Sunday, December 31, 2017

Seren Hughes: Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu

It was an early start. Up at 5:20 for the transfer to the base of the mountain to start the ascent.

I was joined by a guide and two Australian girls (who were a lot of fun and the best hiking companions).

We climbed innumerable steps up and up and up the mountain in a perpetual fog.

A light rain that was essentially just droplets of moisture kept us cool. Barred from the view of what was below and beyond us, our vision was confined to our direct surroundings, which changed gradually every few kilometres.

First, luscious green rainforest, then more sparse bush-like vegetation with fewer leaves but with pretty pink flowers on the trees, and finally alpine territory before the craggy rocks of the summit.

As we climbed, porters rushed past us, their breathing heavy as they lugged various food or construction items up to the rest huts before the summit.

Their fitness was impressive, as they were extremely speedy despite carrying such heavy loads.

They bore the weight on their back with straps around their shoulders and across their forehead. An interesting, but evidently efficient method.

After an evening in the rest hut, we woke at 2am for the summit. Our aim was to reach the peak and experience the sunrise from there.

We set off wrapped in many layers, as the temperature had dropped from the altitude and the early hour. Our head torches lit the way.

For the first time we had clear skies and could see both the brilliant stars and galaxies above us and the lights of the various villages of Sabah sprawling below us. The clarity was stunning.

Around half way, temperatures were dropping further and rain had started to fall. At first it was light and unnoticeable.

We had reached the sheer rock of the final stretches, and pulled ourselves up the rock with a rope.

It was tough going on the the upper body, but we were making steady progress and were on target to reach the summit early enough to have a break before sunrise.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Seren Hughes: Mount Kinabalu