I have conquered her 12 years ago and I am back to relive the memories again!
The 5 adventurous souls decided to let their bodies to take a beating from the magnificent Mt Kinabalu so here we are!!!
We reached Kinabalu airport in the evening to get a cab (42ringgit) to Lavender lodge in the city zone. This is a nice lodge where the staff are very helpful and nice. Do consider staying here if you visit.
Next day, we left at 530am for a mini-bus ride to Mount KK headquarter’s base. The mini-bus driver was zipping around and overtaking at blind spots for the next 2 hours (where at one point, I saw Francis freak out and raised his hands in fear instead of holding on more tightly LOL). Note that luggage can be left there if there are any excess luggage not needed for the hike.
We had a decent breakfast 5 mins away from the Timpohon gate before starting our hike at 0830am. It took us about 7+ hours (0300pm) to reach the Laban Rata resthouse. I had a nose bleed after we started resting (not sure why!)
After dinner, we were supposed to have a good rest before waking up at 0130am for a hike up the Low’s Peak to see sunrise. I practically couldn’t sleep at all probably because of the massive headache that came from the high altitude.
At 0200am, it was still raining and the mountain ranger declared that it was unsafe for hiking. It was delayed till about 0800+am before we were allowed to hike up after much persuasion by our guides to the ranger. We left at 9am for the summit and reached 2.5 hours later.
Truly magnificent and awesome!! The view was impressive and there was a huge sense of achievement! We hanged around for about 20 minutes before heading down to Laban Rata, which took us 2 hours. Enjoy the photos and hope they makes you wanting to visit her!
Things to note about Mount KK:
1) Waterproof bag, top layer and shoes, as well as well insulated clothing are very important (temperature is very erratic in Mount KK. Both times I were there, it was filled with both rain and blazing sunrays)
2) A hat (I guess this is very key because I am nursing my facial sunburns while typing this!)
3) A torch is needed for the dark times.
4) Basic medication like aspirins etc (1/2 of the group felt the need for aspirins!)
5) Bring a decent camera, don’t have to be a full frame camera! (I brought my Nikon DF there, which added much weight to the trip!)
6) Bath wipes are very useful in Mount KK because the Laban Rata resthouse don’t have heating facitilies (No hot water or heated room!) so its easier to have a dry bath for an overnight stay in Mount KK.
7) Thermo flash is a plus but not a must (hot drinks are a luxury in Laban Rata)
8) Having an extra hike bag helps since you can leave your excess item at Laban Rata’s hotel room before ascending to Low’s Peak.
9) To summarize points 1 to 8, waterproofing and weight are primary packing criteria for Mount KK.
10) Lastly, training is very important. I run about 8km + climb 3X16 storeys of flats weekly and I was still at the mercy of Mount KK. Train well!
Camera gear: Nikon DF + 28mm F.8 CRC AIS + Zenitar Fisheye 16mm F2.8.
Tour guide: Jackz’s team from kinabalutourguide.com. Dedicated tour guides and reasonable price for the hike. The team was also very obliging to all our requests! Lastly, the food provided on Laban Rata was surprisingly very good!
Off to Sabah!
A refreshed group photo where everyone are full of energy! =D
The famous Proboscis monkey that have most of their male portraits with a hard-on. Took this in Lavender Lodge.
Our bunk for the short night before meeting our guide.
Entrance of Mount KK after a 2 hours bus ride.
Breakfast group photo (still looking strong haha)
Hikers combine! Hike hike hike!
Awesome distortion from the fisheye!
Our uber fit guide.
Where we are…
Where we need to reach tonight
Our final goal!
Francis marking off his start point.
The team of 7, including our Vietnamese friends
Can still smile. XD
Large ferns along the way that are beautiful not to capture.
Portrait along the way.
One of the simple and many steps.
My rain protection gear! Including the cold storage bag that prevents water from sipping into the shoes. The guy behind me must be thinking I am siao.
Portrait for my Vietnamese friends
Portrait for the two smarty pants
Portrait for my crazy ex-colleagues
Focus at the top, focus at Low’s peak.
Porter’s at work. They carry huge loads, walked at regular pace and treks up faster than us!
Another portrait of myself while I trek on (still looking energetic)
Part of the team climbing hard!
Lots of mist in the mountain.
Largest earthworm I’ve ever seen! Guide said that its predator is a leech that can swallow it up!
Electricity cables along the way to power the Laban Rata resthouse (it tends to have power cut intermittently at the top)
Natural Ice Water refill point.
Nature holding it together.
Francis going strong!
Farid still looking hip and good!
Me still happy looking.
Our Hanoi partners also looking fit and strong (they actually are very fit!)
Squirrels that are bold and curious, coming close to the mountain visitors.
A very wet day that made us quite wet.
Go Francis and Svet!!! Go Go Go!
I am looking happily drenched!
The tree that fell over but still holding on.
My turn to try if it’s still strong
My method from preventing rain from entering the top of my shoes: Plastic bags!
Bonsai looking trees
Misty misty at the resthouse zone due to the cold and rain
Buffet styled dinner served at the Laban Rata resthouse.
Another group photos of the ever-going-strong team!
Laban Rata at 2amm shot at 12800 ISO. PHEW!
My modified means of preventing rain into shoes: like a space man! Got much attention though!
Morning shot at Laban Rata
Morning view of Laban Rata (around 8am)
Crazy hikers gather for some crazy images.
Fisheye that made Francis “Taller in picture”
Started the hike off at 9am towards the summit once ranger opened the gate!
Time for some “Rock Climbing”
Use the rope, don’t act smart! It’s pretty steep!
Rocks after rocks after rocks…
Farid looking handsome in most photos I say.
Me trying hard to look good in photos. Duh.
7km mark. just 1,7km more!
Sayat Sayat hut in sight!
Still trying hard to catch up with Farid. Phew.
8km mark: 700 metres more! Come on Bert!
Finally met the guys at Low’s Peak!
My turn to get into the frame!
My personal shot! XD
The gorilla face viewed from Low’s Peak
My 2nd encounter with this sign. Yeah.
Farid and the gorilla
Danger, do not go beyond
Old map of this mountain. Weathered.
Farid looking afar
Fisheye fun moments with Farid
Fisheye fun moments with Farid: while the timer is still active
Fisheye fun moments with Farid: Looking up, looking good.
On the way down now!
Flowers, Stones and a blue sky
Final group photo at Lavender Lodge before we all prepared to go home with aching legs.
Before I end off this post, I must share some simple food! We got this Sri Kulai branded food box off a 24hrs convenience stall for 6.90 ringgit and it taste very good for a meal that comes off the microwave in 4 minutes! Must try! XD