BUCKET LIST: MOUNT KOTA KINABALU IS NO JOKE

Reconnecting with nature helps slow down my thinking and gets me to reassess myself. Early Friday, I found myself embraced in nature when we initiated our climb to the summit of Mount Kinabalu. The mountain was really “No Joke”. Although I started off the year hyped and ready to get into step training after climbing Mount Ophir, the Gone Cyclin’project and coaching consumed my time, which meant training for KK took the back seat.

 

Time flew by and next thing I am at the bottom of Mount Kota Kinabalu about to embark on a journey into its lush rain forest. After an hour, I started cursing internally that I should have trained on some hdb steps. The path was peaceful and we saw glimpses of waterfalls and endless forests. There were many times when there were huge steps, and Laurel’s sarcasm made the climb very entertaining.
 
My brother was climbing with a broken arm and he challenged the laws of gravity because the mountain seemed to go up and down. Our slow pace with plenty of breaks meant we arrived at base camp at 6pm to gobble up dinner and reconnect with fellow climbers. The next thing I knew, I woke up from an all too short sleep to leave my warm bed and begin the toughest part of the climb.

 

All climbers lined up to begin with steep wet wooden steps that lead towards the granite rocks at around 2.30am. I started having trouble breathing and regretted not packing properly as my cotton pajama pants were already wet. The part that was unbearable, was forgetting to get waterproof gloves, the wind made my fingers freeze.
 
The part that scared me was seeing people walk back to base camp because they were scared. I kept thinking why do I need to do things like this? I don’t know what happened, but my brain seemed to tell my feet to keep walking. The last two kms on the granite rock were super steep and it required me to haul myself on the ropes. My imagination got the better of me and I thought that if I lost control, I would fall into an endless cliff. The supportive words of two older couples, Japanese and Chinese, helped me as they told me that it would be fine and urged me to continue.

 

Freezing, wet and tired, we reached atop Mount Kinabalu at 6am to see the stunning view. The image from the top made it hard to believe that there was nature only a few kms away, all we could see were granites. It was as if we had landed on the moon. Even though I was freezing, I got a great feeling of satisfaction by climbing KK.
 
But the race was only half done. Coming down, the slippery rocks got the better of me and I slipped on my ankle four times! Nevertheless, it was a great adventure and I recommend it to anyone who is in Asia. I was impressed by the amount of older, more fit people who took their health and fitness seriously and made the mountain climb seem effortless.
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