On 30 August 2011, a group of 32 people from Calvary Church went on an expedition to climb Mount Kinabalu. It was definitely a very exciting and challenging experience. We left Kuala Lumpur at 7.15am and arrived at Kota Kinabalu International Airport at almost 10am. There, we took a bus to Mount Kinabalu, only stopping for lunch and a little shopping. Accommodation throughout the trip was amazing. I had expected somewhat basic dorms and food but thankfully, I was proven wrong.
The first night on Mount Kinabalu, at Mersilau, was cold! But that was nothing compared to what would come. Most of us started our trek from Timpohan, the route at which we were going to climb the mountain the next morning, 31 August at about 8.30am after a good breakfast, prayer and a briefing from the guides. Six of the more adventurous in the group trekked the Mersilau trail which was 2km longer than Timpohan. Weather throughout the day was good but it rained on certain part of the journey. The hike to Laban Rata, the rest house on the mountain, took nearly 6 hours with most arriving after 2.00pm. There, we rested and chatted while waiting for the rest of our group to arrive. The final members of the group arrived after 6pm. As the sun set, the temperature began to drop and plummeted to 5’C in the early morning. Needless to say, it was very cold! What shocked me even though we were forewarned was the price of a cup of milo! Down here near sea level, a cup of milo would cost at most RM2 or 3 only. Up here at 3,270 meters (10,730 ft), it cost RM13!
After a buffer dinner and some rest in the dorms at Laban Rata, we set of for the summit at 2.30am. The hike to the summit took about 4 hours. Climbing up to the summit on a moonless night, it was pitch black until around 5am, and we had to use headlights and torches. I held on to the ropes like it was my lifeline because, as I saw heading back to Laban Rata daylight, it was. In a way, the darkness helped, because it kept me focused on the hike and at 4.20am I reached the final checkpoint, Sayat-Sayat. From there, it was around another 1.3 km to Low’s Peak, the summit of Mount Kinabalu. Shortly after the checkpoint, I suffered from altitude sickness. The guides suggested I turn back but persisted. I continued going up, and at 6.30am reached the base of the summit. Just a few meters to go, but the guides stopped me because the clouds were coming in and it began to rain. The trek down to Laban Rata was somewhat uneventful except for the clear view of the trail I had taken in the dark earlier that morning.
After a short rest at Laban Rata, we trek down to Timpohan and signed out at the check point. There was this feeling of disbelieve having made it up and down the highest mountain in Malaysia. Throughout the entire trek, there were parts where I struggled and perhaps if I went with any other group I would have given up because without the support I had from my friends and the commanders I wouldn’t have made it. If you haven’t tried climbing Mount Kinabalu, you should and next time. I want to go again! That evening, we had a time of celebration and thanksgiving, and received our certificates of accomplishment. On 2 September, at 7.30pm, we touched down in Kuala Lumpur and it was over, except for the muscle aches which lasted a few more days. Lots of thanks to all the people who went it up with me and supported me during the climb. Lastly, thank you God for keeping all of us safe and helping me succeed on the climb.