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Mt. Yong Yap Expedition 2015

by Alicia Chan

illustration trail

After weeks of relentless training in the hills around Kuala Lumpur and Gunung Nuang, 26 Rangers and leaders from Outpost KL#1 embarked on an expedition to Mount Yong Yap, Peninsula Malaysia’s 6th highest mountain standing at 7,110 feet. The expedition lasted from 16th to 18th of July 2015, during the Hari Raya holidays.

All smiles before leaving civilisation
All smiles before leaving civilisation

Gathering at the wee hour of 4:00 a.m., we started our journey towards the assembly point at Kampung Raja, Cameron Highlands only to be deterred by the heavy traffic on the highways. However, the traffic and our lack of sleep did not dampen our anticipation for the hike. Upon reaching the assembly point, we savoured our last meal in human civilisation before heading into the forests.

The adventure officially started with the 4×4 ride to Pos Renggil, an orang asli village. It felt as if we were in Jurassic Park, without the dinosaurs. The strong wind in our faces and bumpy ride made the journey uneasy but nevertheless it was filled with laughter and giggles.

Rivers and more rivers to cross
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At 1:00 p.m., we began to hike towards Kem Agas, the place we would call home for two nights. The hike up involved pushing through heavily overgrown ferns, bending over multiple deadfalls, avoiding thorns that could damage our attires and bags, and crossing multiple rivers. Following 6 hours of uphill trekking, we finally arrived at Kem Agas and settled for the night to prepare for the 2nd day: the conquest to the summit.

“A 10-hour hike awaits us”, our guide informed us on the second day. From 7.30 a.m. onwards, we braved ourselves through more river crossings and uphill climbs. The never-ending climb up was excruciating to bear, but we knew we could not afford to give up at that point of time. As we attained to higher elevation, we were rewarded with cool breeze and the sight of mossy forest. Yet, the last stretch to the peak was narrow and obstructed with boulders and fallen trees. The route was not straightforward; one had to survey the track to determine the best way to climb up.

Rangers & Rain at the summit
Rangers & Rain at the summit

With unwavering determination, we pushed on and finally reached the top of Mount Yong Yap! We took some time to appreciate our achievement and God’s creation. Not long after we summited, it started to rain heavily. The raindrops felt as heavy as marbles dropping unto our cheeks and the rain forced us to take shelter among the bushes. It was cold as we headed down the mud-filled and slippery trail. Our success of conquering the peak has given us the strength to keep calm and carry on. We returned to Kem Agas safely at 6:00 p.m. to rest for the day.

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At 6:00 a.m. on the third day, we were ready to head back to civilisation. It took us 6 hours to arrive back at Pos Renggil and we celebrated our feat by bathing in the cool, refreshing river. God has displayed his awesomeness through nature and His protection upon us throughout this whole expedition. The sandfly bites may itch for a week, but the memories of Mount Yong Yap will stay with us for a lifetime.

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Gunung Tahan Expedition 2014

By Alicia Chan.

From the 22 to 29 July 2014, a team of 16 people comprising Commanders and Expedition Rangers set off to conquer the tallest peak and one of the most difficult trails in Peninsula Malaysia, Gunung Tahan via the Kuala Tahan route.

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Mulu Adventure 2013


We had a great expedition at Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak.

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Trans-Titiwangsa Conquered

by Samuel Ngeow
The Trans-Titiwangsa Expedition transverses the main mountain range that forms the backbone of Peninsula Malaysia. The expedition starts at Ulu Kinta, Perak and concludes at Blue Valley in Cameron Highland, Pahang. It will cover three of the seven highest mountains in Peninsula Malaysia, Mount Korbu, Mount Gayong and Mount Yong Belar, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th highest mountains respectively.
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Mount Kinabalu Expedition 2011

Report by Bryan Thean Li Ren
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.
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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.
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Father & Son Backpacking 2009 (Dad’s story)

By Paul Ranga
From the 16 to 18 March 2009, the Royal Rangers organised a Father and Son Backpacking Expedition to the Endau Rompin National Park in Johor.Seven courageous fathers and eight equally courageous sons (one of the fathers had two sons) braved the rigours of 3 days of hiking and camping in the wilderness of one of Malaysia’s few remaining pristine rainforests that has existed undisturbed for millions of years. Accompanied by Commanders Jim Guneratnam, David Peter, Kester Low and Sasha, we left church at six on Monday morning for what was to be a truly remarkable experience.
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Father & Son Backpacking 2009 (Son’s story)

In preparation for the 3D/2N backpacking expedition from 15th – 18thMarch 2009, the Rangers and their fathers had 2 training hikes so that the fathers could get into shape for the camp. For the Rangers, it would be just a walk in the park!

