Climbing Mt Kinabalu: Part 1 – Kota Kinabalu

We saw some pretty funny things on the way up, a sixty five year old man over take us, Malaysian people with 80kg bags pass us twice to drop things off at the guest house, some pretty bright man-leggings, a man dressed in pointy shoes, tight jeans and a polo shirt with no bag hiking up, looking like he was on his way out to a club. It was beautiful scenery though, the valleys, clouds, waterfalls, the people and the jungle. But this was all very hard to appreciate when you are buggered and can’t speak or smile as even a smile would probably take more energy away from you which you need to save to make it up. The whole way we could not see how far we had climbed or views as we were above the clouds and it was to misty. But as we came up a flight of stairs (rocks) the clouds parted and we saw how high we were in the sky and the tip of Mt Kinabalu, it was incredible. The view gave me more willpower to keep climbing as it showed us how far we had already climbed.

Mt Kinabalu.. more like Mt F**kin Hard!

The trip to Kota Kinabalu was both busy and enjoyable. My young niece and nephew (eleven years old and eight years old respectively) happened to be in Saigon with their mother visiting family, so I took them out for a pizza for lunch on Friday, New Year’s Day. I worked in Saigon for over a decade and still know a lot of people there, so Friday night was spent catching up with old friends.

I caught a taxi early on Saturday morning to Tân Sơn Nhất Airport in an effort to beat the rush hour traffic. The flight to Kota Kinabalu via Kuala Lumpur was uneventful, although I arrived at KL International Airport just as my climbing mate Karaoke and his partner Nutty were boarding their flight to KK. I had to wait a couple of hours for my own flight, so I went and picked up a Malaysian SIM card for my phone. The biggest drama for the week happened on my arrival at Kota Kinabalu International Airport. I waited in vain for half an hour at the luggage carousel for my suitcase. Eventually, there was just one lonely-looking bucket wrapped in plastic left, forlornly making its way around the carousel.

To cut a long story short, I…

  • reported my missing suitcase at the “help-I’ve-lost-my bags” office
  • caught a bus into the city
  • checked into my hotel
  • got in touch with Karaoke and arranged to meet for dinner
  • took a nice long hot shower and dressed in my less-than-fragrant travel clothes
  • managed to locate Karaoke and his better half, Nutty (yes, another Hash name),  at the outdoor Chinese restaurant that they had selected
  • got my suitcase delivered to my hotel after it turned up on the next flight from KL
  • found a waterfront place that sold cold beer at reasonable prices
  • hooked up with 2Stroke, 4Stroke and Jules when they arrived quite late

The rest of the evening, not surprisingly was a bit of a blur.

 

So went Saturday night. We weren’t due to start the climb until Wednesday, which left us three days to do any necessary shopping and play tourist. In keeping with my general trend of keeping the long story short:

  • 2Stroke’s baby sister Sprog arrived (not a Hash name)
  • Johnsie, another of 2Stroke’s old mates, also made an appearance
  • I went shopping in  the local hiking shops in search of jacket, hiking pants and other necessities
  • 2Stroke delivered my order of trekking poles
  • The four Hashers among us—2Stroke, Nutty, Karaoke and me—joined the Jesselton Hash House Harriers for a very hilly jungle run
  • We went snorkelling off the beach at Manukan Island, followed by lunch and rather too many beers

After all this, I reckon we needed to climb the mountain just to rest up.

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Posted on January 12, 2016, in equipment, Hash House Harriers, Hiking, mountainclimbing, Mt Kinabalu, travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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