Whimsical city

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mount Kinabalu, I conquered. Again.

I'm the Queen of the World!

4,095.2 metres above sea level.

12 years ago, I made it there. With sweat, pain and tears.

12 years later, I attempted once again and made it there. With sweat, pain and (well..just a little) tears.

This achievement of mine would be no other than conquering the landmark of Sabah, the iconic and majestic Mount Kinabalu, twice.

Me and my 12 other comrades bravely attempted to conquer Mount Kinabalu on 13-14 June 2012. [For the record, we have been practising our stamina/leg muscles weeks before at Saga Hill at Cheras, KL. Yeah, a couple times of training is better than no training at all :P] 9 out of the 13 made it to the summit. Not too shabby, huh?

Our spirits were high. My spirits were high. I did ask myself, "Rina, you sure about this? Don'tyu remember the pain you endured 12 years ago??" I answered myself, "Of course I remember. The memory is still vividly clear in my head. But I wanna do this. If I succeed, I can practically do anything."

When dawn broke on 13 June 2012 and after we had our light breakfast, we collected our packed lunch and gathered at the starting point for briefing. We had 3 "legends" as our mountain guides/porters - Din 1, Din 2 and Roy. Trust me, they are legends. No doubt about it. We took the Mesilau Trail (which is a new trail - longer than the original Timpohon Trail) and we will be awarded another certificate if we completed the hike to the summit via Mesilau Trail. 

The mountain trail
Key points to remember throughout the climb:-
1. Breathe.
2. Baby steps.
3. Breathe.
4. Baby steps.

Yup, those are the only points you'd need to remember in order for you to reach your destination. For me, I did also chant to myself throughout the hike, "God, please give me the physical and mental strength to reach the peak." I believe God heard my prayers.

We started our hike at 9am.
Sze Ling, the fastest in our group reached Laban Rata Resthouse around 4 pm.
Kym, Ning, Feiyi, Cherien, Pinky, Louis, Jan, Winnie - the 2nd batch of our group reached around 6 pm.
KP, Catherine and Florence - the last batch of our group (which included me) reached around 8pm.

11 hours of hike! Not to mention the strong winds and the rains that we had to endure. Bear in mind, the sun sets earlier in Sabah as compared to the west - it gets completely dark at 7pm. KP, Catherine, Florence and I had to continue to hike in our wobbly feet in the dark, in the rain and in the cold. When we finally reached Laban Rata Resthouse, our gang came flying out to take us in, extending us hot water and taking off their jackets to warm our freezing bodies. We were like the lost and found. So, yeah, it was pretty emotional and yeah, that was when the tears came.   

Apart from the gang, fever, flu and sorethroat were my company. The Laban Rata Resthouse was freezing cold. I'm not exaggerating. I was literally shivering from my head to my toes. There was no heater and no hot water. Yup, you couldn't bathe unless you want to know what exactly hypothermia means. Even the beds were freezing cold. Some of us girls decided to bunk together in one single bed in order to gather some warmth together. I tried to sleep the cold away. It was an excruciating torture.

2 am - Time to wake up and prepare for our hike to the summit. With my fever and miserable cold and sorethroat still pretty intact, I actually decided not to go. I comforted myself that I've been up there after all. Yet, after looking at my gang getting ready and all, I thought I wanted to do this with them. So, I downed 2 tablets of Panadol Actifast and started my journey with them. It was like the Chinese saying "die, die lah".

This time, it was a reverse mode. We had to start hiking in pitch dark in order to catch the sunrise. There were some pretty intense rope-pulling moments during the hike. I thought this part was pretty enjoyable.
I walked and I stopped, I walked and I stopped. The wind was killing and I felt my poor nose was going to come off anytime. I kept going. With my speed, naturally I was the last. Din 1 was with me all the time. He didn't push me nor did he discourage me. He just followed my pace. He must be thinking he would have to wrap me up and carry me down the mountain. :P I'm not going to lie, there were times when I felt like quitting.

I remembered I was at a halt and looking straight ahead with my mind blank (nope, couldn't see the peak yet) and a European hiker was walking downwards. He looked at me and said to me "Don't give up." Right after that, I felt tears building up at my eyes sockets but I contained myself and told myself, "Yup, I must go on. I ain't a quitter. God, please give me strength."

I finally managed to meet my gang at the summit. "TURTLE, you made it!!!" They were proud of me. I was and still am proud of myself. Even my guide was proud of me. I remember him saying "Saya tak sangka you boleh sampai. Saya sangka you dah pancit." 

Looking down from the highest point of Mount Kinabalu, all the pain, sweat and tears were worth it. Definitely worth it.

Me and my 12 fellow comrades
An average hiker needs 1 hour to hike 1 KM. For me, at least 1-2 hours
The beauty of nature
the start of our bumpy hike
"where there's a will, there's a way"
another wonderful discovery
We completed our 6KM hike

So near, yet so far
Don't expect to look nice
the stairs which you will curse at during the hike, particularly the hike down (when you could no longer feel your feet/leg)
Ning - posing in the latest Summer collection
the emotional moments
the Legends
the start of the 3am hike to the summit
The Tunku Abdul Rahman Peak during sunrise

*** freeeeezing ***
The live image at the back of our RM1 note - the South Peak

aaahhh... Can someone carry  me down, please?

This cool picture of the South Peak is a courtesy of my friend, Yuin who climbed in 2008
The rope without an end..

wonderful view from up there

Another shot of the Donkey Ears Peak

This is what we meant by 4-legged creatures crawling up to the summit
rope-pulling moments which I enjoyed

some pretty steep slopes
water turned ice

The gang who made it!
St John's Peak behind me - the face of an ape

care for a dip? :D
savouring the rewarding moment of reaching the summit

The Donkey Ears Peak
rocky steps to endure
just focus on reaching the summit - that's all that matters


Jasmine said...

proud of you attempting the climb twice, gal! very inspiring! :D

Larina Wong said...

Heehee Thanks babe! I'm very proud of myself too ;-)