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Gunung Tahan Expedition 2008

Report by Lisa Toh

31st January 2008
The team of 11 set out for the climb to Gunung Tahan– Senior Commander Jim Guneratnam, Ms Low Mai Keok, Mr Michael Soong, Commanders Lam Kah Meng, Lam Kah Leong and Timothy Lee, Expedition Rangers Hansel Wong, Samuel Ngeow, Choy Ji Ian, Josephine Tiew and Lisa Toh, gathered at church for a short briefing and a prayer by our Chaplain, Associate Pastor Steven Kum. We left for Taman Negara, Sungai Relau at about 5.45 pm. Councilman Lim Sew Hok, Councilwoman Chin Yoke Yee and Commander Kester Low provided the transport to Sungai Relau. We had our dinner, Chinese style, at a restaurant in Bukit Tinggi. After a filling meal we continued on our journey. A few petrol station stops and lots of trailer overtaking later, we finally reached our destination around midnight. The boys piled into their dormitory while the girls settled in their chalet.

A river crossing…

1st February 2008
After a good night’s sleep we woke up to a simple breakfast of nasi lemak with sambal ikan bilis and oddly, black sauce chicken. Then, we had devotion and prayer by Councilman Lim Sew Hok. We then brought our backpacks to the Wildlife Department to be declared. This ensured that we did not litter the trails. Having done that, we loaded our backpacks onto a pick-up truck and loaded ourselves onto the back of a 4X4 for our ride to Kuala Juram. Councilwoman Chin Yoke Yee and Commander Kester Low joined us on our mini rollercoaster ride. Prior to really beginning our trek, we first had a little briefing by our 2 guides, Ridzuan and Mat, whom Ms Low nicknamed “Rambo” because of his size and built. And so Rambo he became. We took our last photos looking fresh-faced before crossing the suspension bridge to begin our trek. We crossed 4 rivers and passed Kuala Luis, where we ate the sandwiches prepared for us by Councilwomen Chin Yoke Yee that morning for lunch, and Lata Luis. Just before reaching our campsite for the day, we chanced upon a green viper. I’d say it looked pretty cute. Kem Kor, though looking a little barren, was a sight for sore eyes. The river next to it was more so. Since we had reached our campsite at about 3.30pm, we had some extra time to relax and bath in the river after pitching our tents before dinner. It drizzled slightly but we had a relatively good first night. Being the first group to climb Tahan in 2008 thus far was pleasant.

Another river crossing…

2nd February 2008
After a short prayer, we started off a little past 8 am and headed towards Bukit Botak, at 1943m. Along the way we passed Permatang, Kubang, where we stopped for lunch, Belumut and Bonsai. Somewhere along the trail it started to drizzle which morphed into a very heavy rain. Fortunately, after what seemed like a very long period the rain started to ease up by the time we were close to Bukit Botak. We were trekking up very steep inclines and through very muddy trails covered by mist. As we reached the higher elevations the trail became rocky, which was way better than sinking into deep, soft, cold mud but the mist made it difficult to see beyond a few feet. We reached Bukit Botak late and the sky was darkening as we pitched our tents. It also started getting very cold as the winds whipped around followed by rain again. We had dinner in our tents that night and then got ready to sleep. It rained on and off during the night. A few of us ventured out to have a look at the sky late at night. The sky was crystal clear and the stars were beautiful. The cold, however, drove us back into our tents. We had hiked 16 km today.

Pitcher plants were found in abundance…

3rd February 2008
It was a crisp Sunday morning. We packed our things and started for our next destination, the very peak of Gunung Tahan, 2187m. After about an hour or so, at about 10.40am, we made it to the summit. We truly thank God for helping all of us reach the very top of Peninsular Malaysia in one piece. We took our photos and then sang a few songs of worship and praise. After that, we had devotion and prayer by Senior Commander Jim Guneratnam. Then some of us went hunting all over the place for phone service. Having done what we wanted to do on the summit, we started our journey of 7 km to Gunung Gedung, at 2085m. The trail cut through bonsai plants that were so stunted they were hardly ever taller than your knee. The trek was breathtaking as we could see the mountain ranges as we made our way across them. There were pitcher plants as far as the eye could see and in a myriad of colours. The trail here wasn’t very muddy; in fact, on some parts it was dry and the whole trail was less demanding. Pretty soon we came to Padang, a place that our guide says was once used by the British army as a training ground. After a short break, we resumed the journey to our campsite, Kem Gedung. About an hour before reaching our campsite, we came to a place where the wreckage of a plane that crashed in the 60’s or 70’s were gathered. We marveled at the way the metal was crumpled like paper due to the force of the crash. Ridzuan also told us that originally, the pieces of the plane was scattered all over. People searched for the wreckage and brought them up to the trail. We resumed our journey and picked up the speed since it had started to rain again. When we reached the campsite, the tents were quickly pitched because the rain was coming down hard. We needed to get water, however, and endured the cold and rain to collect water from the water source down the side of the mountian. Again, we had dinner in our tents since it was pouring. We settled for the night.

