We have been in Kota Kinabalu for the last week waiting to climb Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Borneo at 4.095m. On the morning of Wednesday 13th April we arrived at the park headquarters, met our guide Lanting and were ready to tackle the mountain.
We had a 6km hike up to the resthouse at 3000m. The walk was fairly easy going but as we entered the clouds after a couple of hours the breathing became a little harder as the air began to thin out. The last kilometre was especially tough as we had to scramble up rough boulders. The landscape on the way was very interesting and changed dramatically as we got higher. We arrived at the resthouse after four hours and had a quick nap before having dinner at 5pm. We got an early night as we were expected to get up at 2am to hike to the peak in time for sunrise.
We didn't get a lot of sleep as people were making noise all night! Despite this we felt good anyway as we had a light breakfast and some tea. Our guide collected us at 3am and we joined the long line of people following the trail up the mountain. The first half was a simple walk up several sets of steps, then we reached the rope section and had to pull ourselves up 70 degree slopes. The terrain suddenly flattened out and we trekked across gently sloping granite in the pitch black, breathing very heavily now and taking it slow and steady. At 5am we reached the final scramble up to the peak and waited for the sun to rise. It was pretty chilly up at the top, as we were only wearing t-shirts and hoodies, so we did some jumping jacks to keep warm. As the sun rose the views were incredible, we were looking out over a sea of cloud one way and looking down at the city of Kota Kinabalu and the South China Sea the other. Now in daylight we could see where we had walked and it was a huge granite plateau surrounded by the many peaks.
We got back to the resthouse and grabbed a big breakfast before the gruelling trek back down. With 3km to go our thighs were burning from walking down hill for over two hours. We finally arrived at the park headquarters but our legs felt like jelly and we could barely walk anymore.
We have spent the last two days recovering with our feet up and our legs are still sore! We are so glad we got to summit though and it is something we will never forget. We are heading back to mainland Malaysia for a few days before we fly to New Zealand for the final chapter of our trip.
Love Dale and Liz xxx