If there is any crazy thing I did in my life, it would be the decision to climb up the tallest peak between the Himalayas & the New Guinea – the majestic Mount Kinabalu. The word “Kinabalu” comes from a Kadazan word “Aki Nabalu” which means “the revered place of the dead”. Hiking is not my passion, I mean I’m not even athletic enough to jog! But my opportunity to stay in this peaceful land Sabah made me thought, why not give it a try? I wasn’t really aiming to reach the peak anyway, I just wanted to experience how hiking is like. So, I paid my insurance and fees, together with a group of 14 friends (some of them are marathon-runners, real hikers, and of course me).
I did not do any preparation for the hike, hiking gears, fitness, and also mental readiness until 2 weeks before the real shit. My friend and I, who would not even climb the stairs, let alone the mountain went really nervous. Because we knew we were not prepared! We thought of chickening out, but we didn’t want the money went to waste so we just stick to it.
We departed for the hike on 28th April 2015, in the morning. Our mountain guides briefed us about the trail route, resting check points, and all other safety precautions. We basically packed our bag with energy bars, water and a pair of clean socks and shirt, oh and a rain coat.With a climbing stick, we started off our hike via the Mesilau Route, the route which a fitter and adventurous hikers would choose, if you know what I mean, yes it’s the tougher route (steeper, more slippery and longer). The view along the trail was just spectacular, we couldn’t help to take tonnes of photos!
On the first day, our target was to reach Laban Rata before the sun set. The journey was long but the view was breathtaking. It was the most tiring day in my life, I couldn’t feel my legs when I finally arrived in Laban Rata Rest House which was at 6pm. Right after grabbing dinner, I had painkillers and went to sleep right away. Because the journey for the next day was at 2 a.m! That’s just few hours sleep!
At 2 a.m, freezing cold, and dark, we put on our head lamps, with extra clothes to keep warm, and continued hiking. The target was to reach at the peak before dawn so that we could watch the sunrise. It was so tough that I almost gave up. I couldn’t stand the cold, my legs were hurting, I was out of breath (which became worse at higher altitude), and my hands were numb due to coldness.
Narrow and steep rocks, abseiling in the darkness, I really thought I was going to die. I actually wanted to stop when I could already see the peak, which was about 700m away. It was the longest 700 m in my life!
My friends and I kept going and we managed to reach the peak as the sun was rising. The peak was just there, right in front of our eyes, calling us. And up there, it was the most beautiful view ever.
It’s like you could walk on the clouds! It’s like a dream, it was a dream.
“Tinggi-tinggi Gunung Kinabalu, tinggi lagi saya sayang kamu
Tinggi-tinggi Gunung Kinabalu, tengok dari jauh hati saya rindu”