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Mount Kinabalu 2010 Expedition

Report by Dinah Doong
Thirty six (36) from our Church participated in the Mount Kinabalu Expedition on the 6 – 10 September 2010. Praise God for a successful expedition.
The thought of hiking up Mount Kinabalu never crossed my mind until my eight-year-old son Jin Eu suggested that we should join the Royal Rangers forthcoming excursion to Kota Kinabaluin September. My eldest son Jin Liang and the father had earlier registered for the trip. With five weeks to go, we decided to formulate some plans for training and the easiest was to train twice per week at Gasing Hill.

 All in all there were 36 of us that boarded the morning flight from LCCT to Kota Kinabalu on Monday, September 6, 2010. As soon as we reached KK, we had to split-up with the White Water Rafting group who had to travel for another four hours to Tenom.


Back in KK town, Commander Jim and his family (wife Amelia with Jamie and James), Ken with the two boys Arthur and Isaiah, Isaiah, and Jin Eu and me checked into the Marina Court Resort for the night.The next morning the three families cramped into the rented black Toyota Avanza and headed on to The Green Connection where we spent the next three hours exploring a manmade Tropical Rainforest with snakes, turtles, fishes and sharks being the attractions. The place was worth the visit as it was very interactive for the children especially when they were allowed to get close to the habitats.Fast forward, we later met up with the water-rafting group at around 6pm and we had to quickly depart for Kundasang where the Kinabalu National park is located. We reached the foothills at about 9pm and we were immediately packed into four vans/4WDs for another 30 minute journey to Mersilau Resort which serves as the starting point of our trek to Laban Rata base camp. Albeit a longer and harder route, the 8km Mersialu trail seems to be a wise choice as the journey on foot allows as admire the different species of flora and fauna that nature has to offer.
The air was cool and crisp in the morning when we commenced and the Hong family was in the last group with Pastor Chris and Matthew Lee led by our Commander Yoke Yee.The path was steep in the beginning. Despite its challenges and being surrounded by 600 million years of rainforest provided a great relief for this passage. MtKK2010-09
At one point, it looked like the Garden of Eden exactly as what was described in the Book of Genesis. The path soon rises and the scene starts to change to a Garden of Bonsai with tangled tree roots covered in green moss and as we moved further up, the narrowing ridges suddenly opens out at the top thus giving stunning views of the mountain above. That’s the wonders of God’s creation.
After this, the trail starts to descend quite steeply to the other side and at about 3km mark; we finally crossed over to join the Timpohan trail. From here the trail is rocky, slippery and continuously ascending steeply. The air was getting chilly and thinner. By now I ended up with two eight-year-olds: Arthur and Jin Eu in the Journey and they were of good company keeping me entertained with non-stop conversation. At 5km we met with Commander David at the resting hut and in a short while Jin Liang and father (Hong) joined us. Although it was only 500m to go, it was nevertheless the longest and most arduous journey of all. The rocky steps were wider now, and the route was contouring and steep but occasionally views of the Summit Trail are in the background. Visibility had dropped and the strong winds with the chill were quite unbearable by now.
As soon as we saw a little green but with a small arch and a guard, that was the indication that we had reached the base camp of Laban Rata. It took us about 9 hours of trekking from Mersilau to Laban Rata.
After a streaming hot meal, it was early to bed. At 1:30am it was rise and shine. By 2:30am we had gathered at the cafeteria to continue the second part of the Journey.
My group was made up of Alex Lee, Ong, Commander Eddy and me. Our first part of the journey began with a series of ladder, which we ascended slowly and that gave us the opportunity to acclimatize to the ascending altitude. When I turned back at certain times during the climb, I could glimpse the bright starts staring back at me.
MtKK2010-16 MtKK2010-17
Once we passed through the ladder, we had to attempt a short connection to the other side. Definitely not for those fainthearted, we had to hold on to the ropes pegged onto the rocks at 900 and the ground was nowhere in the sight, this was the biggest fear of my entire climb. We reached the Sayat Sayat checkpoint at 4:30am.With our names registered, we proceeded to climb the barren plateaus angled at around 600 to 700. As I could remembered, the most treacherous plains was the “Donkey’s Ears” and once we passed through this edge, we could see the summit just ahead of us. We met the Ferrata group (on their way down) as we were heading for the final lap of our climb to the summit.Slightly before 7:30am we reached the Low’s Peak, took our pictures and savoured the moments at the summit before making our way back to Laban Rata. We reached Laban Rata at 9am and shortly after we had to pack up and make our way down through the TImpohan Trail.
To sum it up, the trip was one of the most enriching experiences for me and my family and full of stories to tell. Not only providing us with the opportunity to explore the wonders of nature spanning from rivers to mountain, importantly a chance to get to know and fellowship with the Royal Rangers and their families, especially the parents.Thank to: Pastor Chris, the silent force behind this whole expedition and Pam, busy shuttling us to and fro in the resort; Commander Jim, quiet yet attentive; Commander Yoke Yee, the captain of the expedition; Commander Paul, persistent describes him best; Commander David, the ever helpful one and now I know why you never miss the Mount KK climb. Commander Horr Wai, an enthusiast for health; Commander Eddy, always watching and accompanying us throughout our trek; Commander Sam, Lily and Esther, you have made our trip a memorable one.Thank you very much!