I don't know if I really sleep between 7.30pm to 12.30am, but surprisingly I wake up feeling fresh and no pain on my legs, well I was thinking this maybe the clue for me to ascend to the peak. My mental state stays very positive and I told myself that I won't give up easily.
The staircases are surrounded very closely by thick scrub and they can seem quite claustrophobic by torchlight. There are a few people who actually experience nausea, vomit and dizziness due to the altitude change as we ascend. Thank god I don't have those sickness and it's strange that I feel more energetic this morning. But anyway I'm walking in very slow & steady pace with my mountain guide.
The real challenge - open rock face
When we reach the open rock face, this is actually where the real challenge begins, the previous miles that we have walked is nothing compare to this.
There is a white rope that accompanies all climbers to Low's Peak begins here with a very steep climb up some potentially treacherous rock faces. I am literally pulling myself up of the rock face and it's quite a exhilarating experience.
I reached the Sayat-Sayat check point at 7km around 3.50am and I'm now very determined that I want to go up there to see the sunrise.
The final 1.5km
The gradient can become incredibly steep in parts at this point, my heart is racing and I almost feel like giving up as I'm so extremely tired, breathless and I can feel the uncomfortable pressure over my head, I think that I'm risking my life. But then my mountain guide helps me a lot, he tells me when to walk, when to rest and the best way to approach the tricky steps. The climate is really cold and I can feel my toes, my face and my hands are freezing.
The first sunlight
It's almost 6am and the sun begins to rise and the sky lightens, as much as I wanted to be at the peak but I just resists as I don't want to wear myself out. I just stay on to my slow & steady pace and finally I reached Low's Peak around 6.30am.
On top of South East Asia's tallest mountain (4,095 m)
The sunrise, the views out over the clouds and the valleys below are simply breathtaking, making all the effort worthwhile. I will really regret if I didn't push myself up to here and miss this spectacular view. The peak is crowded with climbers waiting to take photos and some are taking rest to regain their breath. We took a lot of pictures and although we are all cold and exhausted, everybody seems proud and happy.
The sunrise, my first time seeing this....
The mountains view
The clouds is just within reach....
It took me about 3 hours to reach back Laban Rata as I descend very slowly. I rest for a short while and have a quick bite, then I packed my stuff and begin to descend to Timpohan Gate at 11.00am, which means another 6km trail to walk down!
I walk cautiously at a very slow pace as I do not want to hurt my knee, which a lot of people would as it's often harder to walk downhill for long periods than it is to climb uphill. I keep feeling that I wanted to collapse due to a combination of severe fatigue, dehydration and depleted energy from the exertions of the morning. I stayed closed to my guide and listen to his advice, the walking stick which I've bought at the foot of the mountain also helps me a lot in giving the support I need.
Me and my dedicated mountain guide
Finally I reached the foot of the mountain at 3.30pm, although my muscle are sore but I'm very happy and proud that I've conquered the Mt. Kinabalu, despite of the severe cramps that I have suffered. And I really appreciate the great support from all the volunteers and my dedicated mountain guide cum porter, they are a great bunch of people. I'm not fit but my will power is definitely stronger than my physical strength in this case. Climbing Mt. Kinabalu is really not just physical but more on mental challenge I think.
Will I attempt to climb Mt. Kinabalu again? The answer is Yes, I would want to do it with my husband and kids when they are older. So I must make sure that I'll be physically fit enough to take the challenge again then. :)
See more photos in my gallery.