What goes up must come down.

What goes up must come down...

one look at the skies and you can immediately taste a tinge of peace and lurking adventures lurking in the midst. With God granted blue skies, a sense of purpose quickly crawls into place. We are to scale the mountain. All 4,095m of it.. (psss.. perhaps there was a little cheating involved since the start off point was already at a certain altitude)

mountain


Many had congregated that day to join the throngs in clambering up the stiff slopes of Mt. K. I reckon that the mountain does pose a certain degree of 'easy-to-conquer' attitude with its 2 days 1 night itiniery to scale S.E Asia's highest peak. Think cheap thrill?.. thrill yes.. fast yes... cheap? NO!!..*recalling the hefty price tag involved in the bargain* Yet unlike its many cousins in the region, exampl Gunung Tahan, This mountain was just up all the way, no undulating terrains, no swamps or rivers to cross, Just an endless flight of weaving steps to conquer. Well, then again, you might think its easy. But i guarantee you not... with every step up, a whole new challenge is posed. Altitude performance and the ability to maneuver with ease, and manage activity at heights which make breathing easy a little harder than usual.


Recalling the painful steps i took up the sloped rock top near the end of the journey 2 years ago, i shudder.. and pray that the experience would be just a little more forgiving on my body.

kor


My brother on the hand, embraced the challenge with open arms. Keeping a deaf ear to the many horrific tales that my parents passed on to him. Stories about the impassiveness of the body at high altitude, the cold winds as the temperature dipped down low whilst waiting for the sun to rise. 'BAH!!! I think it would be easier than all of you say.', he proclaims. I want to believe in him.. but somehow, I know that deep down inside.. I was scared.


Kota Kinabalu' 08-14


And not long after, the journey begins.. from the lush forest to the sparser vegetation and bonsai trees shrouded in a cloud of mist near the top. Each step was misery for me. Perhaps its just one of those days, combined with my severly under-trained physique. I was quickly turning into a mess as I trudged up the slopes. It wasn't before long that my brother joined me in my trip down agony lane, muttering evil curses underneath our rapid trembling breaths.


We reached laban rata in a record slow time of 4 1/2 hours. (slower than 2 years ago of course) but I gave a quick prayer of thanks to the Lord for carrying me up. My thighs were perpertually useless with a searing pain on my right leg eased only by thr rubbing of some of Bonny's miracle cream ( he's our mountain guide) . We were to spend the night here, fill our stomachs and then set off to conqeur the peak at 2am the next morning. Reach the summit just in time for sunrise.

laban rata


Needless to say, coffee was the first thing on my mind. Something to make the endorphins rush.. comfort in a cup.


coffee


Soon after our buffet dinner provided at the lodge, we took a shower in the shelter (my brother selfishly indulged in the comforts of hot water for at least a quarter of an hour whilst I had the bear the brunt of the damage done, taking mine in ice cold water) and headed up to our slping quarters some 200m above the main shelter. With no heating system, I was thankful for the company of 2 others in the room, a young Japanese Couple, a doctor and a nurse residing in the double decker beds next to ours.

sunset


After watching the most amazing sunset and snuggling underneath the covers... we both drifted off to sleep. NEH.. more like he drifted off to slp whilst i stayed wide awake staring at the ceiling above me. Paracetemols just makes me so darn awake. In the entire 8 hours of rest time, I only managed to catch 2 hours of sleep. DARn it...


soon, the alarm in the neighbouring bed woke us up. 2 am.. time to set off. Thankfully we were one of the first teams to leave the quarters with the other teams trailing far behind. Memories of the trailing lights ahead became parts of a fleeting past. Instead, darkness and the unknown lay before our paths as we trudged up the mountain. One step at a time, with only the whistling winds, throbbing beats of your heart and your slow steady breaths in tow. 40 steps was all it took to reach a stage of fatigue. With every ounce of muscle screaming for more air in such a oxygen deprieved environment. Even the normally functional muscle groups seem to be wailing in agony with each step.


Thank God for my Kor who was always one step ahead of me in our journey up the slopes. If it weren't for him and his presence that served as encouragement to me. I probably wouldn't have made it up the mountain so fast. We reached Low's Peak at 5 10am in the morning. 50 mins ahead of the approximated sunrise. Now it is a whole different ball game, with only 2 layers of clothing and temperatures as low as 3 degrees complete with cold winds, It was a battle to stay warm till the sun rose.

