Saturday, 17 August 2013

Mount Kinabalu Climb via Mesilau

This is a long overdue post which i owe to my #KlimbingKambing team mates.

This climb was my second climb to Malaysia's highest mountain (4,095.2 meter) and this time it was via the longer Mesilau route. Initially, I wanted to just do a day trip trekking up the Mesilau route and coming down on the Timpohon route. Why? Reason being was I had a minor altitude sickness during my first climb. Headache, lost of appetite and gagged a few times along the way. But I did managed to reached the peak back then but it was very slow.

After some time, I decided to try again to go all the way up with these bunch of good friends.

L-R: Zaki, Fairuz, @rasyidi_a

Don't be fooled by their skinny/chubby appearance. They have "2 lungs". Unlimited stamina. My fitness was nowhere near theirs.

As we arrived in Kota Kinabalu International Airport, we had to wait a couple of hours. No thanks to the agent we engaged earlier and i had to pulled some strings and things started to get better after that.

But weather was not on our side en route to Kundasang.

Misty and slippery road ahead

We arrived Kundasang very late in the afternoon and all we could was just settled in and rested for a while. Dinner was just a few hours away.

Our accommodation at Kundasang

Reception area

3 of  us rested and enjoyed the cool weather but...

but Rasyidi could not stand the cold
The next morning, we prep ourselves and re-packed the stuff we need the most and left the remaining luggage at the lodge. So, we only carried 1 set of clothes to change at Laban Rata. If you are wondering if we will take any shower up there, the answer is no. We got ourselves a non-heated dorm and the toilet was outdoor with running water from the mountain.

2 different scene: L: relax  R: Unsure what to bring

Zaki: Maggi is important to me. Not my water tumbler.

From Kundasang to Mesilau start point is about 30 mins drive and was only allowed to enter at 0830hrs. No one was allowed to enter before that even if you arrived earlier. Being us, we delayed here and there, toilet breaks, laughed... we ended up starting at 0930hrs. One of the last few groups to enter the trail.

Mesilau reception area

Team #KlimbingKambing

Get ready, set, go...

With our guide. Only with his sandals all the way up.

The different tracks on Mesilau route
We didn't stop to rest for the first few rest areas

The first 2km was easy but after that, never ending stairs awaits me. THIS is my mental block, my kryptonite.

I hate stairs...

Within a couple of hours, we catch up with my wife and Suriani who did a day trekking trip up the Mesilau route and down on the Timpohon route (which i wanted to do initially).

L-R: @rasyidi_a, @_SabMdS, Zaki, Fairuz, @surianisahrani and myself
And guess what, after this rest/lunch, it rained. and it gets cold when it rains.

There's always a time for group selfie!

An hour passed by and my worst fear struck me. The headache started to 'tickle' my head. The more i trek up, it gets worse. So, i had to slow down my pace and breathe deeper to get more oxygen. I also had to be extra careful of any AMS symptoms. If there were any, i have no choice but to descend down. Gulp down gallons of water and multiple rest along the way. From this point also, i did not take any photo until Laban Rata.

Finally, i managed to reached Laban Rata in 5hrs from the starting point but the headache still lingered until bed time. Changed to the second set of clothes and slept in it.

Can't take selfie with horrible face. So, the shoe became an object
The guide was with me all the way to Laban Rata. We chatted casually about being a guide and about the mountains hoping that by ignoring the headache, it would go away. I forget his name but he was an excellent guide and also an avid photographer.

Dorm at Laban Rata

How do i know he is good with camera? The pictures after this was taken by him and you be the judge if he is good of not.

I decided that if the headache is still there when i wake up at 0200hrs to climb up to the summit, i would lent him the camera and let him be the cameraman for my friends. And i would continue to rest until i recover from the headache.

True enough, 0200hrs came and not a slight of improvement in my head. It kept pounding like a piling machine. So i continued to rest while my 3 other friends went up. It was a good 4hrs of sleep after that and when i woke up, it was much better. I guess when i sleep after that, i acclimatized and got the oxygen i needed.

You must be wondering why i did not push ahead to climb up, right? Well, i did not want to gamble on my life. Please read on Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS) and you will know why i did not pursue to go up.

The next few photos were taken by the guide.

Camera was Olympus Tough loaned by @xavieremir . Thanks Dian!

Rock with facial expression

Very nice shadow of the mountain
#KlimbingKambing did it! Without me lah...

Proud moment

I wished i was in this photo...

Donkey's Ear Peak

Does their expression similar to the rock ?

While the rest of them descended from the summit, i started to descend on my own from Laban Rata. The headache was gone after i descended few hundred meters and was enjoying my time descending down.

And this signboard below never fail to impress me.

And if you think that i have never reach the summit, here's a photo from my previous climb with an old sign before they changed to the new ones.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post!


  1. Replies
    1. The camera played an important role too. Thanks to Dian!

  2. Obviously expression aku plg sama dgn beruk tu...haha

    1. aku ingat kan orang tapi beruk ke tu? haha!

  3. I think i left my Maggi Cup on the hot water from Laban Rata, to makan up there..hehe