It all started in an Instagram story. I saw a post from J that she was going to climb the highest mountain in South East Asia. I have been planning to go there but I didn’t know how and anyone who hikes.
She mentioned about the plans and how much it will cost, the hiking materials I must bring and preparation in order to reach the summit. I agreed. I booked my flight to Kota Kinabalu on Feb 16 via Scoot Airlines.
I reached Kota Kinabalu on February 16. I did city tour first and ate a lot of food and of course drink a lot. haha. Kota Kinabalu is a great place to unwind. On the same day,I have met my team – the serial hikers with our leader P. He organized this conquer. It would not be possible without him. He prepared all of us so we can all reach the summit.
February 18 Day 1 of conquer
A lot of people doubted that I couldn’t do it but nobody can stop me! haha I wanted to raise my flag on top of Mount Kinabalu. I must admit on the 1st day that I was very ecstatic! I have been raving about this to family and friends and I couldn’t wait to share the story of how I did it.
My Mount Kinabalu team at the Timpohon Gate
Mount Kinabalu is the tallest mountain in South East Asia. The summit, Low’s Peak, sits at 4095.2 meters (13,435 feet) above sea level. It is an 8.5 kilometre (5.25 miles) trek to the top
Derives its name from the Kadazan word, ‘Aki Nabalu’, meaning ‘the revered place of the dead’.
It was a 5:00am Wake up Call in the hotel to prepare. The shuttle pick us up in the hotel by 6:30am going to Kinabalu park Headquarters. It took 2 hours to reach the park. We arrived at 8:30am at the headquarters. The guide gave us our IDs and packed lunch (diet lunch) haha. Our guide’s name is Gabriel, I call him Gab.
Upon ascent, I was panting heavily – yes, that’s really early to feel for a hike! but it was unlimited number of stairs! FML! haha I thought maybe I should go back and just rest to the hotel and why the hell I was doing this. I could just be reading a book, eat, drink and repeat haha but I was glad my team was very supportive that we pushed each other. It was indeed a very challenging climb if you did not train hard for it. But I had to prove my haters wrong so I carried on. hahaha.
Red Riding Hood in Mount Kinabalu. I love the flowers and the trees. It did rain quite a bit in the forest while we were climbing.
We have reached Laban Rata at 4:00pm 6 freaking km hike! Almost ready for the buffet dinner haha! We really didn’t care if we were that slow as long as we have reached our 1st destination. I wanted to take a shower first before sumptuous dinner. And so I did and I regretted it. The water was freezing cold! (dropped to -1 degree Celsius) I couldn’t feel my body anymore hahaha! We had summit briefing after dinner at 6:00pm and 7:00pm it’s lights off in Laban Rata.
I was not able to sleep really well. We had to wake up at 2:00am the next day. Finally! I can reach the summit!
Day 2 February 19
3:00am Malaysia time we had a briefing of what to expect. It was still dark so I had to wear my headlamp. This is the last ascent 2.5km more and we were done.
It was freezing cold! (-2 degree Celsius) I had to wear my gloves too because there will be rappelling towards the summit. This was the challenging part of our hike. It’s very difficult to breathe and we had to be in the gate at 5:00am so we can reach the Low’s peak. I even lost my water container as it fell while I was rappelling!
Finally, we reached the South peak! I thought this was it! But it was not yet it! WTF! haha We still need to climb 1.72km – 20 more minutes! My 2 friends who were with me decided to just stay in the South Peak and not reach the summit. I almost gave up too but I couldn’t just give up! It was my goal that kept me going! And it was more difficult if you were doing it solo because the other group was already far from us when we reached the South Peak. haha That was the longest 20 minutes of my life! Almost cried because it was very hard! haha
I wanted to cry because I can’t breathe anymore. I was almost there and I couldn’t give up! I had to stop almost 10x just to rest. I didn’t count it though but it felt like 10x haha :p. The altitude sickness was messing my head!
After more than 20 minutes, I have reached the summit!!! I felt like a superwoman! haha. Of course, there were a lot of photo shoots in the summit with my flag. 🙂
After the summit, it’s the descent!! Haha I almost wanted a chopper could get me so I could go down faster. The descent was the hardest! My toe nails were hitting my shoes and that was really painful! 😦
I just talked to whoever were just starting to climb the mountain. Made friends with anyone I lay my eyes to haha. Hikers are the warmest human beings you could ever met! That’s why I love climbing mountains! 🙂 We have reached back to the Timpohon Gate at 5pm, almost the closing of the gate and was hungry. What if we were not able to reach it at 5:00pm? We have to go back to Laban Rata to rest there and begin the descent again so we can reach before 5pm.
Day 3 February 20
It’s time to go back to Singapore. I couldn’t wait to share my stories to family, friends and colleagues. This was a story worth sharing. The experience, the story, the nature, food and the people you met on the mountains were the best! We were planning to hike Mt. Fuji in Japan in July. I can’t wait
May 24, 2020 – update
Mt. Fuji is on hold because of Covid-19 😦 Too many people have been affected by this pandemic and all travel and conquering mountain is still on hold until they discovered a vaccine for this pandemic.