Thursday, July 20, 2006

Reaching Mt. Kinabalu's Summit

i continue to get inquiries from friends who are interested to climb Kota Kinabalu... so i'm posting this stuff for them... i guess some of you received this email from me before, uhmn, here it is again...

July 20, 2006: some of you may already know that i've been preparing to climb the highest peak of Southeast Asia - Mt. Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. and yes i did it! i conquered the summit of Mt. Kinabalu, all that 4,094m!
the climb was amazing!

climbed with a group of 15 composed of officemates (at TK) and friends of TK people. nature was favourable to us on July 14, 2006. we had the perfect weather - clear skies, no fog, no rain! we were among the lucky summiteers to have experienced a climb without getting wet on a rainy month in Kota Kinabalu! the climb was tough for my short legs (mind you, it's the 4th day after my climb, and i am still limping). the first part of the climb was a gruelling 7.5 hours (seasoned climbers would do it for 5 hours) of steep climbing from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata. Laban Rata is 6 kilometers from Timpohon Gate and is one of the accommodations up in the mountain and the stopover before reaching the summit. i reached Laban Rata at 7:00 pm, woke up at 2am the next day to continue the climb to the summit in time for the sunrise. the final assault was another 2.75 kilometers of rock climbing, rappelling, dealing with the cold, etc. in the end, yes i made it! breath taking view. the mountains below looked so low from where i was standing. while i was sitting on the 1m x 1m concrete slab up in the summit, i began thinking, hmmmn... Himalayas should be next, Mt. Everest? hehe

here are a few tips:

pre - climb: you definitely have to do at least a month of serious running or any physical activity that will develop your endurance and stamina. my routine included a daily trip to hundred islands where i went up and down Governor's summit for 1 straight week (i know this sounds funny, but it did help me a lot!). while the island's summit is nothing compared to Kota Kinabalu, the exercise of going up and down a mountain was a good preparation.

acclimatize yourself. the weekend before i went to Kinabalu, i went home to Baguio and did a few walks up and down SM City (again, another funny pre-climb strategy no?!). the weather up in Baguio was a good way to prepare you for the cold weather at Kinabalu. well this was the cheapest acclimatization i could think of. alangan namang mag-UK pa ako di ba?

the climb:

wear shoes (i was wearing my running shoes/trainers) that are comfortable (duh! as if you need me to tell you this!)

travel light! you don't need to bring clothes for changing since you won't even bother thinking of getting a shower because it's freezing up there! if you're budget is ok, the lodging places at Laban Rata offer affordable and hot food! so no need to pack food except for energy bars. when i was up there, i just felt that i needed to treat myself and didn't bother paying extra ringgits for hot and good food! drinking water springs are also provided in all the stops on the hike up so don't bring a gallon of water, just fetch from the stops! it's less weight.
bring a raincoat. buy those cheap raincoats (about Php40.00 at Ace Hardware) to avoid those extra weight. a raincoat is a must!
post climb: here's what i did after my climb, went with some of my fellow climbers to the Poring Hot Springs where we soaked our tired bodies in the hot tubs. man, that was great! it soothed a lot of aching joints and muscles.

anyway, goodluck to ya climbers!!!