*warning, this post is a bit long*
I've thought of lots of ways to start this post and even canvassed the opinion of the rest of the tour group. Their suggestions were mostly a string of offensive swear words with the odd 'breath taking' and 'unreal' thrown in. So maybe you have guessed that I DID IT!!!! Mount Kinabalu has been conquered :)
Words can't really describe what the last few days have been like but the feeling at the top of the summit was worth every painful step, drop of sweat and emotional tear.
So to give you a bit of an idea, we tackled the mountain in 2 stages, leg one was up to Laban Rata our accommodation in the middle if the mountain, it took 6 hours with lots of breaks. Quite tough going but we were feeling really confident when we reached the lodge. Not really much pain apart from headaches due to the altitude. Another girl Tara and I had decided to pay for a porter to carry our bags, my decision was a bit of a panic buy on the day when anticipation were at fever pitch levels! But it was the best decision I could gave made. He was called Benjamin :) a local farmer in his 50s and carried both our bags for us 14kg god knows how he did it.
After a big feed at Laban Rata we went to bed at 6pm and set our alarms for our 2 am wake up call! Yes that's 2 am people...
Our mountain guide Mr Sappinggi who was 62 and had climbed the mountain over 1000 times assured us that we had done the hard part so I went to sleep quietly confident. But and I'm sure you can guess what's coming next. The leg to the summit was the HARDEST thing in the world. It was pitch black and there were huge sections with a rope that you had to use to pull yourself up. Basically proper rock climbing without being clipped on, without a helmet in the dark. We all had some tough moments in this section and had to dig deep. Later we admitted to considering quitting at this point but somehow we all managed to make it to the top in just under 4 hours. Not world record breaking by any stretch but to be honest we didn't give a monkeys. On the lead up to the climb there had been lots of talk of altitude sickness, bad weather and injury stopping the climb so I hadn't really allowed myself to believe that I would actually make it. The feeling at the top was incredible and obviously some happy tears were shed :).
All we had to do now was get down...b*****.
So we followed the slow and steady footsteps of Mr Sapinggi back down to Laban Rata for breakfast, this took 2.30 hours and after a 90 min break we then started the long old trek back down to the base. This took another 5 hours!!! So for the mathematicians amongst you that's 6 hours one day and 11 hours the next day and yes it rained for most of the journey up and down but by some miracle the crucial 2 am summit climb was dry and clear...
By the time we got down we were all walking like the elderly and pretty delirious lots of 'never agains' but I've got a sneaking suspicion once I regain the use of my legs in a few days time I'll be thinking about the next peak to conquer, watch out Ben!!
So now I am at Poring Hot Springs which unfortunately isn't as nice as it sounds. We are in a very basic guest house, (shower over the toilet and astroturf instead of carpet dump) But I'm not too bothered, I am just glad to have stopped climbing up or down steps and i'm savouring some kindle time (its still raining).
Tomorrow we head to the jungle so I'm not sure when I will next be able to post an update but feel free to post comments on the blog (I think you can write messages) or send me an email [email protected]
Oh yes other news is that I have booked a 3 day scuba diving trip in Borneo for when the tour finishes, then I reckon there is a Bali beach with my name on it!
Adios for now.