Huddling up behind the rocks in a futile effort to stay out of the passing winds, we shivered and grunted till we saw beams of orange lightning emerging from the clouds ahead. Could that be sunrise?!


and yes it was!!! WE MADE IT!!!

topshot


I couldn't have been happier... a feeling of joy and overwhelming peace took over. The once dark surroundings were now illuminated by the sun rays that gently painted the sculpted lands. I watched as my brother looked in awe at the giant rock that he had been climbing on for the last 2 hours. Everything made sense..


Kota Kinabalu' 08-92



By this time, my fingers, only protected by the yarn gloves that i had carried along to prevent rope burns were now numb and incredibly painful from the extreme cold. Taking photos or even handling the camera was not one of my first priorities at the moment. Kudos to the few whom i saw whipping out their dslr to capture the moment. For me, I was just glad to have made it all the way so far. Despite the many situations encountered along the way... Sucess was sweet.

summit


Despite the intial thrill, I began to feel the effects of lack of sleep and the strain from the climb on my body. Think it was a little altitude sickness as well as I started to have light-headedness and nausea. Then i was a race down the mountain in order to get to lower heights... Pity though as I would have liked to stick around longer... Thanks to the Japanese couple for the medication!


Kota Kinabalu' 08-93


Going down wasn't easy definitely... with the effects of the painkillers that my brother popped the day before wearing out. The brunt of his previous day's jumps and prancing up the steps came crashing down on him. And soon, he was reduced to a limping old man walking at speeds of 2km/hr down the slopes. haha. SEE i told you! But still, as he tells me, something's gotta give... I'm just glad that I got to share his first mountain climbing experience with him...


Thanks Kor for being there...

walking down


11 comments:

Weili said...

Ginseng !

First of all, i want to congratulate you on conquering the mountain ! WOOO i think that wasnt easy !

Secondly ! the view is magnificent ! VERY BEAUTIFUL !! Especially the SUNRISE ! WAAAAHHH and all the clouds and misty misty surroundings..i cannot imagine the feeling to be up there ! just by looking at the pictures..i'm awe struck...wonderful wonderful view of everything...

And lastly...*pats your shoulder* good job ! =)

evan 이벤젤린 said...

yea congrats on conquering the mountain. i didn't know mt. kinabalu looks so magnificent! you're truly truly adventurous *looks at you admiringly* lol

meet up soon for dessert ya? =)

Fen said...

Wow, congratulations for conquering the mountain and looks like you are rewarded nicely with magnificent views...

I am enjoying your photos... Simply breathtaking...

Yea, must meet for desserts, keke...

fei.pang said...

I wanna climb mount K too!!! I miss the mountains...

SiHaN said...

Weili: yeh.. it wasn't easy alright. But the view... awww.. made everything all worth while. Still one of the most spectacular moments in my life.

Evan: thanks dear! yeh. meet up for desserts soon!

Fen: the photos are really awesome aren't they? haha. Anyway.. i do hope we really reach a common consensus as where to visit next! haha.

fei.pang: you really miss the mountains? I was just talking to Jon ytd.. and he's like grown out of it already. haha. I wanna climb mt Kilimanjaro!!!

fei.pang said...

Yeah I really miss the mountains! Though I'm physically not well prepared. Haha!

I guess I didn't tell you, one of my goals before reaching 30 is to climb Kilimanjaro! (before the ice all melts away...)

ladyironchef said...

the scenery looks awesome. but it take a lot effort to climb up for their view. So i say you earn that! haha. your bro and you went up only? where's the rest of the family? haha

Vicki said...

Wow, that is some mean feat! I love the photos! I hope to experience it someday.. The only thing I've climbed is the GREAT WALL OF CHINA. Haha.

Anonymous said...

"The brunt of his previous day's jumps and prancing up the steps came crashing down on him."
HAHA! I can so imagine your kor "jump and prance"... Congrats babe, u conquered KK... =p

-Cheryl-

Flourchild said...

Wow what breath taking beauty for my eyes to behold. I love the scenery and Im so proud of you for making that long hik to the top!

SiHaN said...

Fei.pang: oh wow reallie? i reallie wish to scale that as well someday. hehe. Hope our dreams become reality!!! train up sze fei! haah.

LIC: oh boy.. the rest cldn't come up coz it got to pricey to scale the mountain, permits, lodging and everything included. so it was just me and my brother. haha.good bonding session too!

Vicki: you will someday my dear. hehe. hey the great wall is pretty spectacular as well!

Cheryl: yeh.. so typical of my brother. haha. too bad he got injured in the end. haha. Thanks anyway babe! haha.

Flourchild: Definitely a keeper in my memory books. Beautiful isn't it.. *sighs*. Thanks Michelle!