.
We were to stay at this delightfully splendid looking place for the night. If I thought that the wind was brutal at the rest-stop, the wind here was gale-like and even colder. It was impossible to get around here without gloves and jacket.
We stayed in the house on the left side. The right side remained unoccupied.
We had reached our lodging in the early evening and as the day came to an end, I braved the elements to set the camera down and took this long exposure shot as the mist went by and the tree flailed.In case you wonder, this was a shot of Mt Kinabalu which was supposed to be covering every inch of the background.
The inside of the house was as nice as the outside. There was even a fireplace!
The beds were as cosy as they looked. Which was hugely important as the house was unheated. As we slept through the night, we could hear the wind threatening to rip the roof off any moment!
Testing the flashlight....which we would need during the climb in the wee hours of darkness.
Morning broke through....but Mt Kinabalu remained hidden in the clouds.
The climb was arduous and we were constantly pelted by rain, light and heavy. When it did stop from time to time, I would take my precious camera out of the zip-lock bag (taking no chances!) and snap a few shots. The trees here weren't of the tropical sort due to the altitude and cold.
The wind got even stronger the higher we went. On one memorable occasion, we were each in turn, blown over by the wind when we tried to pose for pictures!
Our guide leaving us behind once again. The route was "marked" by electrical cables linking the ground to the rest-house at 3100m.
A quick shot of the human world going on far below our feet. We were now well-within the clouds at 3000+m
Our first day of climbing ended here at 3100m....Laban Rata rest-house. An absolutely no-frill hostel for climbers like us. Be prepared for ice-cold showers should you decide to be brave!
The weather was clearly very bad and there were doubts that we could make it to the summit for safety's sake. In the event, we had to forgo the moment of sunrise at the summit because of huge winds and rain at night. It could have been much worse with this being the furthest we could have gone. If not for our insistence on reaching the summit in the day rather. Temperature at night reached 6 deg! There really was no way we could have made it up in the wee hours.
As we got on with the climb in the day, fewer pictures were taken as we were pressed for time due to the delay. And also because the higher we got, the more tired we got with each step, most probably due to the thin air. So the next shot was taken at the summit! The sight of the clouds moving around us in a sea of blue surrounding us was just indescribable.
The highest point of Mt Kinabalu at 4000+m.
Didn't realise at that time, but this was actually a shot of Low's Gully. A 1.6km (!!!) deep canyon that practically no men have tried entering. In 1994 a bunch of climbers attempted descending into that place from there and the attempt nearly killed everyone. Low's Gully is still one of the least explored places in the world, more so than the Himalayas.
The white nylon rope to guide the mountain route can be seen. It also gives an idea of the scale of the mountain which appears misleadingly small!
This picture was taken by my friend as we descended. This is by and far, my favourite one. Being there in person to see all of these was of course much better! We stayed at the summit for only 10+ minutes due to time constraint. What we didn't realise though was that had we stayed longer, we would have suffered even worse sun-burnt. Don't be fooled by the presence of clouds...the UV rays were much stronger here!
There were rest-rooms every 100m or so in elevation. This was the final one before the summit. Like the climbers seen in this picture, we were going down the mountain side, gingerly walking down the inclined plane.
The final picture before we made our way down at top speed. In the event, it took us around 5 hours to descend from the peak to the base at 1800+m. It's amazing to see how the threat of losing lunch can force us to "double-up".
This was the next day, after a good night's sleep back at Traveler's Light. Yi Fung laksa turned out to make for delicious breakfast!
We had half a day to while away while waiting for our flight, so we decided to enter the shopping mall. It was VERY empty!
Very blurred picture as I was doing something embarrassing and someone was walking in as seen. But I couldn't help it. The urinals were glass panels!
hmmm? wasn't this quite a long time ago?
I remember u were talking abt it...
Ya. 2 months + ago...but better late than never!
better late then nv?
indeed it's late and u're still up~
So are you leh.
So good to have the capabilities to travel