We were up at the crack of dawn an driven the 2 hours to the base of the mountain to meet our guide and get our mountain passes. What ensued was essentially a 3-5 hours climb up uneven rocky stairs, not for the faint hearted but perfectly manageable with determination. With Emily feeling a little ill and Martin feeling particularly and uncharacteristically fit, he surged ahead to set a good time. Almost 2/3 rds of the way up we stopped for the night in some basic dorm accommodation and enjoyed a buffet feast before and early bed. Ready to leave by 3am the next morning Martin was raring to go but Emily unfortunately was feeling a lot worse and had no choice but to abandon the summit attempt. Leaving a little later than planned Martin and guide surged ahead out of the jungle and onto the arid bare rock formations, the temperature began to plummet to minus 2 as they raced passed all the other climbers one by one to be the first to the summit and to grab the first picture of the day, slowly but surely the others began to arrive and soon the mountain peak was like a 99 covered in sprinkles. We all waited shivering in anticipation of the rising sun whilst gazing at the tremendous sight of the milky way. What happen next on such an amazing clear morning was the most beautiful sunrise Martin had ever seen and he'd seen more than one to two on these travels! Suitably satisfied they headed back down the mountain hopping like goats to meet Emily for a quick breakfast and then continue the rest of the way down the mountain. First to the top and first to the bottom we collected our certificates and enjoyed the feeling that comes only from the end of a physically exhausting but inspiring challenge.
We decided to stay in the area for a couple a days and found a ski cabin type lodge in the jungle of the mountains, from here we made a visit to the war memorial dedicated to the 2345 British and Australian men who marched to their death during WWII at the hands of the sadistic Japanese occupiers on the Sandakan march. Always an emotional experience to visit such places. The rest of the time we relaxed and rested our bruised and battered legs whilst enjoying the stunning scenery. All over we headed back to KK one more time, Martin finally bought a new phone and we had a steak and red wine feast at the harbour before preparing ourselves for a flight to Manilla the following morning. Borneo has to be one of the great natural ecosystem in the world, endless unique and amazing flora and fauna that made our stay one of the most magical destinations to date, a dream come true.