The Team; Micheal Soong, Choy Ji Ian, Cmdr Lam Kah Meng, Josephine Tiew, Jr Cmdr Philip Lam, Samuel Ngeow, Hansel Wong, Lisa Toh, Cmdr Timothy Lee, Low Mai Keok and Sr Cmdr Jim Guneratnam (Left to Right)

4th February 2008
A very soggy morning!  On the other hand, the weather here is slightly milder than Bukit Botak. We had a long trek ahead, climbing 3 mountains. The first, Gunung Reskit at 1666m was physically demanding. At one point, we had to do a little rock climbing downwards over a steep-steep cliff. Other times we had to be extremely careful not to fall. The second, Gunung Tangga 15, was about facing your fear of heights. Contrary to its name, there are only nine ladders on the mountain. The third, Gunung Pangkin, 1962m was a tiring climb with three ladders. On our way to Pondok Dua (Wray’s Camp), it started to rain again. When we passed Wray’s Camp, it was pouring. We continued on walking towards Kuala Teku, which was our next campsite. The boys started singing songs of praise and worship to lift our spirits as we went along. Thankfully the rain let up after a while. Some of the boys went ahead towards Kuala Teku to pitch the tents first as it was starting to get dark and we still had some distance to go. We met another group of trekkers from Kuala Tahan at the campsite. After washing up, we finally were able to have our dinner outside after three days, before reluctantly retreating into our tents.

Gunung Tangga 15 consists of nine ladders…

5th February 2008
Today we were to cross the Tahan river 8 times. The current was strong and treacherous but all of us made it across safely. Trekking along the river was ardous as the rocks were slippery. We stopped at Kuala Puteh for a late lunch and were glad to refill our water bottle with “puteh” clear water. En-route to our campsite, we had to climb Gunung Rajah at 576m. The summit of Gunung Rajah was hot and sunny. The view from the top of this mountain was majestic. We could see Gunung Tahan from here and we were caught off-guard just how far we had come. After a short rest we continued trekking cross many more hills. We continued to trek knowing that our long day would result in us getting out of the jungle one day earlier than planned. Three hours after Kuala Puteh we reached our final campsite, Kem Tengah. The night was a very pleasant, dry night. Everyone was feeling high spirited knowing we will be back to civilization the next day.

Gunung Rajah was where we finally got handphone coverage…

6th February 2008
We set off for the last part of our expedition. We had lunch in Kem Melantai. The river next to it was clear and soothed our very sore legs. After slogging through more than 10 km of slippery, muddy trails, we were ecstatic to have reached Kuala Tahan. While waiting to for the park rangers to issue our certificates and to check our belongings, we peeled off our leeches and had iced lemon tea, which was a welcome change to our six days of “Chinese tea” coloured water. Thereafter, we took pictures of our very ragged selves in front of the park before taking a boat across the river from Taman Negara. We had a short walk to the chalets that our guide, Ridzuan had arranged for us. After we cleaned ourselves up, we had a reunion dinner, Royal Rangers fellowship at a floating restaurant nearby since it was the day before Chinese New Year. Then we gathered round outside our chalets and shared testimonies of our mountain experience, sang praises and gave thanks to God.

Back at Taman Negara Headquarters…

7th February 2008
At 6.00am the next morning, Commanders Chin Yoke Yee, Eddy Law and David Peter arrived with “yee sang” and chicken wings for our breakfast. Then, we departed for KL with fond memories of our trip.

Disclaimer: No animals were harmed during the expedition. The same cannot be said for leeches, however…and SERVES THEM RIGHT!!!

Check out our article and more pictures in Calvary News May – June 2008 issue.

