By now you may have seen the photos taken during our day 1’s climb and read about the stories when we were staying at the rest-house. If you are not familiar or if you are curious about the climbing route, do take a quick look at the tips article. I have drawn a simple picture to illustrate the travel distance, altitude, and major milestones.
In the previous day, we have covered 6km and gained 1406.3m in altitude. The final push is to cover another 2.72km in order to gain another 822.5m in altitude before reaching the Low’s Peak that is 4095.2m above sea level.
We needed no alarm clock to wake us up. At 1.45am in the morning, we were woken up by the noise made by the early risers. Lots of people walking outside our room and the chatter from the climbers gathered at the dinning hall for their breakfast shook us out from our dreamland – for the lucky ones who managed to sleep that was.
Before leaving Singapore, Tong Kiat has decided not to bring a torch light. He was confident in his night training in the Army. Cynthia being Cynthia, it has not crossed her mind that she needed a torch light. For me, the over-cautious guy, I brought along a tiny battery operated LED reading light. It was fortunate that between 4 of us (including the mountain guide), we had 2 light sources.
Our night climb started with some harmless small steps …
… that quickly became some steep stone steps. The photo was taken with a flash. Now imagine climbing up those steps with hardly any light.
And if that was not challenging enough, there was a 700m danger zone that regular climbers like us have to rely on the ropes to scale up the slabs of granite rocks along the sides of the mountain. Our maintain guide was able to walk side by side with Cynthia throughout without holding onto the rope. As for Tong Kiat, after he got onto the rope, my light source was too far away to help so he had to climb up in total darkness.
We rested often and as seen from the picture below, the slope can get steep at some points.
After the adrenalin rushing rope climbing activity (exact quote from Cynthia), we have reached the guardhouse that checked our attendance. Climbers are required to display their tags – our climbing license – before proceeding to the summit. Accidents do occur often at the last 1.6km so they just make sure that all of us are accounted for. As seen in the picture below, behind us was the guardhouse.
The temperature fell significantly as we scaled up the last 1.6km as we had no shelter. The wind could get strong as well. We had to pause often to get used to the thinning air.
As we stood just less than 100 meters away from the summit, we witnessed the magical moment of sunrise.
The last milestone sign on the floor before reaching the summit.
There was really no hurry to reach the summit that was crowded with climbers by the time we were just meters away. Instead, we took our time to admire the changing skyline of Kota Kinabalu.
And tourists being tourists, we took the opportunity to take some photos while waiting for some of the climbers to leave the summit.
One more take!
The fact is everyone wants to take a group photo at the final signpost so we patiently waited. Seriously, at that very moment, time did not matter. I took a picture of Cynthia while waiting (as well as many photos around the peak that are featured in another article).
Finally, it was our turn and we took two pictures while we were standing on the highest point in Malaysia. 4095.2m is a big deal to me. From where I was born (Hong Kong that is), which is blessed with lots of mountains, the highest point does not even hit 1000m. The picture below is the second photo taken. The first being featured in the blog itself.
When we climbed up, we could hardly see anything. When we came down, the view was fantastic.
Our mountain guide took us for a little detour to the path less travelled. It was just breathtaking. How small we are!
And the picture below is the last stretch before reaching the guard house where they took our attendance again.
Cynthia had lots of difficulties using the rope to come down. It is certainly not easy for those who have not done any rope climbing in their lives before. For me, it was more like a leap of faith in believing that so long as I am holding tightly onto the rope, I won’t fall even if I lose my footing.
I tried to take a photograph on the way up when we first encountered the rope but it was too dark. The picture below taken on my way down showed the beginning of the rope climbing danger zone. Pretty scary it was.
Coming down was a real pain for me and so from then on, I did not take many photographs. What I have though is the picture taken when finally reached the finishing line. Compare that to when we started, I would say we looked a lot more haggard. If you were to ask me right at that moment if I would climb up to Mount Kinabalu’s Low’s Peak again, I would firmly say once is enough. But now …
In the next article, I am going to share with you some of the breathtaking photographs I have taken when we were at the peak as well as some of the pictures taken on the tourist spots of Kota Kinabalu.
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