The trail after the Sayat-sayat check point.
We barely have a couple of hours of sleep. We had to wake up around 2:30am for our summit assault. Or better yet, we were awaken by the constant sound of footsteps from other climbers on the hallway, getting ready as well. Navigatng through a ton of scattered drenched clothes above our room heater and after having something for breakfast at the canteen we set off to climb the last 2.7km toward the summit.
There was a bit of a drizzle. I went ahead of the group as we started our assault 3:30 in the morning. The first 200 meters was easy, as there were lamp post to guide us towards the Summit Gate. After the gate it was all stairs up and total darkness within the forest. It might be the rains but the trail have flowing water. The hike seems much easier or must be the excitement. I just climbed the stairs one step at the time. Whenever I get tired I would count down from each breath from 5 to 1 and say “Go” to force my self in burst mode to continue on my way up. It seems I got hungry often here and had to munch on my raisins and peanuts on the trail. As I go higher I looked back to see the city lights. The amazing view was somehow fullfilling reward to each ascent. I could see some headlights like 10 to 20 meters behind, must be the rest of the guys I thought. I looked up. It was the moon shimmering bright along the clear skies. I was glad, it was a sign of a good weather.
700 meters up I finally reached the rope trail. I decided to wait for my companions, there were two other groups of foreigners who passed me by until they arrived. I went on with the ropes and navigated beside the rocks. It was fun, I thought. Then we reached a stop where I could see the peaks ahead illuminted by the moonlight and at my back the whole city of Kota Kinabalu at night. It was just amazing and thought this trip was really worth it. Shortly we reached the “Sayat-Sayat Checkpoint” where you have to show your IDs. That was already 7.5 km on the trail from the jump off at Timpohon Gate. And shortly from this point it was a vertical assult.
The break of light!
It looks easy but it’s tiring. Walking on these stone surface gradually elevated seems much tiring than going up those stairs. It must be the thin air or the altitude sickness starting to kick in. A friend of mine told me that altitude sickness starts at 10500 feet up, and we’re already like 13000+ feet up. Shortly I could see warm light seeping in. It was the break of light on the horizon. It was just breath taking! I just have to stop and see the sun penetrate the sea of clouds slowly dispersing as the sun shone brighter.