We arrived back from Redang and spent the morning of the following day shopping at the Phillipino market before catching a taxi up to the Kinabalu National Park.
After a cold night (sleeping in our clothes!) staying at Rhina Ria lodge just outside the Kinabalu national park we were up early for a hearty breakfast. We made it to park headquarters and Steve introduced me to our guide. We took the transfer bus to the Timpohon gate saving us a couple of k's walk (I absolutely recommend this!)
Armed with god knows how many calories full of sugary food, minimal overnight stuff, thermal clothes and loads of water, off we trotted.
We started out at 8.20am with the aim of reaching Laban Rata after a 6km walk uphill at 11,000 ft. When I first looked at doing this climb I heard it was a relatively easy climb.... well for a mountain anyway and I was actually quite prepared thanks to Greggers. He summed it up perfectly for me, one giant stairmaster!
Given that I had only used my walking boots once for half an hour and I only been swimming 3 times I week before I left, I was convinced that I was going to be fucked doing this!
So we started off so slow, the first 2.5k was relatively easy and people overtook us pretty soon but I plodded along at the same pace the entire time and was surprised that I actually found it ok.
We were lucky to have really good weather, it seemed to go on for ages and every corner you couldn't believe what you were facing next but it was great. The entire time we were overtaken my Malay's carrying food, water and supplies up to Laban Rata for us. They probably do it in about 2 hours and carry up to 30kg and they only get paid 3 ringgits per kilo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It certainly made me appreciate my dinner!
Steve suffered from the altitude for a while but we happily made it up to Laban Rata in 6 hours (not the fastest but we all know about the hare and the tortoise)
We had booked a dorm room and headed straight for the showers and the bed for a lie down. Our room mates Sylvie and Neil are superfit and had made it up in 4 hours...... shame on us!
After my shower which was amazingly hot given where we were, I broke the ice in our dorm by shaking my deodorant which exploded all over us like some dodgey porn movie...... guess we were high up then.
I was pleased to see a bit of a sunset amoung the clouds before making it into bed by 7.30pm (really liked my bunkbed). There was no chance of any sleep with the cheeky girls in the room next door but we got a few hours in before waking to the sound of pouring rain at 1.30am. It did cross my mind to just turn over and forget about it but there was no way we were going to risk missing out.
Thankfull that we had bought a head torch we joined the procession for the 2.8km walk to the summit. I found this ok as well, it really helped being only 8 degrees but I was really panicking when we started climbing up the ropes in the dark. They seemed so much steeper because it was dark and being scared of heights made me think I was not going to enjoy the way down.
We were up to the summit in 3 hours, on my part greatly assisted by our guide. On day one we were wondering why you needed one and moaning about it being a waste of money, he certainly earned his money in the morning when I was slipping all over the place!
It was amazing, sunrise was incredible and the view......you could see all the way to the coast, the town through the clouds and the landscape of the mountain was something else. If you go to Borneo, you have to do this :-)
The way down was an eye opener since we had done it blind and yes now was starting to understand people who say that going down is the worst!
We had a big breakfast at Laban Rata on the way down and in pain every step made it down to the bottom in an incredibly slow 4 hours. By then it was pouring with rain and the last few km's were soooooooo hard.
Food and a hot bath called....... then we dropped and didn't move again.
Here is a link to the summit trail if anyone wants to do this: