Saturday, April 2, 2011

Conquering Mount Kinabalu, KK 2011

    Climbing our highest mountain had been a dream since small but never thought about realizing it. Last year my dear friend in Kelantan contacted me and the rest of my gang to propose a trip to conquer the highest mountain in Malaysia, Mount Kinabalu in KK. On 4/3/11, seven of us (Bent, Sze In, Kim Fung, Kim Huang, Chin Hong, Luo Yang and me) boarded the plane to KK with one goal in mind: conquer Mount Kinabalu!

Being unfit me, climbing up had been a physical exhausting and mental torturing experience. I am practically out of breath after every 20 steps of climbing, both my thighs crammed causing me to stop so many time and I nearly gave up the climb when we reach the junction where Timpohon Gate climbers meets.My mistake was I did not really exercise my body well ahead (both my thigh crammed N numbers of time, tears nearly rolled out of my eyes due to the pain), carrying my back pack weighing 8kg consisting of my clothes, survival kits and photographic gears! (gave up carrying my bag and hired our guide to carry my bag after 4 kilometers), we took the longer trail from Mersilau Gate where it is further by 2 kilometers compared with Timpohon Gate.

From my friends encouragement and support, I strengthen my resolve and climb up to Laban Rata Base Camp (8.5km from Mersilau Gate, 3000m above sea water level). I nearly cried when reach Laban Rata because I cannot imagine me able to reach there with my situation. We had our dinner and retreated to our room to rest very early due to we will start climbing to the summit at 2.30am the next day. Knowing what will happen during tomorrow's climb, I removed all unnecessary items from my back pack and bought anti-cramp ointment from the base camp's store (at 3x the normal price compared to normal stores below the mountain) and rub my thighs hoping it will be eased.

The climb to the summit was not so bad. My thighs did not cramp once as I keep rubbing the ointment whenever we stop. Chin Hong and me reach the summit at 4008m above sea level. This is the minimum for one to earn their certificate of recognition for climbing Mont Kinabalu. We know our body is at the limit and the further we climb up means the further we have to climb down later. In addition we will descend to Timpohon Gate the same day later. Bent, Sze In, Kim Fong, Kim Huang and Luo Yang managed to reach the optional Low's Peak 4095.2m above sea level. I am proud of you guys! ;-)

This trip is really a satisfying one. We had so much fun together and able to reach the peak of the highest mountain in Malaysia. By the way the highest mountain in South East Asia is not Mount Kinabalu. It is Mount Hkakabo Razi 5,881m height in Kachin, Myanmar. Don't be surprised cause what we read in our text book is wrong ;-)

Ling San Pagoda at Tuaran, KK, Sabah with Journey to the West figures (Sha Zhang, Chu Pak Kai and Yu Long, Monkey King and Monk Tang can't fit to the frame)
D90 12-24mm f/4 lens @ 18mm, 1/320sec, f/8, ISO 200

Ling San Pagoda at Tuaran, KK, Sabah
D90 35mm f/2 lens @ 1/100sec, f/8, ISO200

Road to Mersilau Gate rest area
D90 35mm f/2 lens @ 1/100sec, f/8, ISO200

Two pretty ladies preparing mentally for the great challenge tomorrow
D90 50mm f/1.8 lens @ 1/2000sec, f/4, ISO400

Up close of moss growing on boulders at Mersilau Gate
D90 5-mm f/1.8 lens @ 1/2500sec, f/2.8, ISO400

Lovely couple, Bent Tan and Sze In at a water fall from Mersilau Gate trail
D90 35mm f/2 lens @ 1/30sec, f/2.8, ISO200

Almost there. Ugly Sister peak visible
D90 35mm f/2 lens @ 1/500sec, f/5.6, ISO400

Laban Rata Base Camp at 3000m above sea level
D90 35mm f/2 lens @ 1/1000sec, f/5.6, ISO200

Ugly Sister, King Edward and Tunku Abdul Rahman peaks of Mt. Kinabalu
D90 35mm f/2 lens @ 1/2500sec, f/5.6, ISO400

Starry starry night @ Laban Rata Base Camp
D90 12-24mm f/4 lens @ 12mm, 30sec, f/4, ISO800

South Peak, Mt. Kinabalu
D90 35mm f/2 lens @ 1/200sec, f/4, ISO400

St. John's Peak, Mt. Kinabalu
D90 35mm f/2 lens @ 1/200sec, f/4, ISO400

Ugly Sister Peak, Mt. Kinabalu
D90 35mm f/2 lens @ 1/200sec, f/4, ISO200

Yes! I did it!
D90 35mm f/2 lens @ 1/800sec, f/4, ISO200

There are more pictures of our trip in my facebook account. Click this link if you are interested >>> Mt. Kinabalu, KK 2011 Album


  1. the night view is really pretty, crystal clear sky, make me want to get my telescope.
    and, have to salute u for bringing slr go to mount kk, it's a night mare once ur bag is over 3kg.

  2. yeah! i guess so high up the sky is free from those toxic fumes. dslr with small lens is ok. only the heavy bag is nightmare T_T I had my tripod and 2 more lenses in my bag that time. In times like this, a 18-55mm kit lens is a win :D