Climbing Mt. Kinabalu / Poring Hot Springs
28 Apr 2006
|So... I'm supposed to tell you all about how my Borneo experience was? Okay, here goes :-)
It was a "dark and stormy night", ohh, actually it was quite nice and bright but very wet at times. I thought Malaysia was in the dry season, but it seems global warming has some issues with the common calender, so everything is not as it is supposed to be.
Anyway, to start at the beginning..
I arrived in Kota Kinabalu more or less straight from Singapore. Quite a contrast I might add. I did not immediately recognise Singapore as a hyper clean place, but compared to Malaysia in general, it pretty much is (I'm sorry to say).
Kota Kinabalu, or just KK, is the capital of Sabah one of two Malaysian states in Borneo. Borneo is made up by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. And it's the worlds third largest island.. Did you know that?
Sabah is know for a couple of big things like the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Sepilok, Poring Hot Springs and ofcourse South East Asia's highest mountain - Mt. Kinabalu.
I did both of these attractions, plus I saw the worlds largest flower, the rafflesia, - in person.
Kinabalu National Park is also Malaysia's first and only World Heritage Area, it's quite a large area and includes Poring Hot Springs too.
Before I got to Borneo I tried to get a booking sorted to go climb Mt. Kinabalu, the thing is, you can't climb it unless you have a confirmed booking at Laban Rata ( a hostel in 3200 meters above sea level). I got it for the 28'Th of April and then went straight to Borneo.
Since I had a few days "to burn" I decided to go to Sepilok to see the Orangutans.. So on and so forth.
Now let me tell you about my climbing trip. This is the interesting part, guaranteed.
I started out by going to Kinabalu Park Head Quarters. It's the gateway to the mountain and a mandatory stop on the way. I spent one night here in about 1500 meters, to get acclimatised to the relatively thinner air..
At about 9.30 am I was leaving the entrance gate behind me and headed up the mountain by a very very steep trail. It took me about 5 hours and 30 min. to get to Laban Rata in 3200 meters above sea level. Please note that the trail is only 6 km long, and therefor very steep..
It was a struggle to get there, and wow I was proud of myself. After one, or perhaps two hours of sleep, I got up at 2.30 AM and was ready to climb the rest of the way to the summit at 4100 meters. But but but.. After about 30-45 min. of hiking I got altitude sickness, which means I got dizzy and very nauseous.. Not cool when it's pitch black, wearing a head-torch and hiking on sheer granite rock on a very steep mountain. I had no choice but to go back, and boy was I happy I did so after about 2 seconds of descent. I was more affected than I had initially realised.. I had a really firm grip on the handrail.. That's for sure.
When I got back to my hut, the Gunting Lagdan Hut, I went back to bed and got another three hours of sleep and then joined the rest of the group and finally went all the way down the mountain in one go.
I hope you enjoy the photos I did manage to shoot.. It's not much and there's no sunrise from the summit, but it will have to do. Sorry.
The thing is - now I have an excuse to go back to Borneo and try again :-)
Not too bad..
After the climbing attempt I went straight to Poring Hot Springs and dipped my body in some hot sulphur water.. Ahhhh :-)
Next thing I know, I'm on a plane back to Peninsular Malaysia - to Kuala Lumpur.