Borneo Adventures Day 3 - To the Summit!

The story continues 11000 feet above sea level. At that height, surprises are rarely a good thing, because if things do go wrong..there`s very little help you can seek. The first surprise was there`s no hot water in that hut. We have to boil them ourselves. Then, we found out that none of our cloths and equipment will dry, because the only dryer has broken down and the humidity will make you cloths wet even if you put it under the light. The rain continue despite it pouring for more than 10 hours already. Worst, our room is leaking.

Then came the bad news, my guide advice that we should not go up since it`s raining.

This is something you wouldn`t want to hear, after spending hours limping your way up here, and to not make the last 1oo0 meter to the top. But everyone else in the hut was very eager to go. It was then I saw another group of people who look strangely familiar. To my surprise, I met Jan Sen, my uni classmate together with the cf group of people.

It`s bizarre, not seeing most of them for 1 semester (because I skip the entire sem) but finding them all the way up here. I am really thankful to have met them there, because Tank was not feeling well and couldn`t go on. I would have given up had I not met this group who insist to go on despite the bad weather.

There`s no pictures on the way up as we started our jounery in pitch black. It was 3am in the morning. Sleepy, drowsee, and suffering severe headache for being drench in the rain the entire day, the final climb was far worse that before. Not to mention, the climb was even steeper and dangerous. One slip and you can really fall to your death. At least that was the constant reminder by our guide.

Step by step, everyone felt like giving up. We constantly trick ourselves into thinking that it`s only a few meters away for motivation. It felt like an endless march, with our guide telling us to go faster. Don`t rest for too long. And without us realizing, we can already see the peak. We the last of our energy to make our way up there.

We arrive at the top too early. 5.15am and it`s 1 hour to go before the sun rises. It was very disappointing. The surrouding is still dark. There was nothing to greet us except for the sign that tell us we`re on the highest point in South East Asia. The temperature dropped to 3 degree. The wind was strong. We are all dead tired. The only feeling everyone was having was 'we`re up here. Been there, done that.. let`s go down" . None of us could wait till sun rise as sitting down for 5 minutes is enough to make you fall asleep and not wake up.

We left the place, and was looking forward to a nice rest after the climb. But a few hundreds meters into our hike back down, we are greeted with the most magnificent view that we have ever seen.

As if our rants were heard, the sun slow rises in plain sight.

The rays radiates joy, and happiness. It was only till now, we truly appreciated that we had completed a milestone of our life. We have hike the tallest mountain in SEA. And all this beauty is the reward for making the climb.

At the peak, no one was very eager to take pictures. Now, we snap pictures with every few steps.

Donia, my guide who have already climb more than 1000 time since she started working here 10 years ago.

We slowly make our way downhill. Savouring the nature as we inch our way down. As it was dark on the way up, we didn`t really know that we traveled so much, and the route was actually as dangerouos as they say.

Perhaps it was smart of them to make us climb at night. People with fear of height would probably have given up if they look down with nothing to break their fall for the next 1000 metres.

So, it was quite a relieve to see the trail turn back from plain rocks to paths with some vegetation. The hardest climb is now over and from now it`s an easy walk down.

After having our last rest and meal at the hut, we make our final journey down the mountain. Since the climb down is rather familar (since we hike up here in day light), I decide to test my self to see how fast I can hike down. I raced agaisnt the local porters, who like Donia, hike up and down daily to deliver goods to the resting point. Case in point, a renown marathon that was held in this mountain every year was won by a local who hiked all the way up and down in just a little over 1 hours 30 minutes.

Of course, under normal circumstances, these people will not run like crazy, not while carrying 2 gas tanks on their backs. Having said that, even though I`m only carrying a 5kg back pack, chasing them was extremely difficult. There are practically hopping down rather than hiking. IT WAS FUN. I never had so much fun since primary school, running down a hill behind my school

I overtook hikers who made their way down 2 hours ahead. I was feeling invicible. Until I reach the last kilometre when I was suddenly strike with muscle cramp. Luckly, it was only 1 kilometer away, and I still manage to slowly crawl out of the trail and make it back into the gate. It took me 1 hour and 45 minutes, still considerably fast compared with the average 5 hours it take for others.

Of course, this comes at the cost of me being a cripple for the next few days, but I`ll continue that story some other time.

next ---> a hot spring that is not hot, and an airport without our airplane.


cereal87 11:18 AM  

You came during the wrong time dude... it was rainy season and the there was too much ground water for the thermal to heat it up...

Well, you are not the only 1 who 'enjoyed' the warm hot spring :P

My housemates and I drove up there 3 hours just to discover that our shower is much more warmer than the hot spring water :( bad timing T.T

Alex 4:14 PM  

Haha... was the hot spring really hot :P or it`s just slightly hot at best?

cereal87 7:59 PM  

Steaming hot and you can practically boil anything with it. On a hot day, you can easily smell sulphur on d steam. I guess it's same like other hot spring, only different in location and the content of the water.

lateralus 9:46 AM  

Great shots Keen!


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