Bits and pieces
It’s not the distance travelled, nor the time spent walking that hurts, it’s the height gained. It’s hard to convey just how steep the climb is. Try to imagine walking up a seemingly never-ending staircase for eight or nine hours. For the mathematically minded, consider 2.2km of ascent in 8.7km of walking. Then having to walk all the way down again, ever so carefully watching your step.
Mount Kinabalu – the first and probably last attempt
Probably the craziest thing was the porters. They carry all the supplies up to the Laban Rata rest house. There was a train of about 8 of them and they were loaded with so much stuff it was crazy. Here I am killing myself with barely my essentials on my back and these guys are climbing the thing with huge propane tanks and things strapped to there back. The one guy had an enourmous tub of juice. Another funny thing is that some of them were just heading up in sandals. They carry the stuff up to the rest house then bring garbage back down. Some of them run down at parts which makes it even more embarrassing. Not only that our guide informed us they do it every day!
The Climb Day 1
I’ve caught up on the backlog of stuff I’ve written, although there’s a couple more posts still in the pipeline. Here are a few bits and pieces that I’ve collected that don’t fit anywhere else.
- I got a bit curious about where Mount Kinabalu is ranked among the world’s mountains and did some research. Disappointingly, it comes in at #399. However, I also learned that many mountaineers prefer to measure mountains by their prominence (i.e. the difference between the height of the summit and the lowest contour line that completely circles it). On this measurement, Mount Kinabalu comes in at number 20, much more respectable.
- The climb to the peak gets canceled an average of 10-15 times a year. I imagine most of these would occur during the monsoon season in the last half of the year. It looks like we would be really unlucky to be rained out.
- Almost every web site I’ve looked at stresses that you should take your time on the ascent. Don’t try to rush it, you’ll just exhaust yourself. Most also say that you shouldn’t take too long at the rest stops as well, as you’ll start to stiffen up. It’s better to maintain a slow, steady pace.
- Checking the calendar for January, I see that we’ll be making the climb close to the new moon. So no moonlight but plenty of stars for the early morning climb on the 7th, clouds permitting. January is the 4th driest month of the year, so chances are the weather will be good. That said, Mt Kinabalu weather is notoriously unpredictable.
- Rain ponchos, wind and trekking poles don’t mix. I got caught in a fairly heavy shower the other day. The wind kept wrapping the poncho flaps around the poles where they would stick.