2D/1N MT. KINABALU CLIMB - DAY 1 [Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata]


Our Kota Kinabalu flight was originally scheduled at 325pm but a month prior to our trip, Cebu Pacific moved the time to 11pm.  Whew… that meant arriving at KK at around 2am then immigration and baggage collection of about 30min to 1 hour then travel to hotel of about 10mins.  I simply meant that with that schedule, we only have about 2 hours spare time prior to the climb proper. 

We have no ringgits with us as exchange is usually available at airports but sadly for KK their exchange was up to 10pm only.  We didn’t knew how and where to have one until a Filipino-speaking driver approached us and offered a ride to the hotel.  Hubby asked if he accepts dollar but he said peso will do.  So even with scepticism, we grabbed the offer.  At the hotel, our next issue was the full payment of the climb package.  As they don’t accept USD, we agreed for them to retain our passports with a promise to keep it safe and intact until our return. 


Mt Kinabalu as seen from Kota Kinabalu proper
  
At 530am, our tour coordinator Jackz Lee of KinabaluTourGuide was already at the hotel to fetch us.  His greeting goes, “we’re already late by about 17 minutes and we need to hurry up to catch up with our itinerary”… Whew… after some introduction and short orientation, at 6am we’re on a private ride to Mt. Kinabalu jump-off.  And for our ringgit issue, he graciously exchanged some USD so we can have some bills for our personal needs.

The Mt. Kinabalu jump-off was a 2-hour ride from KK proper but the towering mountain was already visible from the town especially in the early sunrise.  On our way, we took nap from time to time but the view of sea of clouds evident from that height with zero road visibility in some areas was so awakening… Wow… our excitement got higher and higher as we drew nearer.  Before we entered the park, we had breakfast first where I ordered “tom yum” to keep me going.


Mt Kinabalu trail map, Mt. Kinabalu map, Kota Kinabalu trail, climbing mt. kinabalu, climbing kota kinabalu

The start of the Timpohon Trail was 4kms from the main road… Whew!  thanks to the paved road and the ride, which is part of the package, we’ve cut about 4 hours of trek.  I can’t imagine how to get there if by DIY. At Timpohon Gate, we logged first and showed our IDs before we commenced trek.  It was exactly 8:35 when we started our 6 kilometers trek to Laban Rata.  Our climb guide allotted an hour per kilometre trek but I looked to hubby and sister and whispered, we’ll make it 45mins per kilometre. Ahem…

We passed by Carson Falls before the 0.50KM marker.  The first 2 kilometers was a combination of stairs and gradual trail.  The stairway that looked like an unending flight of stairs was beyond my anticipation and that early I doubted if we’ll get our 45min/km goal.   Shelters complete with restroom and water source are available between kilometre markers.  It was also at these stops that squirrels appear to climbers. 


carson falls mt kinabalu, Mt Kinabalu trail, mt kinabalu difficulty, trail of kota kinabalu, trail of mt kinabalu, mt kinabalu rocks

mt kinabalu kilometer marker



Mt Kinabalu trail, mt kinabalu difficulty, trail of kota kinabalu, trail of mt kinabalu, mt kinabalu rocks


Mt Kinabalu trail, mt kinabalu difficulty, trail of kota kinabalu, trail of mt kinabalu, mt kinabalu rocks


Mt Kinabalu trail, mt kinabalu difficulty, trail of kota kinabalu, trail of mt kinabalu, mt kinabalu rocks

Mt Kinabalu trail, mt kinabalu difficulty, trail of kota kinabalu, trail of mt kinabalu, mt kinabalu rocks

Between KM2 and KM3, rain fell making our trek heavy and dawdling.  Stairs were lesser as replaced by piles of limestone and rocks.  We reached KM4 at 12nn soaked and shivering but we’re happy with our progress beating the 1hr/km target.  We had our lunch at this area, regained some warmth while we prayed for the rain to settle down.  We assumed that we’ll make it to the next 2KM in just 2 hours.



Mt Kinabalu trail, mt kinabalu difficulty, trail of kota kinabalu, trail of mt kinabalu, mt kinabalu rocks


With rain pouring still, we continued our paddle. The sight of porters carrying heavy big loads inspired us to keep going.  The trail was getting harder and harder made up of stairs and several varieties of rocks. 

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Just before the KM5 marker, we had a short clearing revealing the beautiful surroundings filled with some creepy looking trees and bonsai flowering plants.  I so loved plants and the scenery already filled me this early. I got busy capturing and treasuring the eden-like scene but the impending downpour stopped me from dreaming… 

The flora of Mt. Kinabalu, mt kinabalu plants, mt kinabalu flowers, mt kinabalu trail, mt kinabalu itinerary, kota kinabalu plants

The flora of Mt. Kinabalu, mt kinabalu plants, mt kinabalu flowers, mt kinabalu trail, mt kinabalu itinerary, kota kinabalu plants, mt kinabalu pitcher plant, pitcher plant kota kinabalu, mt kinabalu pitcher plant, pitcher plant kota kinabalu

Slowly, we restored our pace… slowly, slowly, slowly… at 315pm we reached Laban Rata.  As soon as we entered the resthouse, a heavy cloudburst fell… I had a great sigh as heavy rain usually starts at 3pm and luckily we escaped it at the trail.

Laban Rata RestHouse, Mt. Kinabalu, Laban Rata Mt. Kinabalu

We were assigned Rm 7 at Laban Rata.  We rested our exhausted body for awhile as the rainstorm kept pounding outside.  We went down at 5pm for our early dinner.  Climbers of different nationalities flocked together to share and enjoy one of the highest buffet service. 

At 6pm, Mt. Kinabalu’s beauty unfurled before our eyes… It was a wow… It was my first to see several waterfalls lined from the mountain top… It was amazing and the view was inexpressible.  At 7pm, in as much as we wanted to savor more the buffet and mingle with other climbers, we opted for sleep… Tomorrow is another adventure and we knew that we needed to revitalize and pull together all our strength…



View of Mt. Kinabalu from Laban Rata RestHouse, Mt. Kinabalu, Laban Rata Mt. Kinabalu
View of Mt. Kinabalu Peaks from Laban Rata RestHouse
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Travel Date: April 2013


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