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1st Royal Rangers Kinabalu Expedition

by Jonathan Lim
The Royal Rangers made a trip to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in May 2003 with a mission – to scale Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Southeast Asia.
On 12 May 2003, 7 Rangers, 7 Leaders and 3 other Calvarites gathered at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport  and boarded a flight to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. After touching down, we checked into our apartments, then had a sumptuous seafood dinner before getting some sleep after the long journey.
We arose at 6:30 am to prepare to go white water rafting. It was a 2 hour bus ride to Beaufort, than another 2 hour train ride to the start our rafting journey down the Padas River. The train ride was a real eye-opener for many of us for it brought us to the interior of Sabah. We saw for ourselves how remote some parts of East Malaysia were and how the locals carried out their daily activities. Ferrying goods and going to school by the bone-numbing train was a daily routine for many of the locals. Truly we can be thankful for our blessings. Reputed to be the best white water rafting in Malaysia, we all had an enjoyable time braving the rapids before being treated to a BBQ.
bens derek
DAY 3We had breakfast near the jetty before taking a boat to Sapi Island, where we were to go snorkelling. After a 20 minutes ride, we arrived and soon enough, were enjoying God’s creation underwater as we ooh-ed and aah-ed at the schools of fish swimming around us. The water was very
clear that day and we were able to see the corals and the marine life that depended on it. We enjoyed the snorkelling so much we were rather reluctant to leave. That afternoon we travelled to Kinabalu Park. Pastor Richard joined us at the park around dinnertime and shared Psalms 121 with us. He encouraged us to hold on to it as we climbed up the mountain the next morning. We packed for the trek and hit the sack early so we would be energetic the next morning.
DAY 4The trek up Mount Kinabalu was the highlight of the trip. From the Park Headquarters, we would have to trek up 6km to Laban Rata rest house at a height of 3,300m, before climbing to the peak the next morning. We started out at 9.30am. Along the way, it began to rain. Combined with the strong winds and the increasing altitude, it was a tough challenge for us but we were determined to reach our destination. By 3:30 pm, all of us had reached Laban Rata where the temperature was slightly below 10 degrees. Boy, were we glad to know that there were heaters in the dorms. We were all under the covers at 8:00 pm.
The Team: Associate Pastor Richard Yun, Councilman Samuel Sham, Senior Commander Jim Guneratnam, Outpost Commanders Chin Yoke Yee and David Peter, Commanders Eddy Law, Leong Yew Loong and Cheah Siew Ying, Trail Rangers Derek Lim, Benjamin Khoo, Jonathan Lim, Samuel Yee, Samuel Soong, Sam Shin Gern and Wee Liang-Shyen, together with Loh Chee Wah, Edwin Marsden, Faith Tan, Amelia and Jamie Guneratnam.
DAY 5We woke at 2:00 am and found that it was still drizzling. The rain had not stopped since we arrived at Laban Rata the day earlier. We all knew that were in for a tough climb. After devotion and prayer we left the rest house for the peak at 2:30 am. Along the way, the rough weather conditions and our different levels of ability split us up. Fortunately, 10 of us made it to the peak. Some had to turn back due to the extreme weather conditions and altitude sickness – breathing difficulties, dizziness and nausea. Those who made it to the peak, discovered that the beautiful sunrise we expected was not to appear that morning. After hearing stories of how magnificent the sunrise is at the peak, we only saw grey mist and fog all around us. The peak was shrouded with mist and the wind was blowing in excess of 80km/h. The temperature was just above freezing and we were greeted
with small hailstones instead of a sunrise. Most of us who went up did not stay longer that 5 minutes for it was so cold up there our hands had gone numb. There was not much to see except for cold rocks, grey shroud, and a signboard that said ‘Low’s Peak’, the highest peak in Southeast Asia named after the first recorded ascent by Sir Hugh Low. Still, overcoming all the difficulties and the extreme weather conditions made the ascent of Mount Kinabalu even sweeter. The satisfaction of knowing we have conquered the highest peak in the Southeast Asia was too much for words to describe. We then trekked back down to Laban Rata, packed up and trekked all the way back to Kinabalu Park Headquarters. We travelled to Poring Hot Springs to spend the night. We were treated to dinner, along the way and were able to relax in the hot springs afterwards. Before heading off to bed, we gathered together and shared our experiences of the mountain and how God had helped us in many different ways. Encouraged by the testimonies, we listened to Pastor Richard as he shared the second part of Psalms 121 with us. Indeed, some of us said that the verses in Psalms 121 were what kept us going to reach the peak. Soon afterwards, we went into our different rooms and managed to get a good rest.
DAY 6The next morning, we arose and some of us walked to the hot springs just to enjoy one last dip, before going to visit a waterfall nearby. Took a bus back to Kota Kinabalu, where we boarded the flight back home. We thank God for journey mercy.This trip has truly been a wonderful experience for all of us and we would like to thank the different ones who made it possible. Lastly, praise be to God for what He has accomplished through us. Quoting from Psalms 121:1,2 – “I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Indeed, He has helped us in many different ways.