1993 was the year I first climbed and reached Southeast Asia's highest peak at 4,101 meters. The itch to return there had been thwarted numerous times by many factors and level of fitness topped the list. One day I decided that if I waited to be fit I would never make it back up so I decided to set sight on Mt Kinabalu and work towards achieving it.
The rockface above the 11,000 feet altitude. These pictures were taken the following day when the weather was good in the morning to early afternoon.
The trail started at Timpohon Gate. It had started to rain. It rained and rained and rained from the time we started until we reached Laban Rata at 11,000 feet. I do not recall having felt so wet, cold and miserable before. We had been on the trail and in the non-stop rain from 9.30am to 5.20pm. I was wet from both the rain and my sweat. Unfortunately my backpack raincover could not hold off the rain and that too with the contents were soaking wet. The only things that were dry were my Think-tank bags that held my camera gear.
Although we were totally soaked and cold, we decided it would be best that to get dinner at the Laban Rata Resthouse before heading to Pendant Hut, where we would be staying for two nights. Pendant Hut was another hundred or so (I didn't count actually) steps of wooden stairs up from Laban Rata resthouse.
That's our stay way up there...
This is from Pendant Hut looking down to Laban Rata Resthouse where we 1st arrived. The resthouse as dorms & few rooms for accommodation and the only restaurant 1t 11,000 feet to get meals. The meals don't come cheap due to the cost of bringing things up via porter.
Warmed up and into dry clothes, we had our Ferrata briefing before bunking down for the night. The next day would start early i.e. up at 1.45am and start the summit trek by 2.30am.
What could be worse than being wet, cold and miserable? Perhaps getting from warm dry clothes into the wet & cold clothing (including undies) at 2.00am in 11 deg Celsius temperature would be it!
God granted our prayers for good weather! The sky was clear and absolutely beautiful with stars!! Once a while on the trek up I would pause to admire the heavens. I wished I could just find a clear spot and lie there just to admire the starry sky.
This is all one would see until daybreak. Just the light from your torch to light your path:
My GPSr got unclipped and dropped off somewhere around the steep rope section. I heard it bouncing on the rock surface and stopped some 50 feet below. I decided to go back down to look for it. Find it I did and it still worked! Well used and abused unit :P
At Sayat-Sayat Hut & checkpoint, we decided not to press on to Low's Peak as time was tight if we wanted to do the Via Ferrata activity. We enjoyed the serenity and the unfolding beauty of the sunrise at 12,000 feet. The crescent moon rose just before sunrise and Venus was brightly visible.
The sea of clouds below was mesmerizing.
After the sun was high, we began our descent but not by the way we came up. This is what I really came for. This is the driving force for the return to Mt Kinabalu; Via Ferrata!!
A via ferrata (Italian for "road with irons") is a mountain route which is equipped with fixed cables, stemples, ladders, and bridges. For more info, please click on http://www.mountaintorq.com/index.php
View of the Via Ferrata (Walk the Torq route) from Pendant Hut. Look closer and you can see participants on the rockface. The white trail is the result from many shoes "cleaning" the rockface over the years.
The hanging bridge on Low's Circuit.
After 2 amazing nights, it was time to descend but not without getting some pictures along the way.
180 deg view of Laban Rata and surroundings below:
Porter carrying up a tankful of cooking gas for the restaurant and heating at Laban Rata:
Dew from the cold mornings:
I think I shall be back again but will not be waiting 18 years!