Firstly let us start by saying “WE DID IT!!!”
The highest mountain in all of South East Asia and the 20th highest in the world officially conquered! For not exactly two of the fittest people going around, we definitely felt proud of our achievement completing a total of 17.4km, 15.5 hours of climbing with only 4 hours of sleep over two days.
We knew we were in for a challenge when we signed up for this tour but nothing could have prepared us for how testing this climb was not only physically but even more so mentally.
The video below is quite funny to watch in retrospect as it depicts how excited we all were to kick off the climb and how cracking a smile for a photo by the end took every ounce of last energy we had.
We kicked off our tour in Kota Kinabalu with 12 other amazing people with G Adventures. We couldn’t have asked for a more fantastic group to share this trip with and a climb of this scale certainly bonded us together as one big family.
Before starting the climb we were given the option of whether we wanted to pay for a porter to carry our luggage. Whilst Fred and I disagreed on the necessity of this additional cost (and Fred told me it would be cheating the climb), in the end it turned out to be the best $40 spent on our trip so far.
We really couldn’t have done it without Hasan our porter, he was our hero. A small older man (who put us to shame!) who carried our 10kg pack up and down the whole way with a smile.
Our trail started at Timpohon Gate kicking off the first 6km leg of the climb to reach Laban Rata which was our overnight rest house. There are periodic shelter stops about a kilometer apart all the way up the mountain until this point.
The first 4km of climbing to Laban Rata was a moderate steep trail equipped with stairs and some rocky paths. The last 2km however was where the real challenge started as it was entirely rocky, steep and altitude started to have an effect on our bodies and breathing.
Pushing through we reached our rest house by around 4pm, breaking G Adventures record for their first and largest entire group to complete the 6km leg together without splitting apart (or so we were told!)
An early dinner to refuel was served at 5pm along with some self medicated pain killers for dessert. Following dinner we had a safety briefing for the summit climb in our dorm, showers and then bed before an early rise to climb to the peak. The dorms were quite noisy and most of us managed only a few hours of sleep before our 1:30am wake up call.
A light supper was served at 2am for those that could stomach food at that time of the morning before we were on our way at 2:3oam in the pitch black of the night led by the light of our head torches only.
From Laban Rata, the climb to the summit is 2.7 km, and most of it is over smooth rock faces except for the initial 700 metres which is aided by steep steps. The last 2km of the route is marked by ropes all the way to the summit and several stretches are so steep that we were required to use the ropes to pull ourselves up.
Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Sarah and Fred's Adventure: Conquering Mt Kinabalu